I’ve been with my girlfriend for 3 and a half years. We’ve had a couple of ups and downs but mostly everything has been awesome. She’s the most caring, lovely, bright and wonderful person and, as documented before, she saved my life when my anxiety was rock bottom. Shortly after we started seeing each other I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and instead of running she stood by me through the whole thing, developed her own understanding and pushed me to be the person I am today. We’re a team, we click together. If I’m two pieces of paper, she’s the glue putting me together, if I’m a lock, she’s the key that turns it. This all sounds soppy but I’m telling you for a reason.
Last year we moved into our first home. It’s taken a while but we’ve almost got it how we want it, and the next step for us now is to try for a baby. I’ve never been desperate to have kids. Ive always said that although I’d never say ‘I don’t want kids’, I could happily go through life and not have any. It’s nothing against kids themselves, I love kids and my nieces are the most special thing to me, it’s just not something I crave. That is until recently!
After discussing the possibility of having kids with my GF, we both agreed that we would try in the new year, and since deciding this I’ve become more and more fond of the idea. I see pictures of people with their kids and I get jealous, my best friend is having a baby and I can’t wait to meet him, I go for a walk and see a dad with his kids out on their bikes and think ‘God how nice would that be’. It turns out I do want them. So we’ve decided to try early!
Ok this is where my crazy steps in and changes the game.
I’ve documented before I’m not good in medical environments because of anxiety and a fear of fainting (only happened once, nothing to do with seeing blood at all and it’s never once bothered me before anxiety) so the whole birth process terrifies me but we’ve discussed it and we’re going to work through it together to come up with challenges and a solution. So I was pretty much all set.
Last night, we were in bed and ‘you-know-what’ was about to happen, and out of the blue I had those insane thoughts that we often get that has basically got me scared and anxious when I didn’t think I would be.
‘What if I turn out like my dad?’
‘Do I want kids?’
‘Does your child want a dad that’s anxious like you?’
‘Do you even want to be in this relationship’
‘Is this the right decision?’
‘Do you even love her?’
Even typing those out made me recoil, how could I question whether I love her or not? But these were the thoughts I had to deal with.
I assume this kind of thing started because of how life changing this is. It’s the most permanent thing I’ll ever do which I don’t 100% control – she’s 50% of the whole journey and this is very unfamiliar for me. I’m usually in control, I make my own decisions and when committing to anything I have a safe ‘get-out’ clause that will protect me. For example, we bought a house together, but to ensure I was cool if anything went wrong I had a contract written up protecting my contributions. If it fails, we walk away with our money and it’s all fair. It sounds pessimistic but I watched my mum lose absolutely everything when my dad left, and it’s taken her 20 years to rebuild her life – that won’t be me.
So what do I do now? I honestly don’t know. I want a child, it would be the next phase in our life. Do I want one with my girlfriend? Yes, she’s incredible and wants one so badly. Am I scared? Terrified. What if I turn out like my dad – selfish, cruel and abandoning?
Wait and see folks. I don’t have the answers, all I can do is challenge my thoughts and focus on what’s important. I’ve come a long way, not only with anxiety but from the age of 10 when my own dad left me and my family to go off and do whatever and whoever he wanted.
Perhaps this is where the anxiety around this comes from. It’s certainly the event that kicked it all, but when I’ve watched my mum crumble in a doorway as her whole world came crashing down and she lost everything, I’ve cried as he’s pushed us aside, as he lied and I’ve been angry as he got violent, or forgetting my own graduation, perhaps this is the source of this new anxiety. Perhaps I’m scared I’ll end up like him. I’ve felt the pain, and maybe I’m scared I’ll be the one to inflict it.
I honestly don’t know. What I do know is, I’m excited and scared at the same time, but it’s time to let go and get out of this comfort zone. And it’s time to accept that I’m not, nor will I ever, be the person my dad was. I’m better than that.