I’ll never forget the scene. I was pregnant with Poppy and looked on in astonishment and respect as my sister-in-law gritted her teeth and let a huge cockroach run around her shaking hands. Her 3 year old son was jumping with excitement and after a minute or so offered his hand to the giant creepie crawlie who willingly hopped on and started running up his arm. My S-I-L wiped the sweat off her brow and breathed a sigh of relief. She had fought a massive fear for the sake of her son and it had worked because if Mummy was happy to hold it then it must be safe.
Fears are hideous, awful things. I speak from experience. I reckon that I have had around 5 fears in my life…some that continue to this day. A fear of my parents dying, general fear of death, fear of losing control, fear of flying…I meant I’ve even had a fear of fear itself which let me tell you is a hard one to crack. However, like my S-I-L I will do ANYTHING to ensure that I don’t pass on my fears to the kids. One of the greatest gifts that I can give them is the ability to feel safe, to be daring, to explore, to take the calculated risks that I have never had the guts to take.
So it is with a deep breath and much listening to Paul McKenna’s fear of flying app that I will be putting on an extra brave face when I board the plane for our upcoming holiday.
My usual order of events when embarking on a “flying day” goes something like this:
-Wake up shaking and feeling like I will never get on the plane
-Cry a bit
-Take half a diazepam (Since being prescribed these for flying a few years ago I have definitely found the whole experience a bit more manageable.)
-Feel a bit better about things….
-…..only to get really scared again an hour later.
The actual boarding of the plane takes a huge amount of guts and the minute I sit down my breathing becomes shallow, my pulse races and all I want to do is escape. I never have mind you, but I do spend the entire flight shaking and wondering what every noise is. The whole experience is exhausting and I spend half the holiday dreading the flight home.
But this time is going to be different. It has to be. This time I need to be brave for Poppy who will instantly pick up on any fear I show her. Like the aforementioned cockroach experience I’m going to have to grit my teeth, smile and pretend that flying is the best, most exciting thing in the world. If I feel hideous I will hide in the loo, have a quick cry and then come back and smile.
I have no choice. This is what Motherhood is all about….doing our best to pass on the good stuff and hide the shit parts of our personalities. There’s nothing I can do about the nature bit (my whole family is peppered with anxious women) but I will do my darndest to take control of the nurture element.
Wish me luck! I’m petrified!