Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dealing With Worry

There are a lot of things parents don't consider when they make the decision to have a baby.  I didn't think very far ahead because I was so fixated on having an adorable little infant.  Multiple friends have asked me, "Why didn't you tell me how hard it was?"  I said, "I did.  You just don't understand how hard it is until you have one."
After a rather traumatic labor and delivery with my first son, we found out he had an unknown infection and would have to stay in the NICU for a week.  I remember thinking, "I can't wait until this is over so I don't have to worry anymore.  Oh, but then I'll worry about SIDS.  Once he's a year, then I won't have to worry."
Then it hit me hard.  "I am going to worry every day for the rest of my life!"
It seems kind of obvious, doesn't it?  Yet somehow it didn't even occur to me during my nine months of pregnancy.  I felt like there would be nothing but relief after he was born, but since the day we brought our son home, I managed to worry about an endless list of things.
With each new stage, there is a new worry.  My son just started middle school and rather than worrying so much about his physical safety (choking, falling, illness, etc.), I am more worried about his spiritual and mental safety.  What will he be exposed to?  What if a girl with different values takes an interest in him?  Will juggling so many classes become more stress than he can handle?  Will he be bullied?
I believe a certain amount of worry is healthy, but too much will just torment you.  I have learned that the following are the most helpful in helping me combat excessive worrying:
1.  Prayer
2.  Realizing I can only do my best and I have to face that unpleasant things happen
3.  Remembering that I went through very difficult experiences and came out OK
4.  Talking to friends who understand how I feel
5.  Humor.  A good laugh helps me put things into perspective.
What are your thoughts on worrying?

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