As a mother, have you ever checked if your sleeping infant is still breathing? I have done it several times with my first child.
“I am not God, I am not a doctor, not even a fortune teller. How can I be sure if my baby is alright?!” was one of the doubts I used to have when my first baby was born. This tiny human being was my responsibility. I am supposed to be aware of everything around him and for him. Is his cradle a safe place? Are there chances that he might fall off from it? Can I make him sleep next to me on the bed? Will I unknowingly rest on his hand in sleep? Is the floor clean enough to let him crawl? What if that imaginary, from-nowhere, dangerous insect nears him? How long should I hold him when he tries to walk? If he falls down and there’s blood on his lips, should I take him to a doctor? Can I make him sit in water for long while bathing? Will he catch cold? How much should I cover him when we go outside? How much heat, how much cold, how much this and how much that?!!!
Doctors advised one thing, internet advised something else, elders advised yet another, neighbours recommended one more, the father was critical of all of the above – but I was responsible, at the end of the day! It was similar to having been pushed into a well and I was to find my own swimming technique because frogs and fishes had their own swimming style. I is for Instinct, indeed!
Thus, by the time he neared his first birthday, I had gradually let go of the ‘ifs’, having learnt a little more of parenting and becoming a little more confident mother. And the second year occupied its own uncertainties. I don’t remember taking him on a bike ride until he was a year old for the concern of pollution and safety. Neither in local buses and second class train or any crowded public places for the ‘infection’ our imagination was afraid of. No, I wasn’t an over-protective mother; I was just inexperienced in parenting then.
With the beginning of third year and schooling, his safety at school both physically and psychologically was, and in fact, is my concern. With the end of his first year schooling, I am better about the old insecurities I had about him but a bunch of new ones have crept in 😛 Sometimes, as I sort out his play stuff, a freaking vision of he dashing onto the school window or some boy pushing him down flashes and I pray hard he should be okay. As a matter of fact or a matter of chance, on the days when I am least insecured about him, something actually happens to him like he slips off and gets his knee hurt. I used to think, perhaps, a mother’s insecurity about her children shields them from mishappenings.
Safety and health of children is by far the most important concern of parents. Everything else – their learning, growth, development, happiness – takes only the secondary place. No matter how child-proof and child-safe we make their living, feeling insecured about their safety is inevitable to parents, I assume it’s a little more with mothers because they tend to think more about their children than the fathers (No offense dads, I mean you have hundreds of official things to think about) 😆 To make this feeling worse are newspapers, news channels, whatsapp and facebook forwards! We hear so much about the world we live in and to raise our children without worrying about the ‘what ifs……’ is a challenge.
Nevertheless, I would categorize this feeling of insecurity in mothers as something recessive, not as dominant as other emotions that occupy us enough through the day.
What makes you feel insecure about your children? Please share in the comments below.
Here’s a list of the other posts in this series: