I remember sending an SOS text to a friend when my first baby was a few weeks old. What if I go out with the baby and park in a car park, and the spaces are too small for me to get him out in his car seat, I asked her? Or worse, what if we’ve been out and then can’t get back INTO our car because someone’s parked too close to me?
She reassured me that it was unlikely to happen. That I should just park on the end of the row or on the street, or better yet in a roomy parent and child space – assuming they weren’t all taken up by tradesmen on a tea break. (I know, it’s a stereotype but it’s a true one. Check out my local Co-op for evidence.)
My fear seems daft now, looking back. But at the time it was really worrying me as I started to leave the house on my own with my baby in the early days. Other worries were pretty standard, I think, is he too hot or cold, is he feeding, sleeping, pooing, weeing or burping enough, although many revolved around leaving the safety – and privacy – of my house. What if we were out and he started crying and I couldn’t calm him and everyone stared? What if he suddenly needed feeding – where would I go? What if he unleashed a poonami – what would I do?
The worrying is one of the things that people don’t warn you about before you have a baby. I was surprised by the number of different worries my brain could come up with. And I was endlessly googling all sorts of random things (often at 3am) to find out whether my baby – and me – were ‘normal’.
They say if you’re worrying about whether you’re a good mum, you are. Otherwise you wouldn’t care. And that’s true.
I never did get stuck in a car park. And even if I had, I’m certain we would have got out of there at some point, unscathed. Everyone worries. It’s part and parcel of the crazy leap into parenthood. But I wish I could go back in time and tell myself, everything will probably be alright.
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Heather lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two little blue-eyed boys. In between naps and nursery runs, she works as a freelance writer. In 2015, she had a series of children’s books published, inspired by her experience of adopting ex-battery hens as pets. You can find out more on her website.