There are two things that make me anxious

  1. Sick. Feeling sick / being sick / others being sick. It’s called Emetophobia and apparently is way more common than I realised.
  2. Getting ill and not being able to look after my kids / my kids getting ill and something bad happening to them.

The Emetophobia began when I was six years old and a kid threw up on me at Sunday School. I remember everyone panicking so I thought that is what you do when someone is sick, you panic and you freak out. My phobia became so bad over the years I didn’t even want to have children because I didn’t think I would cope with morning sickness or with my kids being sick. 

I didn’t even want to have children because I didn’t think I would cope with morning sickness or with my kids being sick. 
— Jo

However, at 27 Mother Nature said ‘Enough of this tomfoolery’ and I fell pregnant with my now teenager. He has never been a sicky kid, I had no morning sickness, haven’t been sick in 28 years myself, but yet I still find myself worrying about it a lot. Hmm also have I just jinxed it by saying it out loud? Best get some Buccastem out just in case…

The second part of my anxiety began eight years ago. I was expecting a little girl, but at 25 weeks pregnant I suddenly realised it had been a long time since I had felt her move. I went off to the hospital for some reassurance but sadly they found no heartbeat. I screamed so loud my ears popped. It was horrific. I had to then go through induced labour, delivery, and soon after, a funeral. The doctors said it was ‘one of those things’ and there was nothing I could have done but I still blamed myself and my stupid body for failing my child and not keeping her safe. 

After my following two babies were born I was absolutely terrified that something was going to happen to them that was beyond my control. I wouldn’t even take them into the cemetery where Jasmine was in case they got the ‘death curse’. 

Anyway, I now have three boys, aged 6, 7 and 13. I panic if they’re ill, I panic if I’m ill, and I panic if the phone rings when they’re at school in case they’ve had an accident. If I hear of a bug around I Dettol everything in sight. 

About four years ago this fear came to a head. I was so tired and run down – to the point of hallucinating that there were rats and spiders running across the floor – that I caught a stomach bug. Luckily just the South end. I was so exhausted, I was literally crawling from room to room,  falling asleep while feeding my youngest, hanging onto the buggy for dear life on the school run because I thought I was going to collapse…it was the day from hell.

The next day my anxiety had gone up by about twenty gears. I was so scared of being that poorly again. In the following few months I was running on adrenaline and so worried about everything that I lost over 2 stone. I looked skeletal! 

I tried CBT and Hypnotherapy but felt ridiculous trying to explain how I was feeling, and I thought they’d get me locked up.

I decided to take matters into my own hands and try to heal myself. I’m a Nail Technician and I have a business called ‘You’re Gorgeous!’. The idea behind it is to be affordable to everyone so everyone has a chance for some me-time. 

I didn’t want anyone else to ever feel as sad, or as crap, or as low as I’d been feeling so it became my goal to just help others, in the hope that it would also have a positive effect on my own mental health. Win-win! So aside from pampering my own clients I’ve been involved in helping at charity events such as Nailing Mental Health, and I’ve been part of pamper events for Grenfell, The Good Grief Trust and Women’s Refuge. It’s been amazing!

To unwind I’ve discovered lone travel. Paris is my city of choice so every few months I spend a couple of days there, thinking and walking and pampering myself. It helps me take a step back from daily worry. Sometimes I have a little chat to Jasmine in my head. I read, I shop, I eat well, and it’s all about me. I come home refreshed, recharged and functioning better. 

I know my anxiety will always be there and will rear its ugly head from time to time but I’m hoping that I can keep it on a low simmer by focussing on my mission – to spread kindness across the land, to help others, and to make my kids proud of me. 

Written by Jo Child 

Instagram @jochildnailtech

Facebook  @youregorgeousnails

If you'd like to read more conversations with Mental Muthas, click HERE.

Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit.