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The Fear

1
One of my favourite Ian Brown songs of all time is  ’F.E.A.R’ – in it he sings about the paralysing impact of fear, how it holds us back, how it’s something we can’t really escape ( I think that’s what he’s singing about- lyrics are such a subjective thing).

I’m 35 weeks pregnant with my second baby. It took a long, long time to get to this point, and my daughter is five. I’ve had two miscarriages and heap of disappointment. I’m older than most Mums (let’s just say ’in my forties’). I’m deliriously happy. I’m very tired.

I am also

SelfishMother.com
2
full of FEAR.

A certain level of fear is normal. There’s the fear that something could go wrong (and I carry that every day still). There’s then another layer of fear which may make me seem selfish (because I know I’m lucky to be pregnant at my age) but it’s about going back to that newborn phase – a phase that you’ve often forgotten about.

When my daughter was born and we came home from hospital, I felt like I’d been in a road accident (it had been a three day birth with lots of stitches and blood loss). I remember looking at my body in the

SelfishMother.com
3
bathroom mirror and not recognising the person staring back.

Who was I?

I felt as if I was on a grim, fairground ride. The simplest of things rendered me exhausted. I stared out the back window, the trees waving omniously (so I thought). I envied my neighours who were living normal lives, eating tea, watching TV, having a bath- all these tiny things seemed impossible. I was fairly rigid in my approach and sat reading with a my phone under the duvet each evening, waiting for my daughter to wake up.

If you’ve struggled to have children, you

SelfishMother.com
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don’t feel you have the right to have negative feelings. In reality you’re often more susceptible to depression and anxiety  (you’re at a low, emotional ebb and not feeling robust). I kept telling myself I was ungrateful, that this was what I’d always wanted but those first few weeks were possibly the lowest of my life (and also the most rewarding but I didn’t see that at the time).

Was this because it was the first time? Is the shock less severe second time around? (this is what everyone tells me so it must be true right?)

Things settled,

SelfishMother.com
5
but that was only because I had the support of family and an amazing friend who is also a midwife, who took me under her wing (she came to the house every evening and gave me a pep talk).

I’m different now. I know what I’m doing with this whole parenting malarky. I make PLENTY of mistakes but with a five year old it feels different  (we fight about wearing tights when it’s cold outside but it never feels so life and death as it does with a tiny baby). My daughter is independent, plays on her own, talks and sings to herself (which was something I

SelfishMother.com
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did at her age) and has lots of friends.

The fearful voice inside says – HOW THE HELL ARE YOU GOING TO COPE WITH A NEWBORN?

I’ve got used to having more sleep, to being able to work and write, to have other things circulating around my brain that are not feeding or sleep related (I used to write down all the times that my daughter fed on my phone. I still have no idea why I did this- I think I didn’t trust myself to be able to tell when she was hungry).

I feel like I’m preparing for a mammoth sky dive with an uncertain outcome.

’Oh not

SelfishMother.com
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long now,’ people say looking slightly anxious as I waddle past.

Or

’Are you sure you’re ready?’ (And I glare back at them with an expression that says – ’No I’m not ready but thanks for reminding me’)

Or – ’Enjoy this calm time while you can hey?’ (Which like the advice to ’nap when they nap,’ is pretty daft- I don’t know many women who can be CALM just because a stranger tells them it’s a good idea).

And there’s also a heap of optmism thrown in – this time things will be different, I know what’s coming, I am more resilient

SelfishMother.com
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etc. I see friends on Instagram having their babies and I check their faces for signs of anxiety.

HEY THEY LOOK OKAY! MAYBE IT’S NOT SO BAD! I try to read between the lines- maybe they’re just projecting a front? Maybe they’re crying into their macaroni cheese?

’You have no choice. You have to get on with it,’ Mum said this week and she’s right.

The fear lingers. I wait. I listen to that Ian Brown song.

’Fantastic expectations
Amazing revelations…
Finding everything and realizing
You got the fear.’
I have a feeling he didn’t

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write it about becoming a parent for the second time but the words seem to fit.
SelfishMother.com
Anniki Sommerville

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- 14 Nov 18

One of my favourite Ian Brown songs of all time is  ‘F.E.A.R’ – in it he sings about the paralysing impact of fear, how it holds us back, how it’s something we can’t really escape ( I think that’s what he’s singing about- lyrics are such a subjective thing).

I’m 35 weeks pregnant with my second baby. It took a long, long time to get to this point, and my daughter is five. I’ve had two miscarriages and heap of disappointment. I’m older than most Mums (let’s just say ‘in my forties’). I’m deliriously happy. I’m very tired.

I am also full of FEAR.

A certain level of fear is normal. There’s the fear that something could go wrong (and I carry that every day still). There’s then another layer of fear which may make me seem selfish (because I know I’m lucky to be pregnant at my age) but it’s about going back to that newborn phase – a phase that you’ve often forgotten about.

When my daughter was born and we came home from hospital, I felt like I’d been in a road accident (it had been a three day birth with lots of stitches and blood loss). I remember looking at my body in the bathroom mirror and not recognising the person staring back.

Who was I?

I felt as if I was on a grim, fairground ride. The simplest of things rendered me exhausted. I stared out the back window, the trees waving omniously (so I thought). I envied my neighours who were living normal lives, eating tea, watching TV, having a bath- all these tiny things seemed impossible. I was fairly rigid in my approach and sat reading with a my phone under the duvet each evening, waiting for my daughter to wake up.

If you’ve struggled to have children, you don’t feel you have the right to have negative feelings. In reality you’re often more susceptible to depression and anxiety  (you’re at a low, emotional ebb and not feeling robust). I kept telling myself I was ungrateful, that this was what I’d always wanted but those first few weeks were possibly the lowest of my life (and also the most rewarding but I didn’t see that at the time).

Was this because it was the first time? Is the shock less severe second time around? (this is what everyone tells me so it must be true right?)

Things settled, but that was only because I had the support of family and an amazing friend who is also a midwife, who took me under her wing (she came to the house every evening and gave me a pep talk).

I’m different now. I know what I’m doing with this whole parenting malarky. I make PLENTY of mistakes but with a five year old it feels different  (we fight about wearing tights when it’s cold outside but it never feels so life and death as it does with a tiny baby). My daughter is independent, plays on her own, talks and sings to herself (which was something I did at her age) and has lots of friends.

The fearful voice inside says – HOW THE HELL ARE YOU GOING TO COPE WITH A NEWBORN?

I’ve got used to having more sleep, to being able to work and write, to have other things circulating around my brain that are not feeding or sleep related (I used to write down all the times that my daughter fed on my phone. I still have no idea why I did this- I think I didn’t trust myself to be able to tell when she was hungry).

I feel like I’m preparing for a mammoth sky dive with an uncertain outcome.

‘Oh not long now,’ people say looking slightly anxious as I waddle past.

Or

‘Are you sure you’re ready?’ (And I glare back at them with an expression that says – ‘No I’m not ready but thanks for reminding me’)

Or – ‘Enjoy this calm time while you can hey?’ (Which like the advice to ‘nap when they nap,’ is pretty daft- I don’t know many women who can be CALM just because a stranger tells them it’s a good idea).

And there’s also a heap of optmism thrown in – this time things will be different, I know what’s coming, I am more resilient etc. I see friends on Instagram having their babies and I check their faces for signs of anxiety.

HEY THEY LOOK OKAY! MAYBE IT’S NOT SO BAD! I try to read between the lines- maybe they’re just projecting a front? Maybe they’re crying into their macaroni cheese?

You have no choice. You have to get on with it,‘ Mum said this week and she’s right.

The fear lingers. I wait. I listen to that Ian Brown song.

‘Fantastic expectations
Amazing revelations…
Finding everything and realizing

You got the fear.’
I have a feeling he didn’t write it about becoming a parent for the second time but the words seem to fit.

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Anniki Sommerville

I'm Super Editor here at SelfishMother.com and love reading all your fantastic posts and mulling over all the complexities of modern parenting. We have a fantastic and supportive community of writers here and I've learnt just how transformative and therapeutic writing can me. If you've had a bad day then write about it. If you've had a good day- do the same! You'll feel better just airing your thoughts and realising that no one has a master plan. I'm Mum to a daughter who's 3 and my passions are writing, reading and doing yoga (I love saying that but to be honest I'm no yogi).

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