A Personal Insight: Fears

I’m around seven or eight, maybe younger, maybe older, but I’m young and I’m in the local pool with my Mum. We’ve been there before.. MANY times.
She’s asking me to trust her. She’s calmly and patiently persisting, she’s eager to teach me how to swim.. but I’m struggling!
I trust her, I do. But I don’t trust the water all around me and it scares me. I have no reason to be scared, but for some reason I seem to Iack confidence in the water.
If I could say that I’d never went swimming as a child then I’d have a reason. I’d know why at 25 (and a half) years old I can’t swim. But that’s not the case - I went swimming. I have many memories of it and many memories of my Mum continually trying to encourage me. In fact I even have memories of me attending swimming lessons with my school. I didn’t even do badly in these lessons.
Lots of things scare me – the usual things like heights, insects and of course death all have firm places on my ‘stuff I’m scared of’ list. But I appear to possess another fear and since becoming a parent I seem to be noticing it more and more..
It doesn’t have a name (that I know of anyway), but it seems I am quite a bit scared of ‘potential danger’..It’s not such an uncommon fear I’m sure, but it’s probably one I need to get a good grip on since as a parent, I will need to find the ability to ‘let go’ a little and then a lot. I need to be able to trust in things I don’t necessarily have the power to control.
For example..Swimming.

At Ethans second lesson they wanted to try submerging him to get him use to being under the water and coming back up (in case he ever fell in). This perhaps sounds a bit harsh (well it did to me) but it seems it is normal practice.
And since we’ve joined an advanced class all of the other babies in our group who are Ethans age are able to be held by a trainer under the water and ‘swim’  half the length of the baby pool and come back up to the surface to their waiting Mum (or Dad) – which is bloody impressive!
But because Ethan is new to the course, we’re just working on being able to submerge him for a few seconds very slowly and gently so he gets used to being under water.
Now.. As lovely and impressive as that all sounds I have a bit of a problem with it and the problem isn’t Ethan.
I watched every single one of those babies go under water and come back up to their parents and they were all fine, in fact they appeared to really be enjoying themselves. It was impressive, watching a 10/11/12 month old be able to do that and it was obvious to see just how beneficial the skills they learn now in the water will be to them as they grow older.
But it was my own fear they made me resistant to let Ethan go underwater, it was my own fear that had a slight panic attack watching these babies do what they were doing.. with the panic only calming as I saw their smiley faces emerge one by one from the water.
I’d tried to shake it off and let my own fears go for Ethans sake, but when it came to it I just couldn’t let him go underwater. Encouragement from the instructor and a mental telling off to myself meant we had another go and he did it!
Ethan was okay, a little shocked as you’d expect but not panicked, not hysterical, not like I felt inside. The shock and realisation that I’d firstly given the okay to the instructor to do it and then held him myself and done it wiped across my face.The instructor reminded me that I NEEDED to smile, that I had to show Ethan that it was okay, I had to encourage him and praise him. And so shrugging off my lack of confidence for my Son, I did just that.
We managed to do three submersions and on every one my fear returned, but at the same time Ethan was fine. I know that with everyone we do Ethan takes a step closer to being able to ‘swim’ half the length of the pool underwater back into my arms. And on every one we’ll be a step closer to being able to trust in the water , we’ll be a step closer to finding confidence in things that aren’t always safe. But through this confidence we’ll learn how to be safe.
I have lots of fears, lots of things I am unconfident about and water is just one of them. But now that I’m somebody’s Mum it’s time dust myself off, plant a smile on my face and jump right out of my comfort zone. It’s time to teach my baby the life skills that he will need and discover all the amazing things that he (and I) can do.

Thank you to Konfidence for the opportunity to take these swimming lessons with Ethan and to the amazing instructors at SwimKidz who do such a brilliant job.


  1. I nodded while I was reading this post Alex. While I am not afraid of swimming, I do have a lot of anxieties that have come to the surface more since becoming a Mum. Being a Mum has definitely made me more paranoid and I think about the 'What if's?' so much more, I think that is only natural. This post made me feel a little teary, you sound like such a good Mum. x

  2. I am 30 soon and can't swim. I remember a scary time at a swimming lesson at school and since then have never felt confident unless I can touch the bottom of the pool. I will, at some point, take the children swimming as I think it's important to swim - Not being able to swim has stopped me doing so much! x

  3. I definitely understand this. Its part of what i`m working on with the counsellor. It comes up a lot that my own Mums fears are a LOT of whats caused my problems and anxieties now. Her fears were so at the forefront of my childhood that they rubbed off on me a lot. And they became even stronger in me than they were in her.

    So I know its SO important not to let history repeat itself and not to show my many fears to Tyne as he grows up, but its so hard to do that when you fear for their safety so much.


  4. Like Katie said, I found myself nodding in agreement as I read this! I'm not a strong swimmer and didn't enjoy swimming at school.
    I still have anxieties now and hate the thought of going under water, hence why we signed up Freddie for WaterBabies lessons so that he would hopefully be able to enjoy swimming!

    Well done for being out of your comfort zone and taking him! My husband takes Freddie for lessons and I sit and watch from the side (sometimes a little nervously when he goes underwater, but I know he'll be fine).

    It's wonderful that you are taking him to learn such an important life skill.

    Amelia x