My baby boy has a hospital appointment today. It’s a follow up test from an infection he contracted when he was 10 days old. I’m dreading it. It’s an intrusive test.
I’m not brave by nature. I tend to shy away from confrontation, well, confrontation from someone else that I’m not prepared for. Fight or Flight? I’m probably 20% Fight, 80% Flight. But that’s an improvement. (caveat: not that I think 100% fight is the right approach either)
Explaining the world, and rationalising baseless fear, for an anxious 2 year old, has forced me to think about my own fear. I’ve had to defer to the left side of my brain on many occasions when, in her shoes, I would myself probably succumb to the right. It’s difficult to explain to someone with little or no reference points for life, that some things are dangerous and therefore she should rightly be wary of them, yet other things – unknown things – are often nothing to be scared of at all.
In the case of today’s tests, my fears and anxiety are not groundless. They are based on 5 days spent in hospital with a tiny baby, needles and tubes everywhere, being poked and prodded by doctors and potentially having the worst infection a child can have (thank heavens it turned out to be something slightly less sinister). And more than anything just wanting to pick him up, hold him and make it all go away. Which of course, I can’t.
I can’t even begin to imagine how parents of kids with severe or terminal illness cope.
So, I find myself experiencing and learning alongside my kids. As, by way of example, I have no choice but to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. When it comes to being brave, it is not being fearless that counts, it’s feeling the fear and doing it anyway.