I realised this week that my issue with babies is a bit like my phobia of spiders. To the untrained eye it may seem odd that I cannot cope being around a baby in my in-laws garden but I can go to a local family theme park and be ok with the numerous bumps and babies there. I wondered why I could be able to cope with one scenario but the other turned me into a sobbing mess which lasted well into the week that followed.
Where do the spiders come in? I hear you ask. Those who know me will be aware of my immense and totally irrational fear of spiders, if I see one my initial reaction is to run and hide, my heart pumps and I feel giddy at the sight of even a small spider and faced with a biggun I’m a gibbering idiot. But given my fear, if I see a spider in the garden I’m ok with it being there. The reason? I’m in the open, I can move away and it won’t hide in a corner and catch me unawares. In the garden I expect to see spiders and can cope – I wouldn’t be running over to touch or hold a spider but I can accept their presence and whilst it is annoying it’s ok.
I realised this is where my problem with babies is the same. Put in a fairly confined space with a tiny baby, or seeing one where I least expect it to be sends me into a spiral and the anxiety, sadness, fear and stress kicks in and the tears flow thick and fast. But, put me in a situation where I expect babies to be and I can move away easily and I can cope. Again I won’t be running over to hold a baby or start a conversation with their parent but I can cope long enough to extract myself from the situation. Interestingly when I was pregnant with Henry my feelings about bumps and babies didn’t change, I still wanted to run for the hills when confronted with one – totally bonkers but that’s how I felt/feel.
I realise that it makes no sense as a baby is a baby regardless of the location but in my head there is a difference with having to be in the same room/place as a baby with few people around versus being in a public place with people I can ignore or move away from if it all gets too much.
So for me, babies are like spiders!