Health Anxiety as a Parent: How to Navigate it

Sick Child having temperature taken

One of the hardest parts of being a mum for me has been dealing with my own past trauma and mental health issues whilst raising my children.

I have struggled a lot in the past with depression and anxiety, and this escalated when I was pregnant and in the first few months of having my youngest child six years ago.

Although my anxiety isn’t isolated to health related, this is definitely an aspect of it I struggle with, especially when the children are actually unwell. Here are some of the ways I cope with it. 

Remove the Emotion 

This might sound awful, but sometimes in order to calmly access the situation, I have to remove the emotion from it.

I try to think of my child as any other person exhibiting the symptoms that they have so that I can then take the steps I need to take, without letting panic set in.

If somebody in the street was throwing up and became dehydrated, I would try to keep them calm and encourage them to sip water, so that is what I would do with my child if they had the same, rather than getting myself worked up and panicking.

Keeping a calm head has been hugely beneficial for my mental health, and for my child too.

Sponsored By: Big Green Smile
WIN 1 of 5 £50 Vouchers to spend at Big Green Smile

Do Not Google

I repeat, do not Google!

Trust me on this one, Google will always, always end up convincing you that your child a serious medical condition.

Google loves to add fuel to the fire, especially when it comes to illnesses, so for someone with health anxiety... all I can say is, stay away!

There is so much misinformation available online, alongside horror stories from other parents who really have gone through awful experiences, you just do not need that hassle or stress when you are already having a tough time.

Rely on the advice from professionals and, if you really must go online for advice, stick to trusted websites such as the NHS. 

Don’t be Afraid to Delegate 

If your partner doesn’t have health related anxiety, they can do the legwork, while you focus on the cuddles.

Seriously, I find it really hard to let the reigns go when it comes to my children, but it really does help to ask for assistance when you need it.

That means saying yes to the offer of help from a friend or relative, even if it just frees your time up a little to be there next to your child when they need more water or a fresh blanket.  

Take time to look after yourself and your own health, so you can do your best to keep your anxiety disorder calm.

Sponsored By: HiPP
Free samples, exclusive competitions, discounts and more with the HiPP BabyClub!

Get Rid of Mum Guilt 

Having said that, if you aren’t able to be with them when they are sick, for whatever reason, do not allow that guilt to sink in.

I have had to work when my children have been poorly, and a relative has looked after them instead of me as I couldn’t take the time off.

It sucks and I would much prefer to be at home with them, but it can’t be helped and I know that they are in good hands until I can be back with them for cuddles in bed. 

Trust your Instincts

Finally, it can be hard with health anxiety to know when you’re overreacting or being a hypochondriac, but if you are sure something is wrong, act on it.

If it’s not serious, that’s great, but if it is, you acted fast and potentially prevented something worse from happening.

I know that I would never forgive myself if I didn’t ask for a professional opinion when my children have become sick, that is literally what doctors are there for. Don’t be afraid of getting it wrong and worrying ‘over nothing’, at the very least, it should keep your health anxiety to rest.

If you are unsure of what's up with your child, it is always best to get something checked out to put your mind at rest and get them on the mend as quickly as possible. 

Living with health anxiety is challenging, especially as a parent. Hopefully, these points will help those of you struggling with a child who is poorly. 

If you enjoyed reading this content why not share it with others!
Articles shown are a mixture of informative pieces, anecdotal accounts and professional advice from our panel of Bloggers, Writers and Experts. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official view of this site.