Just like every pregnancy is different, and every baby is different, every family has its own set of experiences and dynamics that is unique. However, there is one thing every parent has in common, that gives them common ground with all other parents. Unfortunately, the commonality is fear, which isn’t anybody’s favorite thing to bond over.
Every parent worries, and some of those fears are reasonable, while others maybe aren’t quite so much. One thing that can help quiet fear is the knowledge that you’re not alone with them. Maybe the mom standing next to you at the playground isn’t as worried as you are about the potential germs lurking in the sandbox, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t wake up at 3 AM yesterday in a cold sweat that she might have left her child’s fingernails too long, and he could be clawing his face in his sleep.
Fears every parent shares
- Is she eating right?
Baby is so small, and so incapable of telling you in words exactly what she needs yet, and so is totally dependent on you for the nutrition she needs to grow. It’s a lot of responsibility, and it makes sense that you’d worry about whether she is getting enough to eat, or too much, or is starting solids too late or too early. It makes sense, but it’s generally unnecessary. As long as she is still growing, and the doctor isn’t worried, you probably don’t need to be either.
- What if she gets hit by falling debris/rolls off the changing table/gets carried off by a bird of prey?
Accidents happen, and there genuinely are a hundred little things that could go wrong every day in life with an infant. Luckily, while it’s true that there are plenty of things that could go wrong, there are two other things that are true: that those things that could go wrong almost certainly don’t, and that babies are pretty robust. That’s no reason not to be careful with Baby, of course, but she may not be quite as helpless as you think.
- What if she is kidnapped/lost?
While it’s always possible, of course, that something dramatic and catastrophic could happen, and it never hurts to be careful about not leaving Baby alone, it is highly, highly, HIGHLY unlikely that anything like this will happen. Still, you’re very much not alone in worrying about it, and it’s probably not a fear that’s going to go away – every news story about abduction or a missing child may make this fear flare up again. The thing to remember, as these things come up, is that they only happen rarely, which is why they make the news at all. There are definitely reasonable precautions to take, but this isn’t a worry that needs to keep you up every night.
- What if she is bullied or has problems socially?
While this isn’t a fear that comes out of nowhere – children do face bullying – Baby is a little young for it to be a huge concern. There are ways to build a foundation for her to have an easier time socially, and to have a robust sense of self in case she does run into trouble, however. Spend time with her, cuddle her, and generally help her develop a strong primary relationship. As she gets older, it’s also important to start to expose her to children around her own age, if you aren’t already.
- What if she doesn’t like me?
There are moments when parenting feels like the non-romantic blind date that never ends, but with more doctors’ visits, diaper changes, and games of peek-a-boo. That feeling is an illusion, though – Baby already loves you, and every moment you spend holding her, feeding her, talking to her and playing with her just makes her love you more, even if it feels like all she does at first is cry through it. Rest assured, you’re Baby’s favorite person, and the way you love her enough to worry about it will only help you to stay that way.