I’ve been pretty emotional lately, realising that my children are growing up so quickly right in front of my eyes. Last week they were going through their toy boxes and decided to give away so many of their toys they loved when they were younger. I’m not ready for them to be growing up so quickly and really wish I could slow down time.
It’s funny that those baby magazines I used to obsessively read before I started my maternity leave were full of pregnancy and baby advice. They never seemed to mentioned that babies would grow into toddlers, be off to school before you knew it and just want to spend all their time on the PlayStation!
Coping with new parent worries
I admit that becoming a parent has made my anxiety go into over drive. I used to be pretty anxious just working in an office. I was anxious about travelling by public transport into London, especially after the London terror attacks in 2005. I worried about doing a good job, about work life balance, about if I was having the ‘right’ kind of wedding and pretty much everything. Falling pregnant meant my anxiety escalated but it’s something I kept to myself.
I had *all* the baby books and loved reading about how my baby was developing each week. I was so lucky to have a straight forward pregnancy, except for some mild morning sickness. I kept this at bay with numerous ginger biscuits and enjoyed eating for the two of us.
I quite enjoyed my little pregnancy bubble but with the birth of my first son I quickly had to face so many things. Nappies, the travel system, bath time and how to take a small baby out of one of those awful babygros without smearing poo all over their backs. The list was endless but it was ok because I could share all of my worries with my husband. The problem came when he was struck down with a mystery illness when our son was a few weeks old and rushed into hospital for lifesaving emergency surgery. He then spent 2 weeks in hospital and months off work recovering.
This hadn’t been part of our plan and we were not really equipped to deal with it. Fortunately we were visiting my mum when my husband was taken into hospital so I had some help. But I couldn’t drive to visit him at the hospital and we only had enough clothes for a few days. We hadn’t made any provision for our poor cats and everything felt just chaotic.
The Post Office recently commissioned some research into the top 10 things that new parents worry about. 37% of people questioned worried about what would happen if they or their partner died. This hadn’t crossed my mind until my husband was whisked away in an ambulance for a life-saving operation. Our son was only 2 weeks old and I didn’t know what to do. I wish we had discussed the free parent cover from the Post Office which would have given us some peace of mind if the worse had happened. Many parents are unaware of this product and it’s totally free, giving parents Life Insurance to the value of £15,000 per child for one year absolutely free.
Other things included worrying about my parenting being judged by others 34%. This was another thing which caused me huge anxiety. We signed up to NCT classes as soon as we were pregnant as all our friends said it was life changing and they made friends for life. I disagreed and found belonging to the NCT made me feel so uncomfortable. I didn’t have any thing in common with any of the other parents at the NCT group we were paired with and felt judged every time we met up.
Having a baby is an amazing but life-changing experience. It’s normal to worry about how life will change but you can plan for the future and make provision just in case anything unexpected happens. Thankfully my husband recovered well from his surgery and we haven’t had any unexpected health problems since. I’m so grateful for our wonderful NHS for taking care of me when I had our children and for putting my husband back together so we could concentrate on being a family. Health worries can really put everything into perspective but a little financial planning can never do any harm. I’d love to hear what you worried about as a new parent and how you coped?
Disclosure – post in collaboration with the Post Office.