I was your typical worry-filled first-time mom — reading the books, calling the doctors, having internal (and external) debates. Things that were never important before, suddenly became the center of my world — like the color of poop, and my milk supply. And those same things so quickly disappeared from my main focus in life, just as fast as they rose to top priority.
The phases of motherhood — especially in those first months — are consuming, yet fleeting. Before you know it, those major ground-shaking issues (sleep training! teething!) are just tiny blips in your memories. Mere road bumps.
If I could go back in time and have a chat with my frenzied self, here are the 3 things I’d say to go easy on myself for — because the stress wasn’t worth it:
I never wanted my son to have a pacifier in the first place, and I regretted it every single day. Not because the pacifier was causing any immediate problems — in fact, just the opposite; the pacifier was a source of comfort and calm. It was because of what could happen. Ear infections! Dental problems! Breastfeeding interference! The possibility that he’ll never, ever give it up, and be sucking on his pacifier while walking down the aisle!
We were always scurrying around, panicked, when the last pacifier inevitably disappeared RIGHT BEFORE BEDTIME, and we subconsciously worried about the whens and hows of weaning.
If I could go back, I’d tell myself to breathe. Relax. He’ll move on from the pacifier — suddenly, happily — and you’ll even keep them in your sock drawer as a happy memory.
2. Being successful with breastfeeding
Considering I was working full-time at 7 weeks postpartum — forced to pump and store almost his entire milk supply — I was rightfully concerned. Breastfeeding was something I was really committed to do, and I stuck with it for a full 18 months. But those beginning weeks? Whoooo. I didn’t know if I could make it through. But when I pushed past those first six weeks, everything stabilized and simplified — easing my worry. Here’s what I wrote about overcoming my beginning difficulties with breastfeeding.
3. Weaning from breastfeeding
I wasn’t ready to stop nursing at 12 months, even though virtually everyone in my life thought that I should. I loved that bonding time between us, and I wasn’t ready to give up my baby. Not yet. But when I started to have a strong desire to have my body back — somewhere around 15 months — he suddenly wanted to nurse even more. Similarly to the pacifier debacle, I constantly worried about how and when and why to wean. Would this ever end?
It did end.
When he turned 18 months, he sort of lost interest. Before I knew it, he hadn’t nursed in two days, three days, a week? It was over.
And all of that worrying? That didn’t do me any good — except it did teach me to enjoy the little moments and trust that “this too shall pass.” And it shall pass faster than you want it to.