An anxious parent
From the second my daughter was born, I went from being a relaxed, carefree, happy person to an anxious one (albeit overjoyed at the little miracle that is now my life). I became stressed at the thought of leaving the house with her- every single time I had to leave… I would work myself up into a mess for days before we had to go somewhere and the entire time we were out, I would be uptight and unable to relax. I did not step out anywhere without her until she was 18 months old (with the exception of one night out with my mother’s group friends once she had started sleeping through the night). I am not sure whether this anxiety was obvious from the outside but I was unable to focus on conversations or anything as my worries took up all the space in my head. My brain was never switched off as all I could think about was our 'routine'. When she was due for a feed, when she was due for a nap, what was causing her to be unsettled, why she wasn't sleeping for longer than 45 minutes at a time (lol)... my mind was on a constant loop. Most days, I found it easiest to just stay home with her. We could be in our own little world and I wouldn't have to worry about timing everything between feeds and naps etc.
All of this came to a head when my daughter was 4 months old and my Grandmother was extremely unwell. With little notice, I packed and went to Melbourne without knowing how long we would be there for and what things would be like. Sleep was definitely not my friend in that month! Getting on the plane for the first time with a baby, worrying about her ears and how they would deal with the air pressure during take-off and landing, worrying that I had packed the right clothes for the season(s) knowing that Melbourne can have 4 seasons in a day. During that trip, my daughter and I spent most of our days in the hospital with my grandmother, having as much time as possible with her before we lost her. My Ergo baby was a godsend then, luckily my daughter has always slept best when she is close to me. Once my Grandmother passed away, we spent our days with the extended family planning the funeral and grieving. It was a very difficult time, however, it proved to me that children are resilient, they are empathetic and they pick up on the emotions around them, they also adapt quickly to what is happening around them.
These lessons have been learned time and time again in the years since that first trip with my daughter.
Since that trip to Melbourne, we have been on countless interstate trips that have included flights and long car rides. We have been on trains, ferries, buses, trams and planes. We have been on an international trip too. We have been to beaches, cities, country towns and in the bush. Each time we have been away together, I have realised that when we are away from the crazy routine that we keep during our everyday lives, when we are able to just be together, we both blossom. I know that possibly sounds like I am pointing out the obvious- of course we are happier when we aren’t rushing from place to place! It is more than that though, something pure and organic. Something indescribable. When she was born, I was constantly anxious about how I would ever leave her to go back to work. She is 4 now, I think we have decided to hold her back from starting school until she is 5 which means that I have 18 months left to treasure with her before the adventure of school begins to take over our lives. I want to be able to spend as much time with her as possible in this time, to not have to worry about rushing off to all of our commitments, to be able to blossom together instead of having that feeling lasting only a moment of our time.
The good news is that the anxiety lessens as we get used to our new lives and every day as a Mum is better than the last :)