Health anxiety

Our living son was recently unwell. We had to bring him to A&E and he was called back to hospital for a number of tests. It was taken very seriously as the outcome isn’t always good with this illness. Thankfully he was one of the lucky ones and he made a full recovery.

Nearly 7 years ago I wasn’t so lucky. I fell on the wrong side of the statistics with Conor’s death. When pregnant with Conor I knew that 1 in 200/250 babies die in and around the time of birth. Like most first time mothers I assumed I wouldn’t be that 1. We all know this didn’t happen.

Now when it comes to health issues, a new anxiety has me believing and expecting to be that 1. I take no comfort from hearing that something is “rare”. Someone has to be that “rare” case and why wouldn’t it be me/my son. During the recent illness we were told that 1/10 children can have serious complications and that a small percentage can die from these. My anxiety was sky high. Even when our living son recovered it took me weeks to trust that recovery.

When everyone is well my health anxiety is mostly kept at bay. However, as soon as a family member becomes unwell I leap to the worst case scenario. It is exhausting symptom watching. Maybe health anxiety when it comes to our children is common. I only know parenting after loss and so don’t have the luxury of innocence to fall back on. Parenting through a global pandemic really isn’t helping either.

We are approaching Conor’s anniversary. I feel my energy and patience draining as it always does in grief season. There are already lots of conversations at home about what cake to bake in our star tin. Our living son asked if he can share the cake with his buddies on the street. He sees it as a way to tell people about Conor’s birthday. I love that cake is the vehicle for so many conversations about our beloved son and brother. Watch this space for this year’s cake. This is last year’s…….

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