I am a somewhat functioning adult with an incredible ability to worry and overthink things. I am a fairly confident individual with a healthy dose of social anxiety. If my best friend doesn’t text me back in an hour, I immediately think we’re in a fight and she never wants to talk to me again. I’ve stayed up at night analyzing conversations I had over 2 years ago and I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve driven back to my house to make sure the door is locked or that my curling iron is unplugged. I know I’m overthinking things and most of the time tell myself -to the tune of Taylor Swift- I need to calm down.
A New Type of Worry
With the excitement of my positive pregnancy test, a new type of worry set in that something bad was going to happen. My control-freak tendencies had no control over this monumental change I was about to experience. Every cramp or twinge, the worry would creep in and take over my mind like a thunderstorm consumes the sky. Later in my pregnancy, when I didn’t feel the baby move as much in a day, I’d start to panic and recount everything I had done that day to make sure nothing would have negatively impacted the baby. Now with my 10-week old, I’m worried about his feeding patterns, SIDS and if the amount of The Real Housewives of New Jersey I’m watching on maternity leave will impact his development. I know this is just the tip of the iceberg of worry during my parenting journey.
While I was expressing some of my concerns at an appointment during my pregnancy, my OB told me “you’re doing all that you can do.” I try to be mindful and think about this to help ease some of my concerns. Pregnancy is hard. Newborns are hard. Postpartum is hard. I try and remind myself constantly, I’m doing what I can. I take care of my baby, I feed him, I play with him, I keep him safe and show him love and affection.
Letting Go of Expectations
Part of the lesson of ‘doing what I can’ is also about learning what I can realistically control, which I’ve learned is little when you have a newborn. I had a ton of trouble breastfeeding – I tried to make it work for weeks and my supply was never enough for my baby. It made me so upset but it’s out of my control and I did everything I could. My baby sleeps great at night but needs to be held for daytime naps. We’ll work on that – eventually.
I know all parents worry about their children – that’s part of the job. While you can set a routine and have a diaper bag packed to the brim with everything you think you need, there is so much you won’t be able to control. Life will get in the way. Letting go of your expectations and rolling with the punches of parenthood is easier said than done and something I remind myself of constantly.
I’m learning to be a mom and through this wild and difficult season of life. I’m somehow more forgiving with myself now than I have ever been. A worry pops in my mind, I acknowledge it and think about “what can I do about it” and then let it go instead of letting it take over. My mind is still racing most of the day. I make sure he’s breathing every two minutes, I Google everything and have the pediatrician saved in my favorite contacts. I take comfort in the fact that I’m doing what I can before I spiral out with my next concern.
Wait – is my curling iron unplugged?