My 5-month-old daughter has come down with something. Her nose is gunky, her eyes watery, her little baby cough as heartbreaking as it is cute. It’s devastating. But the worst part? It’s all my fault.
Ok, ok, so it’s only a cold. But when I, as a mother, the person who is supposed to care for and nurture this little defenseless creature, instead spread nasty germs to her that made her sick – well, it just seems downright cruel. I am supposed to protect her, not infect her!
As a new mom, you have this brand new, itty bitty clean slate in front of you to mold into the most perfect being on Earth. It soon becomes the toughest exam you’ve ever taken, but goshdarn it, you’re shooting for 100%. Breastfeeding? Check. Organic, homemade baby food? Check. Safest baby gear on the market? Check. With all of these elements of perfection in a row, you gear up to be the first mom in history to do everything right. Except it’s only a matter of time until the first screw up.
Sure, she’ll get over these sniffles and be good as new in only a few days. But today it’s only the sniffles. Tomorrow, will it be some terrible, unwanted advice? A bad haircut that gets her laughed at on the playground? Or, heaven forbid, something much worse and unthinkable? No matter how hard you try, how much you prepare, you are destined to do something, someday, that will end up hurting your child. Of course it won’t be on purpose, but most of us can probably think of things our parents did that had some negative effect on us. For some of us, it is a minor miracle that we made it through at all. And that all seemed like an easy concept for me to swallow, that is until I had my own child.
Yes, this perfect mother thing had been a pretty easy gig for the first 5 months … until that little baby cough woke her up in the middle of the night, and sounded a lot like her mama’s. So what will I do as a parent that she’ll think I could have done better? Or worse, that will damage her for life? Guess I’ll just have to tackle it one runny nose at a time.