Now that I'm a mother of two I like to think that I am quietly confident in all things that my kids throw at me (not literally thank god), but I remember when I was pregnant with my first, and for those first few months of his life, I felt as though I was in constant panic mode.
Was I doing it right? Was he allowed to eat this? When will he walk? When will he talk? Would my haphazard parenting scar him for life and ultimately cause him the grow up as serial killer? Y'know, the normal things.
Here are 10 things that freaked me out the most as a new mum:
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1. The Soft Spot You know what I'm talking about. That weird "breathing" spot at the top of your kids head that you are told NEVER to touch, otherwise your child may well explode. Obviously now I know what they meant was to not press/prod/push on that area, but my 21 year old self was new to the baby game and literally avoided the entire top half of my son's head until I was assured that everything was 'knitted' together so to speak.
2. Bath Time I think this might be an odd one and partly down to the fact that my first born seemed very small and fragile when he entered the world. I watched in the hospital as a few other mums learnt the "proper" way to bathe their new babies, advising the midwife that I would rather have his first bath at home. Truth is, I was terrified!
3. The Cord "Stump" Another thing that I overthought as a parent and freaked out about when it really wasn't a big deal. When babies are born, parents are simply told to leave the cord alone and not to get it wet, (another thing I took way too literally!) In the end, this really was the best advice, however it still didn't stop me cringing every time we had a nappy change.
4. Lack of Sleep Ahhh sleep, the bane of any new mums life. That thing that is so close but yet so far. In all honesty, when I was preggers for the first time I actually didn't realise just how hard night time would be from then on. I've always been fine without loads of sleep so surely this would just be the same, right? Wrong. And even when your little one is old enough that they're sleeping through, you still end up checking on them because you worry about why they haven't disturbed you yet! Utter madness.
5. Immunisations Injections. A vital part of childhood but definitely not a nice thing to watch. And usually the first one drops long after dad is back at work so yet again it's up to mum to take one for the team. Seriously though, watching your child in pain, even if it is for their own good, has to be one of the toughest parts of the baby years.
6. Going Back to Work So you spend 6-9 months moaning about being alone and needing "adult conversation", only to have a full on meltdown when it comes to heading back to work after your maternity leave. I sobbed all the way to the office after dropping my little one off with his childminder for the first time. I think I called her around 5 times throughout the day, text her twice and worried pretty much for the whole 8 hour duration.
7. The Choking Fear This is a fear that I still have to this day and one of the only things I still panic about with my second son. And no matter how clued up I am with health and safety, round foods and little mouths still freak me the hell out.
8. Poo All Up the Back Now this is something that is rarely mentioned in antenatal classes, baby books, parenting shows, but that first time you go to change your baby's bum and realise that poo has somehow travelled all the way to their neck should be a right of passage....and of panic. Any parent that manages to get themselves out of that "shit"uation (like what I did there) without getting covered in the stuff deserves a pat on the back, because trust me, that's all you'll get off dad as he hides in the kitchen.
9. Accidents It's inevitable, once little ones are big enough to move independently you're guaranteed to be hit with an onslaught of bumped heads, grazed knees, cut lips and a general array of accidents...and cue the freakouts. When do you need to go to A&E? Should you let them sleep? Do they need a plaster? Gee, parenthood is fun isn't it?!
10. Temperatures and Sickness Any parent hates it when their little ones are poorly. All you want to do is switch places with them, and to me, high temperatures are the worst. Especially when Panadol doesn't seem to be doing the trick. My tip? Invest in a good thermometer because 9 times out of 10, it's not as high as you think and your freak out may well be for nothing.