It’s been a while now since I’ve been a fearful first-time mom. My Biggest Little was 7 this fall (side note: ugh). When I was pregnant with her I was pretty significantly worried about everything. All the things, actually. Picture gag-on-my-lunch-queasy-stomach-panic-type-worry, in fact. However, for getter or worse, I know there are some weird things all first-time moms worry about, so at least I knew I wasn't alone.
I remember vividly standing in the tiny, box-sized kitchen of our studio apartment shaking with anxiety-ridden sobs sometime in the first trimester. I was snotting and sobbing all over my partner's shirt trying to convince him to be as absolutely petrified about something very serious as I was. He stood there gingerly holding me. If I'm honest, he was probably thinking: What in ever-loving hell did I get myself into making a person with this irrational sopping, booger tornado?! And though he is known for an often inappropriate level of honesty, he didn't say any of this. He just stood there, holding me.
While those pregnancy fears are pretty intense, no amount of people telling you to relax is going to help you. So, if you're like me, you grit your teeth and bear the 40 week (more or less) panic attack, while telling everyone you're dealing with stress by meditating and doing yoga. (When in reality you're binge-watching Battlestar Galactica, eating Sexy Pizza and guzzling root beer which is the only thing that stays in your stomach). When the baby comes out, however, it's a whole other level of mama-craze.
Worries are normal. Seek out people who will help you normalize all that normal, new-mom size worry (Did I mention it’s normal?) and allow yourself the ability to commiserate guilt-free.
Breastfeeding In Public (And Without A Cover)
If you’re chest/breastfeeding, you'll probably find yourself worrying about exposing yourself. Here's the thing, though: you probably will. In my opinion, it's time to stop worrying and start accepting.
Too Much Television Time
We truly, truly tried to keep our baby away from the television for 18 months. I heartily support any new parent who wants to take advantage of the television, but we do know that it matters how much screen time kiddos get.
However, I have three kids now and being chronically obsessive about my new baby accidentally eye-gobbling up their big siblings’ screen time is just unrealistic. As my graduate developmental psych professor said: even the best parent is only good 80 percent of the time.
If screen time isn’t your hill to die, on don’t be so hard on yourself.
Never Knowing If Your Baby Is Too Hot Or Too Cold
They'll cry. That's basically how you'll know.
Never Knowing If Your Baby Has A Wet/Poop-Filled Diaper
Again, they'll cry.
Knowing Why Your Baby Is Crying
You won't. Well, not at first, anyway.
It takes a while to decipher your baby's cries and figure out just which kind of cry means which thing, but eventually you will get the hang of it. Just be kind to yourself and give yourself time to adjust to this new life.
If Your Baby Is Getting Enough To Eat...
This truly is a serious one, folx.
Parents who give birth and plan to raise their children are inundated with messages of “Breast is Best". Stories abound of parents who were so convinced they must be able to produce the milk their babies needed they didn’t notice the signs of starvation.
Unfortunately, some baby-first practices contribute to the danger of baby not getting enough nutrition. Breast/chestfeeding parents are shamed into a silence that can cause severe mama-anxiety (raises hand) and, in the most extreme cases, babies can die.
If you want to breast/chestfeed know that there is no shame in supplementing. If you want to formula feed, don’t let anyone shame you into not doing it. Your body, your choice. There are resources designed to help you feed your bond and feed your baby.
Don't be afraid to ask for help.
...Or Will It "Hurt" Them To Use Formula
Again, there are resources designed to help you feed your bond and feed your baby. Formula exists for a reason, and there are plenty of formula-fed babies (the majority if not all, in fact) who grow up to be happy, healthy, thriving adults. You aren't hurting your kid by providing them with nutrients.
Cutting Fingernails And Toenails
How in the hell is anyone supposed to safely cut something so tiny? Beats the hell out of me. If you can do it without cutting a finger please call me. Seriously.
If You'll Mess Up Your Kid
I’m fond of saying we are all messed up by our parents in our own unique way. Of course that applies to us as parents, too. If you’re worrying about this question, like I was, you are probably going to be a great parent (or at least a decent parent). How do I know? Because you’re actively trying to prevent f*cking your kid up, which means you already love that kid a whole helluva lot and will do your due diligence in learning how to parent.
Will your child still b*tch about you in therapy someday? Eh, probably.
Whether Or Not Your Baby Is Healthy
This worrying can reach a fever pitch, especially when your obsessive measuring of first-baby’s developmental milestones is causing chest pains. At 7 months, I knew my child had sensory processing issues. She wasn’t diagnosed as autistic until she was 5 years old. So, in addition to the worrying, I was also fighting with pediatricians, occupational therapists, and teachers in order to get her the evaluations and services she needed. All the while trying to keep from believing I was crazy.
This worry came true, and you know what? We totally survived. You’re a parent now. You will deal with whatever comes your way, no matter how scarily expected or unexpected.