Worried for my kids’ health

I always think they have something sinister. How can I stop?

Our elder helps an anxious mother get things in perspective.

Dear EWC

I am 43, with three children, ages 8, 12 and 14. The older two are boys and the youngest is a girl. The problem is with me. I am insanely afraid of anything adverse about their health and am forever thinking they have something sinister. For example, just this week, I thought my daughter has Turner Syndrome because she is so short and has grown so little this year (she is very, very petite). Another example is that my sons have some birthmarks, so I made the mistake of Googling those and was then worried sick they have some sort of cancer causing syndrome. I am making myself sick about this. Medically, I’m taking care of my myself (I started a small dose of an anxiety med and am in therapy) but mother to mother, I would love advice on how much of this is common/normal, how your kids fared in life and if they had any weird body things (like my daughter had a hernia, and my son had a small cyst taken from him). Is it normal that our kids bodies aren’t perfect and that kids just have birthmarks, funny things that come up? Does it get better as they get older? I hate worrying about them! Controlling it has proven very, very difficult. How did you handle this?

Danray replies

I think most parents can relate to what you’re experiencing. We all worry and hope that our children grow up to have happy and healthy lives. Saying that, there are no guarantees and as you have experienced, there will be times that kids get sick or have medical issues that we have to deal with. So how do you handle the anxiety and all of the negative emotions?

I’m not sure there is an easy answer to this question. In my own home, my daughter dealt with fainting spells when she was young, my youngest son had to have his tonsils taken out when he was only two years old and my oldest son is dealing with Crohn’s disease. Also, my daughter was a competitive cheerleader (I was always afraid she was going to get hurt) and my boys played in most sports including; soccer, football, baseball, basketball, etc… and they had their share of bumps and bruises. It’s hard to see your kids get hurt or have medical issues but what was the most difficult medical tragedy in our family was the death of my wife to ovarian cancer. My wife and I never really considered losing each other and it was a big shock to all of us when we lost her. Now I worry that our daughter may have a greater chance of getting ovarian cancer.

I share with you my family story because I want you to know that you’re not alone. We all worry about our kids and pray that they remain safe and healthy. I don’t want to even get into the concerns that occur as your kids get older and have to deal with the decisions regarding drugs, drinking, sex, etc..
Saying all of this, you need to understand that if you provide a loving and caring environment for your kids and make sure they see a doctor when they need to, get their required shots, etc… the chances are they will be fine. Most kids in a healthy and positive environment do very well and we as parents need to provide that for them. Frankly, if we over worry and put unneeded stress on ourselves, this can have a negative impact on our kids. I’m glad that you are getting help for your anxiety. I also had to deal with anxiety and depression in my life and sought help when I needed it. This will help you deal with the stress and I hope that you will continue to get the help you need.

In summary, you’re not alone, as parents we all worry but I do agree that you may be more stressed than most. Continue to provide a positive and healthy environment for your kids and they will be fine. Just so you know, my two boys are both married and doing great, I have two grandkids which is very special. My daughter lives in Chicago with a great job and has a very nice man in her life. Things do work out and you just have to do your best and hope/pray for your continued blessings.

Hope this helps and I wish you and your family the best as you go forward.

Letter #: 457343
Category: Children

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