I get it. I really do. As soon as that beautiful new baby is placed in your arms, you start worrying like crazy. From changing a diaper the right way to checking to make sure they’re breathing every five minutes. If I wrote down a list of everything I have diagnosed my four sons with over the last nine years, I would be embarrassed. I would also need more than one sheet of paper to have enough space. To name a few: measles, hormone deficiency, a misshapen head, a spine disorder, separation anxiety. And those were all just with my first of four sons. So I get that it seems impossible to stop worrying about your baby.
While some of these concerns did turn out to be valid, most of them did not warrant the worry that went into them. You see, I’m a worrier to a point you might be able to diagnose me with some sort of worry syndrome, myself. Because I like to worry about every little thing with my babies. Or at least I used to until I realized that 9 times out of 10, my worrying did me no good. Because when I worried, I would not just be worried about the moment. I would see ten years into the future and go worst-case scenario. Every. Single. Time.
And if you’re a new mom, I bet you can relate. Worry is real, but it isn’t really necessary about everything. So if you find yourself falling into a pattern of incessant worry, here’s five simple tips to keep yourself grounded and stop worrying.
1. Memorize the Phrase, “Every little thing is NOT a thing!”
While health concerns DO need to be checked out by a doctor, every little thing you see on your baby is not some major issue. So repeat this phrase with me three times, “I will get things checked out, but I will not believe that everything is a thing.” Because only facts warrant worry, not suspicion.
2. Find a Pediatrician You Love and Trust Them
A pediatrician you trust and love is just what the doctor ordered (literally) to ease every new mom’s worries. Because they ARE an expert, they have the ability to look at a red bump and tell you it’s a goosebump instead of confirming your suspicion that your baby has mumps. (This is something I’ve once done.) Their training allows them to know when you need to get something further checked out. So if you don’t feel a connection with your pediatrician, make sure you keep seeking one out until you do.
3. Use Web MD and Google As a Resource NOT an Expert
While Google and WebMD can pull up interesting and perhaps valid articles, the information you pull up may not even be close to accurate for your baby’s condition. So it’s important to use the internet as a way to investigate but not to diagnose. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone into the doctor with a diagnosis only to be told it is something completely different. And significantly less serious.
4. Create Your Experienced Mom Health Tribe
When I begin to have a concern over one of my sons, I have found that asking my close friends if they have experienced something similar with their own child reduces my worry. Because often if I have built something up in my head only to find out that three of my other friends have had children with the same issue, I feel less concerned. When I see something is common, I see that my worry may not be needed. Friends have also helped point me in the right direction as far as asking questions to the doctor. Never underestimate a seasoned mom for helpful input with sickness. But remember, they are not doctors either. So their information should only be used as a reference point.
5. Every Issue is Not Worst-Case Scenario
Just because your child does end up having a health issue does not necessarily mean it is the worst-case scenario. When my children have had something that is not quite right, I worried that the worst would come of it. For instance, one of my sons had an unusually large fontanelle (soft spot). It was still not closed at his 2-year-old well visit. I had many sleepless nights worrying that he might end up needing to wear a protective helmet in grade school to protect his brain. Turns out, by his next well visit, the spot had closed on its own proving to me that worry is often a waste of energy and time.
It is important to note there are times when our children do have serious medical issues. And those are not something to minimize. I believe all moms should always get things checked out before dismissing a concern. But I also know that until the doctor says otherwise (even if that means getting a second opinion), worry is not our friend. And I hope this proves helpful in keeping your worry in check.