What are your biggest fears? What makes your skin crawl? What makes you start to sweat and feel sick to your stomach?
Last week I went to put on my baby carrier and there was a scorpion in it. Cue hysterical squawking from both me and the baby. Yesterday, a tarantula ran up the wall. And then down the wall. And then across the floor towards me. I was wearing the poor baby in the ill-fated carrier and my hysterical squawking woke him up. I managed to squash the poor spider (sorry, dude) with my fiance’s sneaker. I had to get really close to it to do that. Just about threw up.
But in all seriousness, what used to scare me (spiders, snakes, and heights post-bungee jumping, weird I know) pales in comparison to my fears since becoming a mum.
I’m petrified of leukaemia. I try not to fixate on bruises. I try not to feel my boys’ bellies in case I imagine hepatosplenomegaly (big liver and spleen). I won’t read stories about it on the news websites. Why? I have no idea. There’s no family history or anything. I think it might be the curse of being a doctor-mum.
I’m petrified of bronchiolitis and asthma. Sure, I’m a doctor but I’m no paediatrician and the thought of my kids having trouble breathing terrifies me.
Anaphylaxis. My first son, Big Boy, was allergic to eggs. Thankfully he’s outgrown it now. But I haven’t introduced it to Little Boy yet, who is 5 months and has been eating solids for four weeks now. Maybe I’ll sit in the hospital car park and try out some scrambled eggs. We are way too far away from a hospital.
Ok, I’m still scared of snakes. Because I live in the bush and have small children, and dogs and goats and chooks that I love. That one’s probably reasonable.
I’m scared of driving long distances with the boys in the car. I’m scared of anyone else taking them in their cars. I’m scared I’ll forget they’re in the car and leave them locked inside.
But lately, what I’m scared of most of all is that I’m doing everything wrong. Here is an excerpt from my internal monologue:
Maybe Louis doesn’t sleep at night because he’s really overtired because I’m misreading his tired signs and he’s not getting enough sleep during the day because sleep begets sleep and anything less than 45mins is a catnap and babies grow while they sleep and maybe that’s why he’s tiny.
Oh no Henry is on Youtube watching dig-digs on my phone again. He’s going to be short-sighted (or is it long sighted). He won’t be as bright as the other kids. He won’t learn to speak properly or be able to socialise. I should play more with him but when I try he just says “Mum go away” or Louis starts screaming again and I can only keep one of them happy at a time and what if they both end up with antisocial personality disorder because I’m constantly ignoring them?
Louis is screaming again. Maybe he’s constipated. Did I feed him too many solids today? Oh no maybe I accidentally fed him dairy or soy. Maybe I accidentally ate dairy or soy. Maybe he’s allergic to something else too. He is spewing more. Was that a big spew? Or a moderate one? I need to keep a food diary to keep track of this. Maybe we need to see a paediatrician. He’s feeding every hour so maybe it’s comfort feeding because solid food hurts his belly or maybe I have low supply? Maybe it’s because he’s just snacking each time and I should encourage him to stretch the feeds out and have a bigger one each time? Oh no he’s screaming again, maybe I’d better feed him.
Sound familiar? I really hope so. That means I just have normal mummy guilt and I’m not actually going mad. Although sleep deprivation can make you psychotic right?
This sure is a tough gig sometimes, but I am well aware how lucky I am to have two gorgeous little men in my life. Henry woke me up this morning to tell me that the trees were hiding in the steam. He’d never seen fog before. Louis can be pulled from sitting to standing now and can roll one way and suck his toes. They interact together. This melts my heart. Sure, one day they’ll fight with each other but for now, when Henry isn’t trying to feed/squash/hit him, they’re each other’s favourite person. I must be doing something right, right?