Okay, so you got pregnant and carried your baby in the womb for nine whole months and now they’re finally here! You meet your little love bug and take a huge sigh of relief. You think to yourself, “Yes, she’s finally here and I can stop worrying about all the things that could have gone wrong with my pregnancy and baby”…..WRONG! Sorry to break it to ya mama, but all the psychotic worrying during pregnancy pretty much follows you right into official motherhood. Now, don’t get me wrong. Some moms-to-be are more relaxed than others, but the majority of friends and women Ive talked to have shared the same pregnancy and new mom anxiety that I’ve experienced. Heres the thing though, all the worry is really for nothing. From talking with my fellow mamas, Ive gathered the top four irrational fears that all moms come to face and am ready to reassure you that the things you are having anxiety over are totally normal and the chances of these worries becoming reality are very slim.
*Now with all that said, I must mention that if you feel like your new mom worries are a bit out of hand and are starting to take over your everyday life and perhaps interfering with your ability to take care of your baby, please make sure to talk to someone you trust. Although postpartum anxiety can be fairly normal and mild, it can also turn into a very serious condition that needs to be dealt with. If you feel like this is the case, make sure to mention it to your OB and try reaching out to a friend or your significant other. If you don’t feel comfortable talking with them, there are many support groups that you can join through social media and if that fails as well, you can always email me and we can hash out the details together. The great thing about being a mom is that you are now a part of a very special group of women who will understand where you are coming from. If you’re unsure about weather what you’re feeling is normal, click on the link to get more in depth information and check to see if your symptoms match with the ones provided http://www.postpartumprogress.com/the-symptoms-of-postpartum-depression-anxiety-in-plain-mama-english
FOUR BIGGEST FEARS OF A FIRST TIME MOM (or any mom really)
- SIDS SIDS SIDS!!!! A.K,A. Sudden Infant Death Syndrom- Before I ever thought about becoming a mom, I had never heard of such a thing. SIDS is basically when a baby stops breathing and dies with no real explanation. Its so terrifying to think about! Although new studies emerge each year about infant death, scientists have not been able to find a definite answer. Some infant deaths are contributed to suffocation from blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals, Others have been attributed to co-sleeping in an unsafe environment. Overheating has also been a contributing factor. As a new mom, its very important to follow basic rules for infant sleep. Heres a link for more information and all the Do’s and DONTs : http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sudden-infant-death-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20020269 When Emma was first born, my husband and I would stay up and watch her sleep. We would count her breaths to make sure she’s breathing enough and even panicked and called her pediatrician one time when we thought that she was breathing “funny”. We soon learned that infants breath “funny” all the time. We were told that they might even stop breathing for a few seconds and that was normal! From then on, we made sure to follow some of the basic sleeping rules (no sleeping with bumpers, blankets, stuffed animals or pillows…no co-sleeping, no overnight sleeping in swings or rockers etc..) and tried to put our fears behind us. It was also very helpful to know the statistics of SIDS and how rare it was. According to the US Department of Health and Services, almost four million babies were born in 2010 and only 2000 babies died of SIDS. Now, if you’re like me and you like percentages, that translates into a 0.0005% chance!! I don’t know about you, but that made me feel a lot better. The odds are definitly in your favor. If you follow the rules for infant sleep safety, then you should rest easy.
- “I won’t be able to breastfeed”- Throughout my entire pregnancy, I thought about weather or not I would be able to breastfeed my baby. I had seen many women struggle with it and I only knew two friends who were successful at it. We all know that breast is best! Of course it is! Breastfeeding helps build baby’s immune system and provides antibodies to fight off illnesses and has a long long list of benefits including the fact that mother and child develop a special bond during the process. With all that said, we are living in the 21st century and thank God someone invented formula!!! Formula is the closest thing to breast milk and the only thing missing is the antibodies. Thankfully, the baby is born with tons of antibodies to begin with so don’t feel bad about giving your child the much needed nutrients from formula. There are lots of options in the supermarket from all organic and non-GMO to run of the mill generic store brand formula which are all great. Here is my take on this subject and you might not agree with me and I know that its a hot button issue but these are my opinions and we are all entitled to our own. If you’re having a very hard time with breast-feeding and its beginning to give you anxiety and you’re losing significant amounts of sleep over it, then I suggest you think about your options. For me, after meeting with breast-feeding consultants, having a newborn admitted to the hospital with jaundice, not having enough milk, having inverted nipples (sorry, total TMI), and also having physical complications from childbirth, I felt it necessary to end my struggle with breastfeeding in the first month after giving birth. All the pumping and sleeplessness mixed with the postpartum hormones was not working well with me. I felt that it would be better for everyone if we switched to formula. After the initial guilt, I started to feel like myself again. I wanted to be able to be the best Mom to Emma and that was what I was going to do. I started to notice that she was happier (cause she was feeding enough) and I was also going back to being who I was. For the first time since giving birth, I felt like I can finally bond with my baby because I was in the right state of mind. My point in all of this is that its ok to fail at something. There will be tons of other things we fail at as moms and its always a learning experience. The important thing is to try your best (super cliche but its the truth).
- “Ill drop my baby on her head!”- You always here the phrase/insult, “Were you dropped on your head as a child?” and I guess it sticks with you. In the first few months of life, babies are so fragile. They still have a soft spot on their head, indicating that their skull has not fully formed yet. I remember being fearful of other children approaching Emma and “loving” her too hard on her head, or tripping over a cord or toy while carrying her and accidentally dropping her. Well folks, I haven’t told too many people but it happened…I dropped her…ON HER HEAD!!!! She was 5 months old and hadn’t showed signs of mobility yet and while she was in her stroller for one second (seriously, one second!) I got distracted by something and took my eyes off of her. She was not strapped in because I was a rookie and I thought, “She can’t move yet, and I’m right in front of her…she’ll be fine”. Boy was I wrong! Next thing I knew, Emma did a summersault and I heard her head make contact with concrete! It happened so fast and even though I was right in front of her, I couldn’t stop it from happening. I immediately picked her up and she of course was wailing at this point. My husband was at work and I immediately dialed 9-1-1 and could barely tell the lady my address because we were both wailing together. Once the paramedics got there (took them two minutes!!), she was all smiles and after running some tests, they reassured me she was fine. I was so overcome with fear and shock that I demanded they take her to Children’s Hospital for further testing. I remember being in the ambulance thinking, “Ive ruined a perfectly healthy child because I was so careless”. I felt like the worst mom in the history of moms. Thankfully my sister and my husband were both able to meet me in the E.R. and it was nice to know I wasn’t alone. Doctors came in to evaluate her and again assured me that she was okay and that they couldn’t even find a bump. I was amazed at how resilient she could be. The doctor then gave me a lecture about how incredibly awesome the human body is and how easily babies can bounce back. Each time a new member of the health staff came in, they would tell me a story about mothers who brought their babies in for a fall such as this and that it was very common. Emma has been doing great after that (the Armenian in me says “knock on wood” and pinches her butt for good luck…yes these are THINGS! LOL). Moral of the story: you might drop your kid. Accidents happen and no one is perfect. Babies are resilient but we must ALWAYS be careful and for God’s sake, strap them into everything!!!
- “My baby isn’t reaching his milestones at the same time as other babies”- Ok, I gotta admit, I’ve been thinning about this one in the past few months. Emma is officially 8 months old and has no interest in crawling. I see friends from my mom groups who have almost 9 month olds who can practicaly running! I was a bit concerned at first but after talking to some seasoned moms and some super rational friends (Love ya Jen <3) I was happy to realize that all babies do things on their own time. Some children skip crawling all together and go straight to walking and other don’t walk until their well into their terrible twos. As long as its in a reasonable timeframe, I’d say that you probably don’t have anything to worry about. With all that said, if you ever feel like something is off and your child is for example: three years old, and not saying one word and your pediatrician is concerned, thats when you should seek guidance. I mean, that goes without saying right?! If you’d like more information, its always best to reach out to your Regional Center for more information. Just google: Regional Center Los Angeles, or Seattle…whatever city you are in. A number should come up and its a free service there for everyone to take advantage of.
Motherhood can be a challenge at times. There are so many wild emotions that go along with the job and its easy to get wrapped up in our feelings. The only real advice I can give is to try and concentrate on the good feelings instead of the bad. Instead of wallowing in a pool of anxiety and fear, why not consume yourself in all that love thats beaming from your little one? Like my dear friend Sophie says, “Nar, take it one day at a time”. She’s a twin mama and if she can do it, so can I and so can you!