How I Cope With All Of The Terrifying Parenting News Out There

I'm trying not to freak—and sometimes I'm successful.

May 16, 2017
korin miller
Photograph courtesy of Korin Miller

I used to be pretty easygoing—until I had two kids. Now, instead of hanging out with a good book at the beach, I play psycho lifeguard mom. And let's not even talk about how much money I spend so that my oldest son can eat organic strawberries. (I once read that they’re one of the most pesticide-heavy fruits around!) 

I know I’m not alone in my intensity, either. A friend of mine has actually stood by the water at the beach with a small hatchet in her hand while her kids swim in case a shark comes along. And the funny thing is, I totally get it. Granted, I’ve become a little more relaxed since having my second, but a lot of news I’ve read recently is putting my new chill-ish mom vibe in danger. 

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At first, I was totally smug when I heard about a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics released earlier this month that found that a whopping 90 percent of parents put their babies in unsafe sleep situations that increase their risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). I mean, between the hospital, your kid’s pediatrician, and your ob-gyn, it’s repeatedly drilled into you that babies have to sleep on their backs to lower their risk of SIDS. But then I saw that it's also considered super-dangerous to put bumpers and a comforter on your child’s crib—both of which were definitely in my oldest’s crib and may or may not currently be in my newborn’s bed. Oops. 

There was also a study published late last year in JAMA Pediatrics that says that, despite doctors saying for years that acetaminophen is OK to take when you’re pregnant, it’s now being linked to behavioral problems in 7-year-olds born to moms who took the drug. Luckily, I never took acetaminophen when I was pregnant, but I easily could have.

And as if I wasn't already questioning myself enough, my neonatologist (a doctor who specializes in newborns) also recently informed me that “no amount of alcohol is considered safe when you’re breastfeeding.” Oh sh*t. I definitely drank a glass of wine pretty much every night or two while I nursed my oldest son. 

Related: Does This Mom Doing Yoga Over Her Baby's Crib Bother You?

 

Finally, there was the tragic news that a 10-year-old from Kansas was decapitated on a waterslide, and that a faulty seatbelt and low raft weight may have been to blame. Despite being on the small side, my 3-year-old went down a waterslide with my husband a few weeks ago, which I thought was totally safe. 

I know there are two ways to react to this news: freak out or try to be thankful for the fact that my kids seem to be doing alright. 

Am I going to be helicoptering over them when they're near the water until they’re 18? You better believe it. If so much as a rogue sand crab comes near them, it will wish it had never been born. Will I stop buying organic strawberries? Probably not.

But I will try to keep this in mind: There are some not-so-anal people out there who raise kids, and they survive just fine. My mom loves to tell the story of how her ob-gyn told her to drink a glass of wine every night when she was pregnant with me for “stress,” and I turned out OK…I think.

I know I’m going to screw up, but hopefully it’s more on the level of my son going to school some days with his shoes on the wrong feet (I’m still working on that one), and odds are it will be. All any of us can do as parents is to try our best. And maybe take a pass on those crib bumpers—jeez. Who knew?

 

The article How I Cope with All of the Terrifying Parenting News Out There originally appeared on Women’s Health.