when there’s a bump in the road: motherhood and fear.

June 26, 2012, Michaela Evanow, 23 Comments

Mothers have worries, mothers have fears. They carry a child in their womb for months and months, often wondering, worrying, praying, hoping everything is okay. At some point the worry flees and the mother is left with feelings of joy. This can occur at the 20 week ultrasound, or once the baby is born, healthy, looking well; after weigh ins, once baby is growing on track; after wet and soiled diapers those first few precious days. And then, at some point, a mother just has to let go of her worry, let go of her fear. She may turn to God (which is what I strive to do), or she may run it off, sleep it off, and finally, let it go.

The worst thing a mother can do is Google it.

I often think about what mothers did before the internet. Before baby drop ins. Before Baby Center and What to Expect and everything in between. I hear so many stories about babies thriving after having a rough start. “My son didn’t do tummy time ever, he hated it, and he never lifted his head until 6 months!” “My little one never crawled, she skipped that step, which scared me to death, but instead just started walking.” “My baby only breastfed for 5 minutes at a time.” “I gave my baby whiskey on his pacifier!” “My kid sleeps on his tummy!” And so on, and so forth.

For me, at first it was the color of her poop, and then the midwife worried about her leg tremors (which were normal), and then it was something else I’m sure, but can’t remember.

Recently, a little bump in the not so smooth road of infant hood got me shaking in my boots again. Florence was seen by the paediatrician, and in Canada, that happens only with a referral from the doctor. So we went to see her, and she said that Florence looks to be hypotonic or have low muscle tone. At 3 months and 3 weeks, she doesn’t do well on tummy time and can’t lift her head much. She can’t bear weight on her legs yet and seems to have low knee reflexes (which is just the paediatricians opinion and she wasn’t even sure because Flo’s knees are so chunky).

I’ll be honest, I have a deep seated fear of hospitals. I entered one once when I was 16, and emerged a week later with rods screwed to my spine. Needless to say, it scarred me in more ways than one. And now that I finally have a little girl of my own, I’m seeing those old demons rear their ugly heads. After Flo’s appointment, I cried my face off, fuelling my tears with irrational fears. It’s pretty easy to get worked up, to over analyze, to put your baby into a “milestone box.”

But, that is not the kind of mother I want to be. One rooted in fear, in online diagnosing, in negativity. I don’t want to encroach on my daughter’s tiny world with a glass half empty approach. I don’t want to bring rainclouds and gray skies. I want to radiate peace and potential and forget when she reaches all her milestones, because really, who cares? I want to trust someone greater than myself  (and for me that’s Jesus).

I’ve taken a step back, stopped my obsessive Googling, and taken some deep breaths. I’ve prayed a lot and held Florence a lot, and deep down inside, I’ve learned to trust. Trust that everything will work out, that Florence will thrive, that my joy won’t evaporate at the first signs of “danger.” As a first time mother, that’s hard. but extremely necessary. Mothers are the glue that bind the family together. Mothers must put their faith in something greater than themselves. We can cloth diaper, avoid chemicals, wear organic, eat organic, and wear our babies until we’re blue in the face, but at the end of the day, we are only human.

This is a good place to be. It means it’s not all on me. It means my head can rest heavily on my pillow in peace.

We’re off to the Children’s hospital in a few days to tackle the mound of tests the paediatrician wants Florence to have. I’m really, truly not worried. She wants to rule out crazy things like Muscular Dystrophy, which is genetic, and it’s obvious we don’t have it in either of our families. She’s just being cautious, and that’s okay.

Children are amazing. They can outlive, outrun, overrule any limits we put on them. And I have faith in God, I have love for my sweet Florence, I have a supportive, easy going, full of faith husband, and I have joy.

23 Comments

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  • Reply Baby Getting Better at Tummy Time - DaddyLibrary.com July 25, 2012 at 6:48 PM

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  • Reply Vangel July 3, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    Hearing your heart is an amazing gift to all of us, Michaela. I pray you always let us into your world and never stop sharing your journey with the world. Your words of life speak deep into the soul of every mother – reminding us who we are designed to be, calling us to a higher place of knowing where our true strength and courage is found. Your boldness is beautiful. Your transparency…oh…I love you, cousin. We are praying for you and Jay and baby Flo. Strength for the journey – and fearless faith for all of you. Believing for good.

  • Reply long weekend discoveries: tummy time, chai and veganism. | July 2, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    […] very encouraging to my mother heart, since we were a bit worried about her strength. Although the paediatrician thinks she’s hypotonic, I don’t know that she will be for long! We go see the neurologist tomorrow, and frankly, I […]

  • Reply Sleeping Should Be Easy July 1, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Best of luck to you. I’m a worry wart so I totally get the Google fear. Hope all goes well!

    • Reply Michaela. July 1, 2012 at 6:09 PM

      Thank you! I’ll keep you posted!

  • Reply Hayley June 28, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    Praying for you and sending warm thoughts. You are a beautiful, strong mama.

    • Reply Michaela. June 29, 2012 at 10:39 AM

      Thanks for the kindness Hayley!

  • Reply The Laundry Lady June 28, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    I know it can be scary when you think something is wrong with your child. My daughter is three and we have already had to have tests for hip dysplasia when she was three months old, which involved an orthopedic specialist and two sets of ultrasounds. Then we had to see a dermatologist who referred us to a pediatric dermatologist because of concerns regrading possible klippel trenaunay weber syndrome. (Googling those pictures was a serious scare. Fortunately the doctor warned us in advance that she probably had a mild case, so not to let pictures we might find on google scare us.) At some point you have to let go and trust God, even when you want to research your brain out, hoping to find a way to “make it work.” I definitely obsess with research, which I’m trying not to do as much. I’m sure everything will work out with Florence. Everyone is very cautious with babies, but the vast majority of the time they are fine. (Though I’m sure if you google it you’ll find plenty of moms who disagree with me 😉

    • Reply Michaela. June 28, 2012 at 3:14 PM

      Ah so nice to hear that Laundry Lady! It’s nice to know you’ve had similar experiences with your little one, and to hear those words of wisdom. It’s true, the medical community is very cautious…for example we are going to see a pediatric neurologist?! Seems crazy since I am sure there is nothing wrong with her brain but it’s ok.

    • Reply Michaela. July 6, 2012 at 4:21 PM

      I wanted to ask you Laundry Lady, how your little one is? What is treatment looking like? Did the hip dysplacia tests come back?

      • Reply The Laundry Lady July 6, 2012 at 6:00 PM

        The hip dysplacia ended up being nothing to be concerned about, but rather over cautiousness of the part of the doctor. After getting two ultrasounds and being examined by a pediatric orthopedist, they concluded that there was nothing wrong with her hips or if there was it resolved itself. We still take her twice a year to see a pediatric dermatologist regarding the cutis marmorata telangiectatica congenita, (previously misdiagnosed as klippel trenaunay weber syndrome) but since she seems to have a purely cosmetic version of the condition, we’ll likely delay treatment until she is much older. It is quite a hassle to deal with seeing the pediatric dermatologist every year, since the doctor is two hours away, but I can live with it for the reassurance that her condition is stable. How did Florence’s battery of tests come back?

  • Reply Liane Evanow June 27, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Mom-in-law
    Sweet Michaela, your faith is growing and will grow daily as a Mom who is being completely relied on and trusted by your precious little Florence. Such a gift and amazing life has been given to you and Jay!!! We will be praying for you and believing the Lord is as always with you and all will be well. Your blog is such a breathe of honesty and insight, that encouragesand brings light….

  • Reply tdblue June 27, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    I know this is a scary time, but you are handling it with such wisdom and grace. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your precious baby girl. You are right: God will see you through, and avoid Google. 🙂

    • Reply Michaela. June 27, 2012 at 9:11 PM

      Thank you tdblue! It’s so nice to be encouraged!

  • Reply gerg's June 27, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    We’re praying for you, Jason, and your precious little bean Florence, Michaela. I love your words, “Children are amazing. They can outlive, outrun, overrule any limits we put on them.”

    • Reply Michaela. June 27, 2012 at 9:45 AM

      Thanks Gergs, it is so true and you’ll soon experience all this too! You’ll be a great mama.

  • Reply Mrs Loquacious June 26, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Every child operates on their own timeline; it’s useless to compare because God has designed every person so thoroughly unique that even identical twins aren’t identical! Though I am a prolific Googler, I am also quite cautious about which information to take seriously and which other information to discard, trying very hard to remember that my baby is not the one I’m reading about.

    Praise God that He has blanketed you with His peace. May it wrap around the three of you, keeping you warm and comforted during these bumps along the journey of parenthood. And thank you for your honesty on here; it is beautiful to read someone who writes so honestly and vulnerably. 🙂

    • Reply Michaela. June 27, 2012 at 9:44 AM

      Thanks Mrs. L. We truly are covered in a cocoon!

  • Reply Bev. Nash (Grandma) June 26, 2012 at 10:13 PM

    This is breakthrough faith and love. Overcoming, because we trust the Lord. No weapon formed against us will prosper! You are doing great and isn’t it empowering to know that perfect love casts our fear and we can do it. Great post and so love your vulnerability in this. You have just declared power over your circumstance and that is what you’ll have. So at peace and knowing that this too shall pass. And yes, forget the stupid googling. When we went through it without that I believe we trusted more and feared less. Love you, Mom

  • Reply Amy June 26, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    Thank you. I needed this today. I too need to stop googling

    • Reply Michaela. June 27, 2012 at 9:42 AM

      Thanks for your honesty Amy. 🙂

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