Momma Needs Reassuring… Lots of It

Posted on | March 24, 2010 | 10 Comments

There are so many things I worry about now that I’m a mom. In all honesty, I was a worrier before I became a mom and I worried all the way through my pregnancy. One of my friends is an only child and his mother told me that when she was pregnant and all through his childhood, his and her charts always said “Mother needs lots of reassuring.” That is totally me.

I swear to you, when J was a newborn, I wanted to take him to the doctor EVERY week. I needed to know that he was the right weight or height or something. I just needed that daily reassurance that I was doing everything I could and should to make his little life exactly what it should be. I was embarrassed by my neediness but I couldn’t curb it. It felt like there was just no way that I was going to be good enough for this little bundle of perfection. Everything felt too right. Too perfect. There had to be a catch. I kept waiting for the proverbial other shoe because I just *knew* that something would go wrong. I don’t get perfection. Something always goes wrong. So I brooded. And waited. And took temperatures. And counted diapers. And was convinced… convinced … that at any moment he would just stop breathing or some doctor would tell me that he wasn’t going to survive.

Not an auspicious start, I’ll admit, and in retrospect it’s no wonder I developed some heightened anxiety. I don’t know if my fear stemmed from past experiences or if it just stemmed from not feeling like I deserved such happiness… all I know is that I was afraid all the time. And in December when J started shaking when he ate, I just knew my fears had come true. We spent one long and grueling night in the emergency room with me lying down next to my sweet son and reciting Goodnight Moon from memory while he sniffled his way to sleep. They couldn’t find anything wrong but I wasn’t convinced.
For over a month, doctors poked and prodded, medicated and tested, and no one could tell me why he was shaking. I finally got to the point where I thought I had worried myself into hallucinations about something being wrong with him. Seriously. I started to think that by worrying so much I had somehow worried this onto him. Finally, after an MRI, an EEG, a CT Scan, and several rounds of blood and urine tests, the good folks up in Atlanta diagnosed him with a B-12 deficiency and told me that with shots and eventually oral treatment he would be fine.
I wish I could say that knowing that curbed the worry but it hasn’t. I’m terrified every time he shakes. I’m scared about brain damage. I’m scared about stupid stupid stupid things that I won’t even bore you with. And worst of all is the fact that I worry about absolutely every. thing. I do. And everything I don’t do. So I wonder how it is that mothers learn to let go. Because dear God I don’t know how I’m going to do it. I still can’t sleep in a separate room from my son for fear that someone or something will get him while I sleep. It’s ridiculous. And I just don’t know how to stop.

So tell me… how do you find that perfect distance? The place where you worry but not panic? It seems to be getting slowly better. Just yesterday I actually put J to bed and didn’t immediately turn on the baby monitor. Husband wanted to throw a party for me. I’m right now sitting in the living room, drinking a glass of wine and keeping one ear on the monitor for breathing sounds. I’ve only stuck my head in the nursery twice since I laid him down an hour and a half ago. So that’s progress, right? I’m open for suggestions that don’t involve numbing my senses with alcohol… I’ve got that one down pat. 🙂 (I kid. I’m totally not an alcoholic.) So reassure me, will ya? It gets better? Easier? Somehow a little less horrifying? Lie to me if you must.


10 Responses to “Momma Needs Reassuring… Lots of It”

  1. Cybil
    March 24th, 2010 @ 10:51 am

    It totally gets better! Especially when they start talking, and then talking back – you can't wait to get away from them!

  2. Jayme
    March 24th, 2010 @ 11:15 am

    I think perhaps your internal mother's intuition was pinging. It does get better. For me it was having several other kids that helped LOL

    I get more relaxed with each one.

  3. Tiffany
    March 24th, 2010 @ 1:08 pm

    I just blogged about my own anxieties lately as well. I don't think it ever fades once you have children, no matter how old they are. At 7, my son causes me more worry than my 7 month old ever has. Post here –

  4. Rebekah
    March 24th, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

    It gets better. It gets better the more you realize you are doing it *right*. It takes time. And if time doesn't fix it, seek medical help for the anxiety. No shame in it and no reason to suffer.

  5. Ali
    March 24th, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

    Oh it gets better. Trust me, I thought my sons head was going to explode. I find that the anxiety that I had with my first is gone with my second. Just try to enjoy that little man of yours and remember that you are a wonderful mama, trust yourself.

  6. SugarPlumsMomma
    March 24th, 2010 @ 3:28 pm

    I love reading your posts – so many times you say what I am thinking. Pat yourself on the back for KNOWING there was something wrong with your son and pushing until you got the answers that your son needed. I can't say it gets better yet – cause
    i am still months behind you but it must or all moms would be basketcases.


  7. bailey
    March 24th, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

    I had anxities before I had my daughter, so after I had her I had even more. But it does get better!! I think you get more used to it. And I was the same way as you when Addison was younger. I still check on her at night to make sure she's still breathing! But I'm a whole lot less worried about small things. You'll do fine! You're a WONDERFUL mommy 🙂

  8. metta1313
    March 24th, 2010 @ 5:00 pm

    I think the worry comes from being a new mommy. I have my moments too. I think what helps me to not worry so much now is the fact that we had a huge scare in the beginning with Abby (blog post to come)and at first when we brought her home we ended up bed sharing while she slept in this giant wedge between us…but slowly we started to worry less. It takes time. Don't get down on yourself. You are doing an amazing job!

  9. JillyB
    March 24th, 2010 @ 8:27 pm

    It gets better…or different depending how you look at it. The insane level of anxiety I had when Big Time was a baby has definitely subsided, but the worry for me hasn't gone away. I just worry about different things now that he's four and a half. I do have to admit that when he was a baby I never was tempted to run from the house screaming, but I've seriously considered it many times since he started talking and talking and talking.

    Hats off to you for your mother's intuition about J…

  10. Dana @ Bungalow'56
    March 25th, 2010 @ 1:47 am

    My crib days are now gone, but I only made it through with the Angel monitor. It would shriek if my baby stopped breathing. Unfortunately it started to happen all the time when the said baby became too old to lie still, and kept moving off the mat. Having more than one definitely helps too. You realize they are made of steel. I laughed at Cybil's comment. I would have to agree with her.

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