We all worry about one thing or another, and when it comes to our children the worrying is amplified by a million.
I’ve always had a tendency to be a little negative and a little pessimistic (I’m sure my husband is now laughing at those “a little”), which usually leads me to over think and over stress—something I’ve been working really hard to improve in the past 10 years. And I have improved.
But when Oliver arrived into our lives, it became so much more difficult to keep my negativity and stress levels in check. It’s emotionally exhausting to be responsible for another person’s life.
If I look back at these past 19 months with Oliver, though, I realise that most of the things I worried about in the moment were absolutely not worth worrying about. But it’s probably true what many parents say: you learn not to worry only by the time the second child arrive.
So today I want to share with you some of those moments (the ones I remember most vividly), for myself first—because writing them down reminds me what they’ve taught me—and for you, too—because when I talk to other mothers I realise we all stress and worry about similar things.
The time when “Will I be able to breastfeed?”
Yes, the worrying started before Oliver was born. You hear it all the time, “I didn’t have enough milk”, “My milk wasn’t filling my baby” etc… Even though my midwife kept repeating that every mother (except a very, very low percentage) has milk, and the more your breastfeed, the more milk you produce, I worried I might be in that small percentage. And yes, there have been hard times (latching problems, mastitis, teething etc…), but I’m still breastfeeding Oliver today.
Your breastfeeding ability: not worth worrying about.
The time when the umbilical chord took longer to fall off
All Oliver’s friends lost their chords in 4-5 days, while Oliver’s took about 10 days. We worried (Is it infected? Do we have to cover it? Do we have to keep it drier/moister?), until one morning it was gone. Just like that.
The way of nature: not worth worrying about.
The time when I thought I had to stop breastfeeding at four months
I always wanted to breastfeed Oliver for as long as possible, but when Oliver was four months old he started teething. I was desperate: I thought it’d become too painful and that I’d have to stop breastfeeding soon. Not only it never hurt, but I never even felt his teeth on my breasts (except just recently that they’re more sensitive due to the pregnancy).
Breastfeeding and teething: not worth worrying about.
The time when Oliver ran a high fever for two days straight
We never take medicines and try to avoid doctors as much as possible. When Oliver had his first high fever, though, after a day an a half of 39,5 degree temperature and no other symptom, we worried and took him to two different (!) paediatricians (one private and quite expensive). The day after, the fever disappeared and his whole body was covered in a rash (it was roseola) which disappeared, too, in a couple days. The following times Oliver had fever, diarrea, vomit, colds, general discomfort, cough… we knew better and just waited for them to pass. And they always did.
Common illnesses: not worth worrying about.
The time when Oliver wouldn’t fall asleep on his own
I had read it’s really important for babies to learn to fall asleep on their own, without rocking them, and we wanted Oliver to do it, too. We tried several techniques and nothing worked, until one day, several months later, he simply started doing it on his own (not always, but we now know he’s capable of doing it and that we definitely don’t need to teach him).
Sleeping habits: not worth worrying about.
The time(s) when Oliver refused to eat
The first time Oliver refused to eat for weeks, I worried. We tried to figure out all the possible reasons, but as we couldn’t force him to eat, we just waited. He went back to eating when he was ready.
The first time he stopped eating any kind of protein (even his morning eggs), I worried. I started hiding meat in vegetable creams, which of course altered the taste so he wouldn’t like it as much. We decided to wait and let him eat only what he wanted. He went back to eating meat when he was ready. This keeps happening over and over again, but we’re now much more relaxed about it and the “problem” always fixes itself.
Changes in eating habits and phases: not worth worrying about.
The time(s) when Oliver stopped sleeping at night
After I decided to stop breastfeeding him at night, Oliver went through a phase of sleeping all night long. The first time he stopped sleeping well, I worried. I tried to look for solutions (belly up, belly down, more light, less light, more blanket, less blanket, going to bed earlier, going to bed later…), but nothing seemed to bring the magic back. Until one day he just went back to sleeping through the night. This also goes in phases, but we’re now much more relaxed (although not less annoyed ;-) about it.
Changes in sleeping habits and phases: not worth worrying about.
The time when Oliver ran swinging only one arm
This happened just recently and it might sound funny. For the longest time, Oliver swung only one arm when running. Normally, lots of questions would have crossed our mids, “Is it normal? Should we worry? Is it a motor disorder?”. But all those “not worth worrying about” moments have surely taught us something: so we didn’t worry, we just waited and now Olive res already starting to run swinging both his arms.
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I guess what I’m trying to say is: children have their own times and go through phases that are always and hopelessly very unpredictable. But with each and every one of these phases the lesson for me is: it’s just a phase. Thinking—and believing—it’s just a phase lets me evaluate the “problem” more rationally, worry less about what I can’t control and (sometimes) act more calmly when presented with a stressful situation. It worked for me, maybe it’ll work for you too. It’s just a phase!
Have you ever had one of these “not worth worrying about” moments?