Being a parent comes with a side order of worry as standard. From the simple things like worrying that you won’t know how to change a nappy properly or how to fasten the car seat, to the much bigger fears about how you will afford everything, if you will make the right decisions about how to bring up your child, or that your partner or child will die in a freak accident. I say this knowing that I have worried about each and every one of these at some point in the last 9 years and continue to do so (not the nappy thing though – I’ve nailed that!)
I remember being pregnant with Ben and worrying that I wouldn’t know when to feed him, that I wouldn’t be able to understand what he needed, that I wouldn’t be able to get him to sleep. People always say that you get to know your baby’s cries – I just couldn’t see how that would work – a crying baby is a crying baby right? No, of course not. Of course I learned to differentiate between Ben’s cries, I learned to know when he was tired, to know when he was hungry. I kept him alive and happy. My worries were unfounded.
Knowing that those worries were unfounded of course didn’t stop me finding new things to worry about – Ben was born around the time that swine flu was rife and I was always worried about him catching it from well-meaning people touching him in his pram (I still don’t understand why strangers feel the need to do that) and I once spent several hours in the middle of the night convinced that I was dying from swine flu myself when actually I just had mastitis – things seem so much worse in the hours of darkness don’t they!?
I’m not a naturally anxious person, I tend to be fairly confident that I will just get on with whatever life throws at me but when you are suddenly responsible for sustaining the life of a tiny person, you do start to see the world differently. The biggest worry for me, and one which I went through phases of struggling with each time I had a newborn, was that Dave was going to die driving home from work. He has a fairly significant daily commute which means he spends a couple of hours a day on the road. If I didn’t hear from him first thing in the morning I would convince myself something had happened and he hadn’t made it to work. If he was later home than I would have expected I would start to panic – and of course once I had the idea in my head I didn’t seem to be able to just brush it off, I would mentally follow it out to it’s full conclusion. How the hell would I cope with the kids on my own? What would I do without him?
I don’t think I really spoke to anyone about this deep rooted fear that I would lose Dave or the kids, and it’s not really something anyone warns you about, however recent research commissioned by the Post Office indicates that it is a top concern for around a third of new parents.
There is little you can do to prevent an accident or illness but the Post Office do offer peace of mind through their Free Parent Life Cover – a completely free product which offers parents Life Insurance to the value of £15,000 per child for one year. Both parents are able to use this product each time they have a child up to a limit of 8 children and can take advantage of the offer up until their child’s 4th birthday. So, for example, if you’ve three children under four and two parents take out a policy, you’ll get £45,000 of cover each free for a year. And if two parents have the maximum eight children and each take out a policy, that’s £120,000 of cover each. Hopefully it’s not something you’ll ever need but it’s nice to know it’s there right?
What did you worry about as a new parent?