This was written about one year ago: Finally have gotten around to publishing 🙂
Here I am at 5:30 in the morning. My beautiful 7 month old son has long fallen back asleep, but I lay awake. My mind is a constant mess of worry that usually dominates my thought process during the time where I should be in dreamland. My husband has yet to know why I have sleepless nights. Its time that I become honest with him and honest with myself. I am a worrier. I always have been one. Through my life I constantly worry about what others think of me (this has certainly decreased with age). I worry about not being successful, not having friends or (before my husband) never getting married. I would worry about getting abducted, getting hurt or something hurting my family. I would worry about the way I looked, my grades, my acne and even would stay awake pondering why I had a miniature head (and why people would tell me about my miniature head). I sit and wonder if I turned off the stove, locked the door, did my homework for the next day. If it starts raining I have a quick sense of fear thinking I probably left the window down and I am bound to be welcomed the next day with ruined interior. My eye goes fuzzy and I obviously have a brain tumor. I have a hint of pain in my lower abdomen and I most certainly have another cyst that is going to ruin the integrity of my ovary. I have always over thought everything and I am the reason for most of the stress in my life. I acknowledge that I am a drama queen.
It is no shock that my worrisome personality has leaked its way through to my mommy life. For those who are moms YOU UNDERSTAND! For those who are going to become moms someday you WILL understand! Being a mom makes you feel every emotion. Most of the time women will express how wonderful motherhood is and how much they love their child. I bought into this charade when I was an aspiring mother. How naive. Some mothers explain sleep deprivation, but that is the extent of it. Nobody told me how tired I’d actually be. I was clueless to the fact that some babies just don’t want to cuddle or breastfeed. How was I supposed to know about Mastitis. One of the biggest shocks was(drum roll please) you won’t always like your baby. My beautiful son was six days late, was 10 lbs and had a head in the 100%. He wouldn’t latch and weighed 9.1 two days after leaving the hospital. He was so hungry (I didn’t know he wasn’t eating, so he just cried). My son for the most part was a fantastic newborn, but he wouldn’t latch. I got mastitis 5 times with him. since he was so big my recovery was very difficult. I spent the first 3 months of his life being mad at him. Ladies it’s completely normal to want to throw your baby against the wall out of frustration (don’t let anybody tell you otherwise). I text my mom in the middle of the day (when my son was about two months old) saying “I now understand why moms shake their babies.” I think her response was to laugh, because she understood. I think moms are sometimes too afraid to admit that they just didn’t like their child, because of what other moms would think, or worse what the doctor would think. I made the mistake during my pregnancy to say I was a little stressed and the counselor called me every week and when I said I didn’t want to meet with her, a social worker contacted me and then barged in on my 35 week appointment. We just don’t want others to think we can’t do it. We sometimes don’t want to admit we want help. We all want to be supermom/superwife and the mama competitions begin. Ladies, it is not normal, however, to actually hurt your child or sincerely consider hurting your child. You NEED to call a friend/family member right away to watch your baby while you call the doctor. Just the other day I had to call my husband because I was so mad at my son, because he cried for 3 hours straight no matter what I did. My husband had to come home from work early. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. When you are sleep deprived it can be easy.
You may be wondering why I started this post talking about my worries. When you’re a mom, you worry!! More so than you ever have before. Well here it goes ladies, the top 8 things I worried about once I became a mom.
1. Your baby falling off of a balcony, or off of a bridge.
I have a fear of walking across bridges with my child in my arms. When my husband and I went on a walk I made him put my son in the stroller instead of walking across the walking bridge while holding him. I just knew somehow he would fly ten feet out of his dad’s arms into the water below. I can’t bring him out on balconies. The thought of my son plummeting over a guardrail haunts me. (this is originally what kept me up this particular night). I read an article the other day about a mom throwing her 7 year old over the Yakima bridge in Newport. After reading that, the thought flashed through my mind that I was going to lose my cool and throw my kid over the bridge. I had a panic attack thinking about it. My mind wandered and I began to imagine myself going to prison and having to tell everyday I killed my child. All of a sudden realistic Nicole came through “what, I’m not going to hurt my child!” Needless to say, this mama isn’t going to be walking over any bridges any time soon. Somebody said they were going on a cruise. My heart cringed because I pictured my son falling overboard and me having to jump over into the scary dark ocean after him. I want to throw up just thinking about that. No family cruises for us.
2. Baby getting smothered
Every magazine, book or article you read about motherhood discusses the chance of smothering your baby. You’re not supposed to have blankets or stuff animals in their cribs because they aren’t strong enough to move them away. Well my son never liked blankets anyways and so he’d kick them off (he was never swaddled). My husband would put him to sleep and lay a light blanket down by his waist and legs. No problem right? Wrong! Every night I would convince myself that I was going to let it slide. But, then I would stare at the ceiling picturing me waking up to a dead baby suffocated by blankets. I would wait for my husband to go to sleep and take them off. I didn’t want him to know I did it because then he would try to convince me it was okay. There’s no rationalizing with an overprotective mom gentlemen. Don’t even try.
New mamas you’re going to realize that there are huge debates in motherhood. Each mom thinks they are doing the right thing (hence why they are doing it) but sometimes moms are, dare I say, annoying and try to “convert” you to their way of thinking. I got several private messages on Facebook my first couple of weeks of mommy hood about everything, ranging from car seats (which was actually usually helpful) to circumcision. Some popular debates, breast feeding vs formula, immunizations, “cry it out” method, when to start feeding solids and what type of solids, stay at home mom vs working mom and even home schooling vs public school. One interesting Debate is Co sleeping vs independent sleeping. Many mothers truly believe in Co sleeping until about 3 years old. I was never this mom. My son never once slept with us. In fact, he went into his own room at 7 weeks. I was way too paranoid to have him sleep with us. He fell asleep on me only 2 times, because I was so darn tired I didn’t realize. I just couldn’t risk being the reason my offspring suffocated.
3. His stroller going into the street
I don’t know how many times I’ve envisioned my son’s stroller malfunctioning and driving off of the sidewalk into oncoming traffic, or in the little creek or lake next to the walking path. I seriously have had flashes of his wheel hitting a rock and going into traffic. Another fear is waiting at a crosswalk and him sliding off of the ramp. I see moms waiting for the walk symbol as cars are speeding around the corner and she is texting. What?! How can you do that? I’m not judging her, I’m admiring her. How is she not an emotional mess? Respect.
I was walking at the park and there was a gap between two trees and the gap was just big enough for the stroller. I peered down and the hill went straight into the river. I honestly started assessing the situation and making a detailed plan of how I’d save my baby if he were to fall through that gap and go into the river. I clenched his stroller handle with all my might and walked past gulping my fear down.
Do you know how many things babies can chock on? That’s right, everything! Things that you never thought about them chocking on. I do a pretty good job of keeping “little things” off of the ground to avoid hazards, so how does my little menace find stuff?! I looked over and he had a little piece of Styrofoam in his hand. I didn’t know where that came from. Or another time he was enthralled with a little dab of tape. We have tape? I don’t know where these things even come from. Chocking isn’t even an irrational fear, but it keeps me up at night. Especially since I have already had to give him the Heimlich. Baby = 0, Banana = 1
5. Baby stops breathing
Mamas, no matter how many times your husband says “he’s still breathing, don’t worry” you’re convinced that he is not breathing and to panic! Usually this results in you tickling their foot, coughing or even shaking them to make sure they’re alive. You know that saying, “sleep when the baby sleeps.” No, because if you sleep they’ll obviously die. I only had about 3 hours of sleep in his first 72 hours because I knew if I fell asleep (even though my mom and hubby were watching him) he’d stop breathing and I would then have to plan a funeral. I’m not kidding, I’ve actually cried over having to plan a fake funeral (I told you I’m crazy).
6. Reaction to immunization
Alright people, here comes a controversy. Let me first point out, GET YOUR KIDS IMMUNIZED!!!!! I don’t know where this “hippie” mentality came about where you don’t give your kids shots, but its ridiculous! Moms say that there are no need for the shots anymore, but do you want to know why we don’t have sever epidemics? Because the generation before me all got there shots. I don’t know anybody in there 40 -60’s who aren’t immunized. What are you thinking! Selfish. You know who would get Polio? Well not you, because you’re immunized. Your child would get it. So, why do I fear immunizations and yet give my kid them? Because I’m crazy. No, but seriously I do believe in them, but what if he did have a reaction to one and then all the mamas would get to say “I told you so” and then I would feel bad because I inflicted pain on my little Angel!! That being said, I’ll still give all my kids immunizations. However, after each shot I’m afraid my kid will have one of the many possible side effects even though I know how low those chances are. Aren’t they like 1%? (or lower)
7. Doesn’t like me/doesn’t have a relationship.
Honestly, one of a moms biggest fear (outside of their child getting hurt) is having their child not like them. I’m not immune to this fear. I love my child more than I ever thought possible. He is my life! I do everything for him with no recognition (from him) of my sacrifices. Motherhood is one of the most thankless callings. Even our sweet amazing husband’s have grown accustom to our acts. Our babies don’t even know how much we do nor would they know how to reciprocate. However, one thing that makes it all worth it is their love. They smile at you and you think, “aww its okay that you woke me up at 3 in the morning!”
My challenge as a mother has been that my child doesn’t latch. He never breastfed and my lactation consultant didn’t take the time to work with us. She sent me out the door telling me that I should just pump and then told me to go to the hospital during the middle of the day for a class. I couldn’t even drive a motor vehicle how was I suppose to get to the hospital every time my child needed to be fed? Needless to say, I just pump. Knowing my sons personality it makes sense. He hates cuddling and he loves being stimulated while he eats. When he was little he liked looking at faces and now he always has to have a toy in his hand or he’ll find one. Pumping has its benefits, it means that anybody can feed him. But this means…anybody can feed him. He has no idea that I’m the one providing sustenance. Everybody is on an equal playing field! I’m terrified that my son doesn’t like me, or that I’m just as good as everybody else. It seems that ever other baby loves their mom more than mine loves me. Yes, I lose sleep at night.
8. That I would hurt my child
Moms, you’re going to hurt your child. Its going to happen. I’m not talking about you losing your cool and hurting your child. I’m talking about the “oops” moment that every mom has that they usually don’t admit to. When my son was less then a day old I was trying to unbutton my shirt to feed him. My hand slipped and I punched him in the face. I remember him not crying but looking at me like, “what the heck, this is a cruel world!” Then about a week later I was feeding him in the middle of the night and I was trying to adjust and I smacked his head on the arm rest of the rocking chair. Then later I took a corner too sharply. Just the other day I was holding him and he lunged out of my arms and plummeted into the ground (thankfully I was sitting down). I have yet to face plant him (while he is sitting up) but I have watched others have this happen. He is a fast mover and not quite strong enough for the things he wants to accomplish. All of these were little things that we can just say “oops sorry baby” maybe even cry a little because we feel so bad, but then we move on. From day one I was afraid of accidentally hurting him in a monumental way. I have a problem with stairs. I have fallen down my parents stairs about 15 times. Three of which have resulted in sprained ankles. For the first month I refused to sleep upstairs because I knew I had to grab the baby and go get milk downstairs. I didn’t trust myself walking down. I just knew I would fall. I even envisioned me dropping him over the banister.
I am still afraid to get into an accident. When I was by myself I would occasionally grab my phone and respond to a text while driving. Now, I refuse! This isn’t an irrational fear. This is a legitimate fear However, I get panic attacks whenever I drive now. I walk to places as much as I can. If the weather is somewhat decent and the location is within 3 miles, I’m walking (but not on any main streets).
I also think that I’m going to drop him, or when he was little I was convinced I wasn’t going to support his head well enough. I have held babies before and I felt more scared of dropping mine than I every have had before. I even was more comfortable with my little sister holding him rather than me and she doesn’t have any children. I didn’t want to be the reason my baby got hurt
I wish I could say that these are my only fears. They are not, they are the ones that are reoccurring. I will most assuredly have more once he becomes mobile. I already know that the toilet will be my worst nightmare (drowning danger) and the cleaning chemicals (that I have hid) will be found.. Children getting older doesn’t mean the worries go away, the worries just change.