Pregnancy

It’s Normal To Worry That Something Will Be ‘Wrong’ With Your Baby’s Health

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Of everything facing expecting parents, worries about the baby’s health take top billing. It is easy to understand why. We love our children more than anything in the world. The thought of something being wrong with your baby’s health is basically a nightmare. Of course, odds are good that your baby will be healthy but that doesn’t stop those scary thoughts from happening. And it is completely normal to have them.

A recent Reddit thread got me thinking about this subject. While I don’t enjoy the wording of this Redditor’s question, I do understand what he’s saying:

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Again, his wording is not the greatest. I hate that he says “stuck taking care of it”. That’s obviously a horrible way to say what’s on his mind. Overall though, I get the basic gist of what he’s saying and I think many parents have this train of thought when expecting a new baby. While pregnant, we all try to imagine what it will be like to add another person to the family and it’s daunting no matter what. Combining that with concerns about your baby’s health, mental and physical, can be panic-inducing.

For my own part, I always knew we would love our children no matter what. These thoughts are not a question of love. It’s about a worry that maybe you won’t be able to provide everything your baby would need if they have a difficult diagnosis. It’s thinking of any older siblings they have and how their lives would undoubtedly change. Whether you’d be able to continue working if your child needs round-the-clock care a daycare couldn’t provide. It can be easy to work yourself up about all the “what ifs”.

When I was briefly pregnant last fall, I worried the entire time that we were tempting fate by having another baby. Our first two kids were healthy physically and my pregnancies were pretty uneventful. Everything an expecting parent would hope for, really. When it became evident that something was not right with my third pregnancy, my mind began to spin. Besides the worry that I was miscarrying, I was concerned that the baby was developing slowly because of something being wrong. All I could picture was trying to spread my attention to my existing kids and also, to pour all my heart and devotion into a sick child who would need me. Besides that, I worried intensely that we would have a baby we would need to say goodbye to shortly after birth. I thought of every awful possibility. It was probably the most anxious two months of my life.

When the pregnancy ended in miscarriage, I realized that we had to be done. What for some people might be garden-variety fretting was for me, a huge anxiety trigger. I knew I should not become pregnant again because I was that crippled by worry of what could go wrong. That is an example of a not normal level of worrying. For most parents, imagining what would happen if something were wrong with their baby is just part of the deal and it’s to be expected. It goes without saying that we would all love our baby, healthy or not, but it doesn’t mean that parents aren’t going to worry to the ends of the Earth about every possibility. It’s part of being a parent — possibly, the hardest part.

(Image: GettyImages)

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