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am I normal ? first time mum, cot death

(49 Posts)
radstar Wed 10-Jun-09 21:09:16

Please can I have some advice, this is my first post, so please be gentle with me. I'm a first time mum of a 10 week old.

Is it normal to be terrified of something happening to my baby or my partner and close relatives?

I know that cot death is rare and I follow the advice. I know there isn't a great deal I can do about unforseen illness and accidents but I still worry. I'm supposed to go away next week with my baby but not my partner and I am not looking forward to it in case something happens.

When I think about it rationally I know I'm being silly. My partner thinks I'm obsessed with death. But my Dad died out of the blue of undiagnosed cancer and in my work I have seen a lot of dead children. I wonder if that has something to do it with it.

My pregnancy was a surprise, never thought we would have kids but I'm so happy about it, things turned out better than I ever thought for us, I'm scared something will come along and burst my bubble.

I would appreciate your thoughts I have seen good advice before on here - sorry if this too long.

fleximum Wed 10-Jun-09 21:13:05

Perfectly normal to be worried. My dh and I still check on our sons at night if they've been poorly (3.5 and 2 years). My dad used to wake me up as a baby to make sure I was still breathing. I'm sure you will worry less as your baby gets older but I didn't relax until they were over a year old.

nancy75 Wed 10-Jun-09 21:13:31

i think it is normal, especially with your first child. when dd was born she was a terrible sleeper, it could take hours to get her to sleep and i would be waking her up half an hour later to make sure she was still breathing. at the time i thought i was going mad, but i was obsessed with the worry that something would happen to her, now that she is older i have spoken to other mums and seen posts on here that make me think its more normal than you think. it wasnt just me smile

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Wed 10-Jun-09 21:14:53

I can't count the amount of times I have woken my children to check that they are still alive. I still do it now esp. to dd2 and they are 2 and 5 blush

Octothechildherder Wed 10-Jun-09 21:15:43

You never stop worrying about them - try not to worry unless there us obviously something wrong, then it is okay!

If worried about illness and not diagnosing it, why not ask your health visitor for a meningitis alert card which shows all the signs. Most other illnesses are obvious (ish). Cot death can't be predicted or reasoned with - so try not to think about it.

You'll be fine smile

nickschick Wed 10-Jun-09 21:15:43

Our ds are 15,13 and 8 - I still check on them before I go to bed and if i wake up in the night.

Octothechildherder Wed 10-Jun-09 21:16:22

So do I! (not hers obviously, my own kids!)

angel1976 Wed 10-Jun-09 21:16:24


So sorry to hear you are scared of something happening to your LO. I think every first time mum does have that fear (some more irrational than others!). I was petrified of cot death, I don't know why. Even when a doctor friend told me that statistically it is SO rare, I still couldn't quite get it out of my mind... I had a movement and sound monitor for my DS for the first 12 months of his life. I forced myself to turn off the movement bit (and only kept the sound) when DS was about 13 months. He is now 15.5 months and I've only in the last two days, only turned the monitor on when we go to bed (for good reason as his room is 2 flights of stairs down from our bedroom!).

I can see you have very good reason though to be be scared in the sense that having a baby must have brought up quite complex emotions about your parents, especially your dad's sudden death. And I am sure your job doesn't help! Please take care of yourself and the fear does decrease as your LO gets bigger and stronger but as mothers, you will never lose that fear that something bad will happen to your child I think.


Maveta Wed 10-Jun-09 21:17:17

it may not be normal to be ´terrified´of it, have you talked to anyone about your Dad? I know when my dad had leukemia I became pretty morbid and obsessed with the thought of people i loved dying. It was a bit of a dark time, a small girl that used to come over and play in our house died, a young guy that was at my school and on dad´s ward died as did many of the friends dad made on the cancer ward. It seemed like it was everywhere. I had some terrible dreams and if my (now ex) bf wasn´t in touch when he was supposed to be I immediately starting thinking the worst.
I never had any kind of counselling and it did just kind of peter out over time.

I think most mums are terrified of cot death, I know i was not alone in going from deeply asleep to sitting bolt upright and leaning over to stare at my newborn trying to make out in the dark if he was breathing or not. Even when he was about 6months and in his own room (he was about 6 metres away from my head to his through a flimsy partition wall) I used to get up several times to go and check him for no real reason other than my fears.

So to a certain degree it is normal, but if you feel like it is a bit out of control or interfering with your day to day maybe it would be worth talking to someone at least to help speak your fears out loud and see if that helps put some order to them?

Sorry if this hasn´t been much help but hope you find your way through it smile

iheartdusty Wed 10-Jun-09 21:17:24

it seems to be totally, totally normal.

I vividly remember how I was terrified that I would swing round holding DD and bash her head against the radiator or mantelpiece; or somehow drop her out of a window; or that the structural engineer hadn't noticed that a roof beam was missing above us; or something.

I guess it is just an expression of the huge responsibility we suddenly realise we have when children come along. Your own experiences could have a part to play as well.

Hope you can relax and enjoy your time away!

there is lots of good advice on here about dealing with intrusive anxious thoughts.

PortAndLemon Wed 10-Jun-09 21:17:59

It depends on what you mean by "worry".

It's normal to worry about cot death. It's normal to check your baby (especially a first baby) repeatedly to make sure he or she is still breathing. It's even normal to occasionally prod him or her in a bit of a panic when he or she is just in a particularly deep sleep, thereby waking him or her up and making you feel very silly. Almost everybody does things like that.

But if your worry is starting to spill over into other areas and affect your whole life then it could be something to talk to your HV or GP about -- PND can sometimes manifest itself that way.

If I had to guess I'd say that you probably just have "normal" worry that's been magnified by your baby's being such a very welcome surprise and by your experiences with death. Do you think you might feel more reassured if you used an Angelcare pad monitor or a Respisense clip-onto-nappy monitor? I used those with my DCs because I found it helped me to worry less (and avoid those poking-the-baby-awake moments). But if you think your anxiety is really taking over then you could have a word with your HV (assuming you have a good one).

PartOfTheHumphreysGroup Wed 10-Jun-09 21:18:16

Well I don't have any advice I'm afraid, but you are definitely not alone. I have a 9 month old and have had some very morbid thoughts since she was born
I guess it's all part of the new responsibility and general awareness of the amazingness of life!
I do really worry sometimes that things are going too well so surely something bad is going to happen... I try my best to slap myself out of it and appreciate the good stuff while it's good!

rhubarbyou2 Wed 10-Jun-09 21:19:06

my husband and myself are both guilty of these sort of feelings,and like you we know we are just being daft but cant help it,i think its because you love your children so much and you have so much happiness that you just think something really bads bound to happen and you are forever waiting for the bubble to burst,i think we need a good kick up the backside and enjoy our lives. i know this isnt a solution to your worries but perhaps just a bit of support for you,we too a raving lunatics!!wink

mrswill Wed 10-Jun-09 21:19:47

Normal i hope! I became fixed on this the first three months of dd's life, imagining cot death, falling down the stairs with her etc etc. Even spent a lot of money on a all singing dancing monitor(s) - so i could see her when she was upstairs and had a breathing monitor when she would be sleeping. When she started sleeping through, i didnt sleep for weeks terrified, and when i would get to sleep id wake with a locked jaw from tension. It gradually eased off, and i dont have any scary thoughts any more, and shes now 10 months. It'll probably fade with time xx

hellymelly Wed 10-Jun-09 21:21:01

Well I don't know if it is normal but I do know that I am the same-I worry myself senseless all the time about my two and they are toddlers now (2 and 4) I too have that really that things are too good to last! with dd1 I put it down partly to a tramatic delivery but I am the same with dd2 .I even wince watching them on a slide.

Octothechildherder Wed 10-Jun-09 21:21:25

When my ds1 was little, people used to phone and I would say I was too busy to talk as I was watching the baby!

Maveta Wed 10-Jun-09 21:22:18

and yes I still check on ds (2) a few times in the evening and before I go to bed. In fact several months ago he wasn´t well and was breathing a bit strangely and both dh and I wanted him to sleep with us so we could make sure he was ok through the night, something which developed into quite a habit for a while and we still haven´t totally kicked.. and my mum still worries terribly about all of us, i think she feels all the more anxious now we have kids and there´s even more of us to worry about! but I guess as they get older we learn to control it a bit better smile

Haribosmummy Wed 10-Jun-09 21:26:43

Totally normal, IMHO... I was scared rigid something bad would happen... I even had the 4 month date locked in my mind, as I'd read that most cot deaths occur between 2-4 months. sad

In that time (and, in all honesty, until DS was about 8 months old) he never slept anywhere but right by my side. I must have checked on him 3-4 times per hour.

He's in his own room now (is 12 months) but I still check on him 2-3 times per night.

I'm expecting No.2 in a matter of weeks and I do wonder if it's a 'first baby' thing or if I'm just a worrier!!!

I actually resisted the urge to use a monitor to check breathing - I'm not sure it would have relaxed me at all!!!

I did do some sensible things though - I took a Paediatric first aid course (the ones CMs and nannys have to take) which made me feel a lot better about things.

It is because you love your child so much... I, like you, didn't think I'd ever have kids and even 1 year on from DS (and weeks off having DD) I still can't believe how blessed I am to have my gorgeous, gorgeous DS in my life! grin

Octothechildherder Wed 10-Jun-09 21:35:52

Maveta - do you have two???? When did that happen?! Havne't kept up with the postnatal thread. Congrats! grin

Octothechildherder Wed 10-Jun-09 21:36:44

Duh - the boys are two! blush

radstar Wed 10-Jun-09 21:37:01

I'm a slow reader and got interupted by the phone twice!! but thankyou so much - its a relief to know I'm not going mad. I don't think its taking over my life, I'm definitely better as time goes on. I've tried talking to my mum and partner but I think they think I'm overreacting.

My Mum came out with all the "we didn't didn't worry about cot death when you were young. Put him in his own room etc" which doesn't help! Once I explained that I follow the recommended healthcare advice and about my job she was a bit better, she couldn't comprehend what I have to deal with.

I don't think I'm bad enough to get a monitor, but thanks for the suggestion. Mostly I experience what you have all described, like I said most of the time I'm so happy, its mainly when I'm realy tired I get morbid, I just don't want the bubble to burst it feels like I don't deserve to be so happy. Thankyou everyone xx

Haribosmummy Wed 10-Jun-09 21:39:20

GAH!!! Why do mothers do that!!??

Mine constantly told me to put DS in a room on his own and shut the door from day one! hmm and she's already mentioned it for No. 2 too!!!!

I do ask how she can recommend that, knowing the SIDS advice, but it doesn't seem to deter her!

extremelychocolateymilkroll Wed 10-Jun-09 21:43:46

Sounds normal to me. We bought an Angelcare Monitor which detects movement and will make a sound after 20 seconds of no movement and we found this very reassuring. It is expensive - £68 on Amazon but well worth it imo. You can only use the movement sensor until they are a certain age - can't remember what that was but near a year I think - as babies naturally start to move around a lot as they get older of course.

extremelychocolateymilkroll Wed 10-Jun-09 21:45:31

Sorry - have just read your last post and seen that you don't want to get a monitor. All I can say is it was great for us but I guess it's a personal thing.

YesSirICanBoogie Wed 10-Jun-09 21:55:33

I was terrified of Cot Death too. I used to have to stop the car to make sure DD was still alive. I used to put a mirror under her nose! Looking back, I think I just took my new role extremely seriously and felt a little overwhelmed by the sense of responsibility. It does get easier.

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