Being a first-time mom was the hardest transition I’ve ever made.
It was harder than going to college, harder than getting married, harder than buying a house. After my son was born, I think I went a little Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs for a little while there. Maybe I am still crazy. Maybe this is just who I am now.
I’ve always been worrywart, but becoming a mother put all of my neurosis into overdrive. So if as a new mother, you find yourself having a meltdown over which diaper cream to buy or wondering why your baby makes so much noise while they are supposedly sleeping, don’t worry. You’re in good company. Okay, well you might not be in good company but at least you’re not alone.
Here are 7 Weird Things All First-Time Moms Worry About:
1. Is the baby ever going to sleep? I would get so worked up about my son sleeping that my husband would have to remind me to breathe. He’d tell me that no matter what happened, we’d get through it. And we did. But it didn’t help that every time the baby started to establish some kind of sleep schedule, he would get a cold or a new tooth and totally switch it up. I guess that was just his cute little way of torturing his new parents.
2. Is the baby eating? Yes, we have all wondered if our baby was eating. And if they are eating enough. This should be obvious, right? Either they are eating or they’re starving. Well, it’s not easy. This whole feeding-your-child thing seems like it should be simple and it makes you feel like a loser that you don’t know if you’re doing it right. Trust me: you are definitely not a loser. You are just a good mom who is worrying about their child’s health. It’s totally normal.
3. Needing to own the perfect baby gear. I have no idea how many hours I spent trying to find the perfect crib and the perfect stroller because I lost track at about 25,938. Seriously. I felt like if I could just find all the perfect baby stuff, doing this whole ‘first-time mom thing’ would be a piece of cake.
Spoiler alert: Owning the perfect gear doesn’t really make this parenting gig a breeze. But having a stroller that you can unfold using only one hand is a good place to start.
4. Screen time. Not every first-time mother gets all Puritanical over letting their babies watch television or even glimpse a computer, but all new parents worry about screen time more than they should. When my son was born, we used to carefully position him so that there was no way he could see the television while we binge-watched Mad Men and Breaking Bad. And if we went to someone’s house, we would try not to let him be in the same room as the television if it was on. We even tried to limit the amount of time he spent hanging out on Skype with faraway relatives. Yup, we were those hippie weirdo first-time parents that weren’t about to let our little one’s brains get fried by exposure to evil screens. We really just needed to chill out.
5. Random minor medical problems. It happens to all first-time parents and it will happen to you too. You will find yourself awake at 3am typing something into Google like “lazy eye” or “baby acne” or even “is my son’s penis too small”? Yes, you are being ridiculous. And yes, everyone does this. Being concerned about your child is a sign of good parenting. But instead of bombarding yourself with horrifying images on WebMD, write those questions down for one of the millions of pediatrician visits that you will have during the first year and step away from the computer. I repeat, step away from Google. Do it now. It is not going to do you any good to go down that rabbit hole.
6. Milestones are amazing and they are terrible. They are amazing because they allow us to bask in the awesomeness of our baby’s accomplishments. Milestones are terrible because they make first-time moms worried sick.
When I became a mom, my son and I were in a newborn baby play group. I tried to tell myself not to compare my son to the other babies, but it was impossible. When other babies rolled over and crawled first, I felt terrible. And when my son waved goodbye first and shook his head before the other babies, all the other moms felt terrible. We were all worried that our children weren’t developing appropriately. But they were.
Every parenting book preaches that each baby is different, but it’s hard to remember those words when you’re waiting for your baby to take their first steps or say their first word. But they will eventually do all of those things. They really will.
7. Getting your body back. Having a child is not easy on your whole body. Sure, I worried about losing the baby weight. But I’m actually not referring to vanity, I’m talking about actually worrying that pregnancy messed up my body. I worried if my hips and my back would ever stop aching and if my stitches would ever heal. I wondered if the muscles in my stomach would ever feel strong again. And my boobs… My poor, abused breastfeeding nipples. Yikes! I thought they would never heal.
It took a while but most things went back to being the same – more or less. My body is different; it shows the scars of carrying, birthing, and feeding two children. But my body is also stronger and more amazing than I ever thought it could be.
First-time moms don’t have it easy.
We feel judged during a time when we are learning a lot of new things. But what seems like a weird thing to worry about is actually not weird at all. It’s something that we have all wondered about, something that has kept all of us awake at night. Babies are weird and being a parent is weird. It gives you a lot worry about.