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Overcoming Doubt

by | Oct 19, 2021 | Musings

Someone in a group I’m part of asked us to share a time when we overcame doubts. So.

When I was a new parent, I was a little scared that the hospital actually let me take the baby home. I felt like grabbing someone on staff there by the collar, looking right into their eyes, and being like, “Dude, why are you letting *me* take care of this tiny, helpless person, who clearly needs a lot of assistance?! What are you thinking? You don’t know me!”

But we took the baby home, and we managed to keep him alive, though he was a preemie and that was a little dicey for a while. 

One of the things that helped the most was reading or hearing from other people who’d faced similar challenges with parenting, and had come through them okay. If someone else had managed this, maybe we could too. Maybe we would be all right.

I had a hard time getting him to nurse, for instance. I was so exhausted I thought I was going to die of being tired, so my thinking was not at its most sparkly clear, I was worried I’d messed up bad, I was worried that maybe he just didn’t like me. I thought I’d have at least a decade and a half before needing to worry that he didn’t like me.

So I Googled my questions. First off, no, I could not die of tired unless it was a much more extreme situation. Second, when I asked whether or not the nursing problem was because the baby didn’t like me, I didn’t just find parenting advice columns, but governments weighing in to say that this was a very common problem that I shouldn’t be concerned about.

Apparently, this is such a common worry among new moms, that there were very prominent pages on, as I recall, US, UK, Canadian, and Australian government health websites assuring new parents that nursing problems had nothing at all to do with how the baby felt about their mom. So many women had struggled with this, it was a top-tier, national health authority priority to respond to.

And just like that, although I was still exhausted, and a bit vexed about the feeding issue, I felt better. A huge worry had been lifted. 

Other people got through it, and everyone understood. It was okay.

Sometimes it helps a lot to know that other people have been where you are, and they made it to the other side.