If any of us truly realised just how consistently terrifying being a parent is, would we have done it?
Even from before I was actually pregnant, I was terrified.
What if we couldn’t have a baby, what were our options, were we old enough, young enough, had I had enough sleep… WHERE WOULD WE KEEP A BABY?
Once I was knocked up, the fears just kept piling on. The sigh of relief at reaching 12 weeks was drowned out by the cold wave of fear at hearing the words “…twins…high risk….monochorionic….fetal growth restriction…TTTS….premature labour….”.
It was literately 7 months of constant fear.
From the first scan, the fears just kept mounting. Were we tempting fate buying a buggy, cots and every other item under the roof at Mothercare before the babies arrived? Had I accidentally walked under a ladder whilst stepping on a crack, or drunk one too many coffees?
From the sublime to the ridiculous, those fears just kept coming.
As a new parent I was terrified I’d drop one of the babies, leave the buggy on the train or shove a bottle of milk in the wrong end; there was so much I didn’t know and never expected!
Again, a terrifying period.
Over the past five years we’ve experienced some of the most terrifying moments parents can ever have, watching your baby stop breathing and turn blue is a nightmare I know I wont recover from, no matter how energetic and lively he his today.
Signing consent forms for life saving surgery for a 3 month old, knowing they might not make it off the table is a signature no parent ever wants to sign, but we did, so many times.
Thankfully the fears have lessened somewhat in severity, they are no less worrisome, but thankfully less of a life or death situation.
Now, as they make their way through the minefield that is school, I find myself consumed with a new set of fears and worries.
Are they happy, do they have friends, is anyone mean to them, are they coping and if not, do they feel as though they can talk to their daddy and I?
It seems once one set of fears and worries are settled, another come along and that longed for moment of peace is further away than ever.
I think I’ve accepted it will always be this way.
The unwritten small print of parenting seems to be that it is and always will be terrifying.
I can almost predict the fears that will fill me when my boys are teetering on the adventures that will await them…will they be happy…will they find love and be loved…will they be safe…what kind of world will they live in?
There’s just so many, and as they get older, I will have less and less control over soothing those fears.
As they become independent my role will shift to the side-lines as I become more of a spectator than participant in their lives.
And perhaps that is my greatest fear of all, the day they no longer need to rely on mummy.
When a snuggle cuddle wont banish the worries that keep them awake at night, or a kiss no longer soothes the sting of a cut, when I can no long peek in their room and see them deep in slumber, safe and well.
Before I start blubbering in a heap of tears, clutching their teddies and still warm pjs I’ll wrap this up; parenting is the most terrifying experience I’ve ever encountered, but it’s also the most rewarding and exciting privilege I’ve ever had.
And whilst I’m in no rush for my boys to grow up, I know one day they’ll pack up their crap, walk out the front door to start living their lives, and I’ll be a weeping, yet proud mama who knows her boys can face any challenge head on, whether or not I’m holding their hand.