Thank you for understanding

Dear Parents, Friends of Parents, Siblings, Friends, Colleagues, Baby Sitters and Well-Meaning Folks who are just passing by:

I know that you managed to raise 2-3 healthy children, despite doing whatever it is that I am uncomfortable with you doing with Mo.  I know that I am over protective, bossy, and overly worried.  I am fully aware how annoying it is that I am not more relaxed.  I recognize that the sleep guidelines keep changing and that in your experience, "they all grow up".  I DO know all of these things.  I really, really do.  

But, you see, my baby didn't grow up.  What I may have done wrong will haunt me forever and so I am not going to make any mistakes this time.  I will put my baby down to sleep with nothing in the crib other than him.  I will be extra careful about things that hang near his face.  I will probably be giving him pureed foods for much longer than you gave your child.  I will watch him on a baby monitor when he naps and try to make sure that he is in a well ventilated room.  I will remind you over and over to do things that you already know to do.  I will do my best to make it obvious in a nice way that I would rather you didn't XYZ (whatever you are doing) but then I might not be so polite when you aren't getting the hint.  I will annoy the hell out of you.

I am sorry.  I apologize in advanced for being bossy, for seeming tense, for worrying too much.  I was sure everyone would understand but it is clear that they do not.  When I was pregnant, I even warned everyone, "I will be putting this baby's safety first and will have to just be blunt about what work and doesn't work for me".  I really did try to prepare everyone.  I really did.

The truth is that I would rather hurt your feelings and endure a few eye rolls in order to feel comfortable about my baby's safety.  I regret very much not being firmer about these things when it came to my precious one who is no longer here.  

I'd like to think that I will feel calmer in 7 weeks, when my baby is 9 months and 3 weeks old....but, I really don't know if I will....I don't know if I will ever feel as calm as I once did.  It just is what it is.  I didn't ask for it to be this way.

I know you just love him and you only ever mean well.
Thank you so much for your patience with me.  


This is me in my crib when I was a baby.
Times have certainly changed.


Rose said...

I love the picture of baby Abs!
I don't think you have to apologize to anyone for being very protective, or for liking things done ONLY the way you want them done. I have a few pushy relatives myself-- as you know-- and when Silas was first born, I wrung my hands endlessly about the "advice"-- sounding more like commands, admonishments, criticisms, etc. I tend to be a worrier, a pleaser and a person who likes to do things by the book whenever possible.
This is a bit different, but related: I remember the day perfectly when an elementary school aged boy, who we met at the playground, took Silas who was maybe 16 months or so, down the big slide without my permission. Silas wasn't crying, but I didn't like the way the kid was holding him. It seemed a little too rough. I was watching this kid relate with Silas and thinking: don't be a mean, weird, overprotective Mom, they are just playing, other moms would think this was socializing, on and on...Then it just clicked, maybe other parents wouldn't mind this, but I do. He's my boy and I don't like that kid. What other parents think and do or would do or have done-- if I worry about that stuff, I am taking away from hearing what my own gut is telling me and responding to the situation decisively and respectfully. After that experience I viewed parenting "advice" differently too.
It's true that, in many situations with relatives and friends, I handle it, by saying: "I know I'm being nutty, but humor me." When what I really mean is: "Do it the way I say to do it." But it gets my point across, without my having to explain my mothering decisions, which are mine to make anyway.
You are an amazing Mom, and being extra extra careful and protective now is your love in action.

Tiffany Torres said...

i understand. our baby girl is almost 15 months and still sleeps with a monitor. i have tried a few times to go without the monitor, but the fear takes over. it tears me apart to think of all of the what-ifs. and like you, they haunt me every day. i wish things had been different for both of us. i wish we were those well-meaning, opinionated people that we now write about that are so blissfully ignorant.