Home Parenting & Family Parenthood & Fear. When Your Child Is Ill. What To Do?  

Parenthood & Fear. When Your Child Is Ill. What To Do?  

by Author: Jade Lloyd

What makes you afraid?

The shadows in a forest where light doesn’t touch, under the bed, rooms in darkness. All of these things would terrify me as a child. I still am not a fan of black space.

I had my own child and that triggered a whole new depth of fearfulness.  Fear of something happening to him. The idea of him in pain, or alone, or frightened. The thought stalls you reading it doesn’t it? Brings up that burning feeling of sickness in your stomach and makes your heart palpitate. In the car, out shopping, sometimes these dark thoughts flit around my head like black flies, to have me swat them away. I look back at his smiling face in the rear-view mirror as he spreads sausage roll pastry across the backseat.

Everything is ok…

These anxieties don’t colour my parenting. I don’t want him raised in cotton wool. Instead he should be muddy, climbing on rocks, jumping, learning safely to take risks. Because that’s living!

Don’t get me wrong, being a mum also gives me interminable joy. But the love and the ferocious to protect our children are emotions as powerful and devastating as the ocean in winter.

A visit to the hospital

Little man had returned from two weeks with daddy. He was irritable and not himself. Not uncommon when settling back into a new routine.

The next morning arrived and he quietly asked me to carry him downstairs for breakfast. The skin round the back of my neck prickled. He was pale. I gathered him up in my arms tucked him under a soft blanket and put on cartoons. Breakfast was refused and he sobbed as I dressed him. Pointing to his groin he said his leg hurt. Panic fluttered in my chest.

Has anyone else got a little homicidal at a doctors receptionist when they say there is an appointment for you sick child in 3 weeks time?

My boy stayed on the sofa and was so, so quiet. I do not remember a day being so long.

I could not function, I was so preoccupied with the waiting. From the GP that evening we went straight to the paediatric ward. Whilst the nurses did observations I plastered on a fake smile, sang songs, reassured my little boy. Clutched onto his hand. Time slithered by, the room overly warm and tinged with that clinical disinfectant smell.


The staff were so kind

So good with him. And me. Sandwiches and hot tea.

My heart goes out to parents with children that have long term illnesses. The strength they need to have. At one point the doctors thought it could be an infection in little lion’s hip bone. Bad. I carried him down to x ray rather than have someone wheel him. He is heavy and half the size of me but I staggered down 3 flights of steps and across the hospital. I am sure you will understand why.



Midnight brought my birthday and my son’s first blood tests.

Half asleep the doctors gently prepared his hand and asked him to count how many sheep were on the wall. He tensed as the needle went in and looked at them with wide eyes. Then, his lip began to tremble but he stayed still as a statue, holding me tight. His little vice whispered ‘what are you doing?!’ As soon as they finished he burst into tears and asked why the doctors hurt him.

My instincts were telling me to growl at all the people with sharp objects and run off with my son into the night.

Mothers experience a varied array of emotions when our precious child is sick; conflicting emotions pull our hearts in different directions. Helplessness, anger, sadness, guilt. The not knowing is terrible. Terrifying.

He was diagnosed with reactive arthritis. It is apparently common with young children. A couple of mornings later he was back to the whirlwind he is. Jumping on the bed. Never have I been so glad to see him misbehave!

I have watched him closer and help him tighter since. You can’t stop them from hurting or getting ill. We took some new books for the hospital to have in the waiting room and put extra love into our Postpals letters.



If you find yourself with a child in hospital, use your support network. Be sure you’re sharing age-appropriate information and talk about how the child is feeling. Siblings will feel confused and you torn between them.

Stick to as much of a routine as you can, shower and sleep. Eat.

Give them plenty to drink, take temperatures, keep THEM warm but not hot, rest, don’t fall asleep with sick babies on you. If your child is ill the most important thing to do is to listen to them.

Go with your gut feelings.

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Ellie 7th November 2016 - 9:45 am

I’m back at work having spent Friday-Sunday at the GP, children’s A&E and then overnight on the children’s ward with our littlest (15month old) one. He was breathing erratically and had a realy high temeprature. Inconsolable crying. I knew there was something wrong. Knew we had to be seen right away. They gave him Ventolin, oxygen, antibiotics, plenty of paracetamol and ibuprofen, monitored him all night, and we were fortunately discharged around lunch time on Saturday.
I’m exhausted. I don’t know how parents of long-term sick or seriously ill children manage.

Jade 12th November 2016 - 8:40 pm

Oh lovely, I am so glad your little one was well enough to be discharged. I was in such a daze sitting by my son in hospital…there was a mum there who had been there two weeks and she was just living in the chair next to her child’s bed as he did not want her far from him. Parents with long term sick children are hero’s!x

Angela Watling 2nd November 2016 - 11:43 am

So scary. I’m really glad he was okay in the end but doesn’t sound like a nice experience! I recently went through something similar when my daughter had a febrile convulsion. I have never been more scared in my life! Like you say. A support network is key. Her Dad was away so I rang my own dad and he drove 150 miles to be with me. More than anything I needed looking after because my thoughts were solely on my daughter. I don’t think you genuinely know fear until you become a parent!

RachelSwirl 30th October 2016 - 11:38 pm

Having sick children is heart wrenching, we have been through it a few times now and it is so difficult especially since we have dealt with it twice over christmas!

Squirmy Popple 29th October 2016 - 6:33 am

There’s nothing harder on a parent than seeing your child be sick and feeling like there’s not anything you can do about it. It’s hard to feel helpless when all you want to do is make all the bad stuff go away. What a tough experience for you and your little man – glad he’s back to his normal, energetic self!

Jade 29th October 2016 - 5:32 pm

Thank you lovely it was awful being that powerless, my heart goes out to any parent with children with chronic illness x

Jade 29th October 2016 - 5:45 pm

I think its the raging primitive side, I am very docile but same as you if someone hurts him I turn into the hulk!x


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