Tanya is 12-weeks pregnant with her third child. She can’t keep a single thing down before two o’clock in the afternoon. It was the same with her first two pregnancies and while the nausea and vomiting are no better this time, her attitude is greatly improved. "I was so freaked out with the first baby because I was sure something bad would happen to one of us. With the second one, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to take care of my firstborn or that he’d see me vomit. With this one? Eh, it’s nausea. I barf. I’ll get over it."
Jessica’s four-year-old still wets the bed. Sure, she could get all worked up about it and make endless appointments with the pediatrician and a child psychologist. Instead, she says, "He won’t go to college wetting the bed. What’s the big deal? The worst that could happen is he won’t go to sleepovers until he’s older. So what? He’s too young for slumber parties now anyway."
Todd’s six-week-old has a bad case of "screaming." He cries non-stop every day from four in the afternoon until 8:30 at night. Every, single, day. It’s been going on for two weeks and the pediatrician says the baby’s fine. "It’s colic. I told my grandmother about it and she said she knew the cure - a shot of whiskey and a long walk. Just make sure the whiskey goes in Papa’s mouth. Then strap the baby into the back pack and go outside. It always sounds worse when it’s trapped inside."
That’s just plain wisdom for you. Wouldn’t it be great if every new parent was given a nicely wrapped package of wisdom along with their positive pregnancy test? Big boxes of patience, humor and hindsight would help too. Why all this reflection on wisdom? Because of two articles in the New York Times, an email and my daughter in Europe.
The New York Times published an article today about bedwetting. The gist is that it’s probably genetic and kids will grow out of it. Be patient and don’t give them a hard time. The article is laced with anecdotes about little kids who’ve grown up with a lot of shame and guilt when actually, they just had itty-bitty bladders and slept deeply, probably just like their parents did.
The second article was called, "New Health Rule: Quit Worrying About Your Health." Dr. Susan Love has a new book out that makes the case that perfect health is a myth and that most of us are living far more healthful lives than we realize. Stressing about getting the perfect amount of produce, sleep and exercise is counterproductive. Most of us are doing just fine, as long as we’re not living on a steady diet of Orange Crush and Melrose Place.
I got an email from a publicist about new research that says obese women are putting their unborn babies at risk. It kind of sounded like they were doing it intentionally. Geez, as if heavy women didn’t already feel bad enough about their weight, now we have scientific evidence to make them feel even worse. Let’s heap on the guilt, worry and a whole pile of judgment, shall we? Sure, some women are reckless but, take it from someone who’s packed around the same 15-pounds-too-many for ten years, "We’re doing the best we can, most of the time." Yeah, we know, obesity is bad. Try not to be, OK? In a perfect world, perfect women with perfect weight (and probably perfect hair and teeth) would have perfect children. How boring would that be?
Last winter I sent a daughter for a semester abroad. You’d have thought I was putting her on a ship to the New World, never to see her again. Good God, the drama… Last week, I sent another daughter for a semester abroad. Yes, I cried at the airport but since then I’ve emailed, Skyped and seen pictures of her apartment online. What on earth did mothers do before technology? Oh, they were brave and stoic, that’s what. OK, fine, whatever…I’ll Facebook, instead.
What’s my point? Patience, wisdom, experience and common sense are way better parenting tools, right from the start, than worry, stress and anxiety. Every, single, time. Tonya knows she won’t be nauseated forever and her kids won’t be traumatized if they see her barf. Jessica knows her son will grow out of it and this is one control issue she can let go of. And Todd? What a smart man to call his grandma. A shot of whiskey and a walk won’t solve every parenting dilemma and might cause of few of its own but the overarching message is good advice – relax, go outside and give that problem some air. It all turns out all right eventually.
This Fit Pregnancy blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician. Before initiating any exercise program, diet or treatment provided by Fit Pregnancy, you should seek medical advice from your primary caregiver.