I don’t know how to burp a newborn. This thought occurred to me one morning at 4:30 AM when I was getting back into bed after what seemed like my fifteenth trip to the bathroom. Not only do I not know how to burp a newborn, but I don’t think I have ever seen it done. Do I burp my son after every feeding or just when he seems gassy? If it is the latter, how will I know? And on and on, which is how I eventually found myself wide-awake Googling how to’s and how to tell if’s.
The scenario above has happened on more than one occasion over the last thirty-one weeks. I wake up unexpectedly and have some random thought about something I don’t know regarding babies and parenting and find myself in a deep Google research hole in the wee hours of the morning while my husband Bernard soundly sleeps next to me. I sometimes find myself glaring at him while he snores, why isn’t he being kept by these same thoughts? He is just as inexperienced as I am in this department. Moments like this display the vast differences between Bernard and me. Bernard does not stress or get worked up about things. What he doesn’t know he figures out and not in the panic-stricken way that I do, but in a calm, cool, and collected fashion. He balances me out, and it is something I am entirely grateful for especially in times like this.
I began a book the other day, part of my Mama-to-be reading list I created for myself. The book is titled, “Bringing up BéBé – One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting” by Pamela Druckerman. A quick synopsis, the author is an American woman who is raising her child in Paris and realized the vast differences between American parenting and French parenting and the results they have on the way a child grows. It is fascinating, and I highly recommend it.
Early on in the book, Druckerman takes note of how oppositely French women approach getting pregnant and becoming a mom compared to American women. American women pour over books and take in as much information as they can in an attempt to prepare for what is to come. Parisian women though they do care and worry they choose to approach parenting more calmly and with more confidence relying much more on what they feel. They believe this route is more sensible than relying on the knowledge consumed by multiple sources all spouting different best ways to handle all the unpredictable situations that arise during pregnancy and parenthood. Parisians believe pregnancy is a time where you should be happy not consumed with worry.
I am your classic American women, for the last thirty-one weeks I have consumed every piece of literature I could get my hands on, you would think I was cramming for a test. It’s because I do not feel confident and when I don’t feel sure of myself I read, I learn, I study, I question, and I search for the answers so that I do know. But I had a revelation recently; no one is expecting me to know everything there is to know about parenting and taking care of a newborn, it is my first child after all. The pressure I was putting on myself was because of some self-conscious thought I had that when my son is born others will judge me if I don’t know this information; like in some way, it will reflect poorly on me if I don’t know exactly what to do the first time my son cries.
Then I had a sobering epiphany, which I am thrilled I have had now instead of years from now when I am reflecting on my life. There is no such thing as a perfect mom or a perfect parent for that matter. When I acknowledged that I would not be perfect and I will do the best I can but will most likely make mistakes, I immediately felt like the burden of guilt was lifted from my shoulders.
I made a decision right then and there to stop worrying. Quite honestly, I am sick of worrying. Worrying causes anxiousness, stress, it keeps you up, causes conflict with others, and all around can be detrimental to your health. I also recognized that in the past all my worrying often was for nothing. Everything always worked out, and if something didn’t go exactly as it was supposed to, I dealt with it.
So that is my current mindset, stop worrying, what will be will be, and I’ll face whatever challenges and obstacles that are ahead as they come, because as much as I can prepare, I cannot predict everything and trying to do so will only make me anxious. For the next nine weeks, I’m going to masquerade as a Parisian, no worrying, just happiness, and enjoyment.