When you have a baby the worrying begins. Are they gaining enough weight? Are they getting enough milk? Is that sniffle more than just a cold?
Then there’s every minute they are sleeping during those first 12 months when you compulsively check that they are still breathing.
In fact my kids are 4, 6 and 9 and I STILL compulsively check on them to see that they’re breathing before I go to bed at night!
You worry every time they’re…
- running a fever (picturing their brain swelling, their infection taking over their little body)
- coughing in the middle of the night (clearly they have pneumonia, bronchiolitis or chronic asthma)
- sporting a funny rash (zomg, is it meningitis?)
- complaining of stomach pain (it it their appendix? which side is your appendix on anyway?)
You worry once they start school/childcare that:
- the other kids will be mean to them
- they’ll need you and you won’t be there
- that there may be child molesters lurking anywhere and everywhere
- they will catch all the aforementioned diseases (plus some) from all the other snotty nosed children
When they are old enough to get a little independents you worry:
- every time they ride off on their bike (what if they fall and get permanent brain damage, what if they end up in a wheel chair?)
- whenever they are out of your sight, will they be hurt or hurt others?
- have you raised them right?
- will they inherit your most unappealing qualities?
- do they truly understand right from wrong?
Right this second I’m worried about my 6-year-old who is on a plane bound for Heathrow.
- the plane crashes?
- the airline loses him during his stop over?
- he gets deathly ill whilst in the air?
- he carries some lethal disease home with him and we all die?
- he drinks water in a foreign country or eats something and he gets hepatitis A?
- he’s seated next to someone who’s mean to him?
- someone attacks him in the plane’s toilet and does something awful to him?
We have a 9 year old…you hear about 9-year old’s who start smoking, get 15-year-old girl’s pregnant, sell drugs, accidentally kill someone whilst doing something dumb like throwing rocks and goodness knows what else. Don’t get me wrong, our 9 year old is by no means going down that path (though we did catch him throwing rocks beside our street the other day…eek!).
What about when he’s a teenager?
- he runs away from home and ends up homeless and on drugs?
- whilst he walks home from school a serial killer picks him up and kills him?
- he overdoses on drugs?
- he becomes an alcoholic or drug addict as a teen?
- he joy rides and dies in a car accident (or ends up brain-damaged or in wheelchair)?
- he ends up in a cult and we never see him again?
All the WHAT IF’S! Crazy talk!
I think most of us when we have kids have an 18 year plan for worrying…we figure once they’re grown up this worrying can subside.
…but really…why would it?
Yes they are then adults….but my gaawd teenagers are dumbasses! I was a dumb ass!
In most parents minds having a baby is 18 years of raising them and then you can relax. Until recently I thought that if the bad stuff was going to fall upon my child then it would happen before or as a teenager. In my mind if they were going to join a cult, drive like loon’s or become drug addicts they’d do it as teenagers and get it out of their system.
I’ve formed poor habits and done things my parents would highly disapprove of in the past 12 months. I’m perfectly okay with it and have no moral objection but I know my parents would.
I’m 26…if my parents obsessed about the what if’s as much as I do, they’d be horrified to think that the worrying is all not over.
We hope for our children that they’ll get an education, end up in a career they like and most importantly be happy and healthy….but now that I’m in my late-20’s I understand that you aren’t the person you’ll ALWAYS be when your 18 or even 21. Even if you have a successful, happy and well rounded 21-year-old son…that doesn’t mean it can’t all go terribly wrong.
Your kid could end up an addict of some sort at the age of 30.
Well into adulthood they could:
- join a cult
- drive like a loon and get themselves killed
- end up in prison
- become a serial killer
- contract a deadly and debilitating disease
- fly away and never return
- become an abusive husband or father
- feel peer pressured into being someone they’re not at ANY point in their life.
So the worrying. You give birth…and it lasts a lifetime. There’s no time limit, just different things to worry about. I suppose all you can do is raise them as best you can and pray its enough.