Thankfully we haven’t had some terrible emergency involving Andrew since he was born, but there was a still a time when I was constantly terrified. Believe it or not the scariest moments of my life as a new mom was when I was released from the hospital after giving birth.
While I was still in the hospital there were several times I called the nurses in because I was freaking out about something. For example, Andrew was sneezing a lot and I was worried he was already getting sick. They assured me that he was fine and sneezing is just a way for babies to clear out their nasal passages. Then I was on the verge of a meltdown because Andrew wouldn’t stop crying and I had no idea why. After talking with a nurse for a while we decided giving him a pacifier was the best option, and of course it worked immediately.
Having a team of nurses able to help at any moment put my mind at ease. I had almost no experience with babies except for my niece, and I didn’t even get to see her that often when she was a baby. My nurses have not only been trained to handle so many different situations, they also had years of hands-on experience. They always seemed to know just what to say to keep me calm, and that is no easy feat.
I tried to ask any question I could think of during my hospital stay, but of course there was no way I would think of everything. I could feel my anxiety growing as it got closer and closer to my time to be released. By the time I was signing the discharge paperwork my hands were shaking. The one thought that kept running through my head as I walked to the car was, “Are you all seriously trusting me with this baby? I’m just winging it here.”
Despite the fact that I was surrounded by friends and family for another couple weeks that were very helpful with Andrew, I was still terrified. I had multiple meltdowns when it was just Andrew and me. The first sleepless night for Andrew had Anthony and me about to pull out our own hair. Andrew was crying for hours, and nothing we tried worked. I felt like a terrible mother and ended up crying right along with him. (It turned out that he just had a very bad case of gas that night.)
I wasn’t prepared for an infant to be the scariest thing I have ever had to face. I just thought about how cute babies are, all the diapers I would have to change, and how exciting it will be to watch my child grow. I knew there would be times when Andrew would cry for long periods of time, but I didn’t realize how much it would hurt me emotionally if I couldn’t soothe him right away.
Even though I knew not every child is the same, I didn’t realize a lot of my parenting would involve guessing. I have to guess why he’s crying. I have to guess how much formula he is hungry for and still able to keep down. I have to guess how to get him to go to sleep because he fights it constantly. Guessing means you don’t know something, and not knowing something when it comes to your child is terrifying.
Now that I am past being scared of my son, I figured it was time to tell people about it. If you are or have ever been scared of your newborn, just know that you aren’t alone. It’s okay to be afraid. What matters is that you are willing to face those fears for the sake of your child. It will be tough, but if you surround yourself with people who love and support you, it won’t be so bad.