Thursday, 26 January 2012

Worry, anxiety and feeling like a bad mum

Gosh, what a depressing title for a post! I suppose what I mean to write about is stress, which of course is part and parcel of being a mum, but which is a totally different animal to anything else I had ever experienced.

I was reasonably chilled out during my pregnancy. Once I'd had an early scan to make sure there was actually something in there (two things!), and we'd all survived the following (longest ever) 5 weeks to the 12 week scan, I felt nicely knocked up and fairly relaxed about things. There were the usual worries: how will I cope with two babies? (still no idea), what if I'm a complete wuss in labour? (I was), what if my house is too small (it was - we moved), what if they NEVER come out (they did), how am I going to sleep towards the end? (with difficulty). Generally though I was quite philosophical about the challenges ahead and I was determined to enjoy my pregnancy as it could be my first and last.

I'm not sure what the science is, but some sort of chemical explosion happens when you give birth. As if a tidal wave of hormones isn't enough to deal with, you also become a raging worry-wart (technical term) and start stressing about the most minute and ridiculous things. The first time we went for a walk as a family is a vivid memory for me, not because we ambled through the winter countryside looking like a page in the Boden catalogue, but because I spent the entire time in tears worrying about the pram tipping over and scattering my brood all over the path. Devastating - yes. Likely? Not so much.

The feeling that you're doing a bad job is the worst worry, and definitely something that everyone with children deals with (no matter what they say or how together they appear to be). The fact is that it's your responsibility to create brand new people and from time to time (OK, every single day) this can feel overwhelming. There are mothers who never let their children watch cbeebies, eat a sausage roll or stay up past 7pm but these are the women who avoided diet coke, microwaves and any egg that wasn't cooked for at least an hour whilst pregnant.

I worried about everything in those early days, and I still have to keep it under control now to stop myself from getting overwhelmed. I have to ask myself "what's the worst that could happen?" and to be honest "death of the twins" has, so far, never been the answer.

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