Worrying about my baby at night
A guest post from a BabyBliss mum.
It’s 10.30pm and I’m in bed, exhausted.
I just switched off the light and I’m desperate for a good night’s sleep.
Before I went to bed, I went in to check on my girl and she was breathing peacefully and sprawled across her bed in the way that always makes me want to pick her up and cuddle her but I didn’t do that because that would wake her up and no one wants that!
So now I’m in bed. I pull up the cover and look forward to sweet, sweet rest.
But I just heard something.
I ask my partner, “Was that you?”
“Yes. I just moved my foot.”
Then I hear something else.
“Was that you?”
“Are you going to ask me that all night?”
I get up just to have a check. All the doors are locked. Windows are ok. Nothing down the side of the house. All is well. Listen to the breathing of my girl from the door then hop back into bed.
This process happens about once every three nights. There was a period when I was almost paralysed by fear and it happened more than once a night. I went to a psychologist and after several sessions, I reigned it in. We talked about why I felt this way and what I could do about it. We’re all powerless to stop some things from happening. Rationally, I know that there is only so much I can do to protect my family. Now I’m cool as a cucumber and sometimes whole nights will go by without me even thinking about checking on my girl.
Then I see a news story about a kidnapping, or a break in and it’s harder.
Without a doubt, I know that the chance of something happening to my girl is very small and I can’t stand by her bed all night to keep her safe.
And I don’t feel like further counselling would make a difference. I think the psychologist did a good job.
It’s just that I think I will worry for life about my baby even when she’s no longer a baby at all and I now suddenly understand why my mother found it so hard to go to sleep when I stayed out til 10.30pm at age 17.
It’s the legacy of a parent.
The incessant worry.
This is the flipside of the great joy and love that I feel for my girl. This is something they never quite warned me about. This is something I learn to live with because otherwise I’d never go to sleep. This is something I have to accept because I can’t live my baby’s life for her. Every day she gets a little more independent and that means more risks. We arm them and nurture them but little by little, we have to let them go.
And that worry’s ok.
I just wish I could get it all done at 3pm over a coffee instead of 10.30pm in bed at night before I can sleep.
Has there been specific times when you’ve worried about your child more than others?