There’s a lot of firsts you look forward to as a parent. Colds are not one of them.
Tavish has been sick all week and naturally we now have colds of our own. It’s one thing when you’re free to take all the drugs you want, bundle up in blankets and binge on Netflix until you feel human again. It’s quite another when you’ve got a nursing baby to worry about who doesn’t understand the glory of unlimited streaming or antihistamines.
Admittedly, I’ve been over-paranoid about a lot of things when it comes to my son, but him getting sick was something I dreaded. Never in my life have I taken a cold so seriously. While knowing that it’s just congestion and a cough, I’ve been obsessively taken his temperature and suctioning great gobs of snot out of his nose every few hours. I couldn’t just kill it with drugs, I was actively responsible for carrying him through it all while making sure I took care of my own illness. I quickly made friends with our humidifier, thermometer and aspirator.
For the first time after two months of 12 hour nights, his sleep schedule shattered. Gone were the days of waking up after the sun rose. Four a.m. rudely became my new wakeup time. And oh, the nerves… I’ve been running into his room every few hours to reassure myself he was still breathing through his stuffy, snorting breaths. The other night, I even slept on the floor beside his crib to hear everything without losing those precious seconds to run across the hall.
Fortunately, I’ve been reassured by a lovely friend of mine that this fear is completely normal for a new mom.
When I did get a moment to lie down and try to get back to sleep, the questions festered. Should I leave him alone? How would I know when to take him to the hospital? What if our at-home diagnosis underestimated how serious it was? Would he be able to feed with a stuffy nose? The list went on. It was only when I was in the moment of caring for him that it became clear that this was just another one of those things.
I think the trick, as hard as it may be, is not to let yourself overthink. The things I worried about were never as bad as my imagination led me to believe. His gummy smile and a decongested sigh made that clear. I felt proud and all-knowing and ready to face the next illness…well, almost.
Maybe this is just how parenting works – just a series of problems we need to solve and become all the wiser as a result.