I’ve recently been afflicted with a serious condition, and as far as I can tell there is no known cure. I’ve termed this condition The Mommy Bug – I caught The Mommy Bug when I found out I was pregnant. While there were some early symptoms right off the bat, The Mommy Bug manifested itself in full force when I read in What To Expect that I should check our local water for lead content. After some online research that included analyzing the local water website’s annual report I learned that I didn’t really need to be concerned about lead in our local water, but I should be concerned about questionable levels of arsenic! I began panicking about what I could possibly do to ensure my unborn child does not receive arsenic poisoning or cancer or some other ailment from in-utero exposure to the apparently lethal Tucson water! After even more online research I called J at work to notify him that we would be purchasing a very expensive water filtration system as this was the only way to protect our innocent babe from the danger coursing through our faucets.
As I began to express the deep level of worry I had been developing about things like the menacing tap water (and some other, slightly more rational, concerns) the response I most often heard was “Welcome to parenthood”.
Now that baby has made his journey out of my uterus and into the world and has a name and personality and the cutest who-nose you’ve ever seen, The Mommy Bug has become even more symptomatic. While my concerns about our water content have diminished, so many other things to worry about keep presenting themselves and The Mommy Bug just won’t let me ignore them! SIDS, autism, infection, am I under-stimulating him?, am I over-stimulating him?, is he happy, because he doesn’t really seem happy?, is he eating enough? is he sleeping too much? what if his blood sugar is so low that he cannot wake up to tell us he’s hungry? does he like us? For weeks I took Barking Baby’s temperature every other day, worried that his umbilical cord, and then his circumcision, and then his eye, were infected (the eye actually had a clogged duct which developed a secondary infection, so 1 point for The Mommy Bug there, although he never actually had a temperature from that infection). The Mommy Bug caused me to call the pediatrician (after having 3 visits in the first 16 days of BB’s life) to ask if he thought BB was sleeping too much at night, which I’m sure gave Dr. Bean a big hardy-har-har (He told me to count my blessings). Turns out there is a condition similar to The Mommy Bug, however The Daddy Bug seems to be a much milder strain of The Mommy Bug, with significantly less severe symptoms, as The Daddy Bug allows one to remember that a 2-week old may not seem particularly happy all the time, and that new parents generally want their babies to sleep at night. All-in-all, I’m accepting that The Mommy Bug is a condition I will have to live with for the rest of my life, and I’m learning that its symptoms can become manageable even if they will never fully resolve. Evidence: I actually can’t remember the last time I took BB’s temperature. As a health care professional, I’d call that healing.