Raising a family at a time when information is right at your fingertips has it’s advantages. After all, how would we have coped without Dr Google letting us know the correct temperature for a babies room, that yellow poo is totally normal, and of course where to go for support and motherhood camaraderie (hello you lot).
Yet somehow, the accessibility of symptom checkers, reading experiences of others and opening a big old can of health issue worms can have it’s disadvantages too. It can frankly make health worries spiral out of control and give rise to a whole new problem of health anxieties around yourself, or those who you are responsible for caring for.
Let’s face it, if you type on an internet search browser any random health anomaly, you can self diagnose any number of diseases, complex’s, conditions and illnesses.
For any passing comment of what could be giving rise to any given issue, there is a smartphone click just waiting for you to dive in and stick a label on it.
It would appear that if we had believed worry would dissipate with the baby days we would be entirely wrong. Because eight years in there is a new worry around every bloody corner, with no signs of getting any easier.
Because it’s not always easy to tell a mental health issue from the ups and downs of childhood life.
If unique quirks are placing them on the ASD spectrum.
If bundles of energy are in fact ADHD.
If that off the wall behaviour is just their unique personality, or something that you need to seek advice about?
If your symptom checker has delivered you to any one of a number of diagnoses, each one hitting you in the pit of your stomach as you imagine the future.
Do you need to speak to the G.P? Or the school nurse? Or their teacher? Or early help? Or a play therapist? Or are you barking up the wrong tree altogether, and wasting everyone’s time and energy?
Because are you looking for something that isn’t there? Seeking a label that is not required?
Or are you trusting your instinct and pursuing a gut feeling that cannot be ignored.
So when life becomes one long chasing exercise, from doctors to dentists, physiotherapists to psychologist, ophthalmologists to orthodontists, it can certainly leave you feeling like you lost the manual, again.
Because parenthood was never meant to feel like being a medical secretary, but sometimes, that is how it can feel. And I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that way.
Was it something they ate? Or an allergy waiting to rear it’s ugly head again? An intolerance or a lack of tolerance? A behavioural pattern or a sign of something more sinister?
A viral rash or a trip to A&E? A 111 call or a walk in doctors jobby?
Is it infectious? Should they be off school? Or are they having you on because they hate double maths?
If they bump their head, do you need to get them seen to? Or are you wasting that valuable NHS time, stealing it from someone who really needs it?
And if they fell off their scooter and screamed THAT hard, is that arm broken? Or do they just know exactly how to get your attention?
Am I doing my job, or projecting my worries on to them?
Are we what is wrong with the health system, or are we suffering because it cannot meet it’s much needed demand?
Can you ever worry too much? Or is that just part of the package…?