I think all of those pregnancy hormones bring with them a dose of worry-wort-itis. Especially the first time around, I spent the better part of my third trimester and the first few months with my newborn agonizing over every tiny decision. Having spaced out my children (they are 5 years apart), by the time boy #2 came along, I was far more laid back. Why? Because I learned that worrying gets you nowhere, and enjoying those baby bundles is a lot more fun when you're relaxed.
So what kept me up at night (besides my hungry infant)? Here goes...
Freaking out over everything being ready, assembled, washed, and sterilized for when baby arrives.
I'm Type A to begin with, but nesting is the real deal! You'll find yourself trying to create a perfect home in the weeks leading up to the arrival, but guess what? Your baby only truly needs you, a few onesies, stretchy PJs, and receiving blankets, somewhere safe to sleep (my kids went straight to the crib after a couple of weeks in the bassinet), food, and of course, lots of diapers and wipes. Do what you can, but if you don't get around to painting a mural in the nursery, your baby won't know the difference.
A slight change in baby's schedule.
I can remember keeping a dry erase board on the refrigerator listing how many diapers a day my son went through, feeding times and how much he ate, nap times and duration, etc. Don't get me wrong. It's smart to stay on top of these matters. Just try not to over-think things too much. Sometimes babies are sleepier or hungrier than normal – just like us! And just when you get the hang of things, up pops a new developmental milestone that'll shake up your routine anyway, hence why winging it is not always a bad thing.
Not bonding with the baby.
Why isn't the baby smiling at me yet? Why does he calm down when his daddy picks him up, but cry when I do? Why aren't I feeling as blissful as the moms on those baby lotion commercials? The truth is, not every newborn moment is magical, especially when you're not feeling your best. But the bond is there, and has been since your baby starting growing inside you. If you don't believe me, just wait until separation anxiety kicks in at about 8 months!
I can go on and on, but the truth is, you're going to worry anyway. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a whole new set of worries now, like sending my oldest son on a school trip without me. But sometimes, taking a step back – and a deep breath – helps me realize that kids are resilient, and things have a way of working out. At least that's what I try to tell myself.
Dawn Papandrea is a freelance writer specializing in parenting, women's lifestyle, and personal finance. Her work has appeared in Family Circle, Parents, WomansDay.com, and more. She lives in Staten Island, NY with her husband, two fast-growing boys, and a living room full of toys.