I distinctly remember the fear I had when I brought my son home from the hospital. He was my first born child and I couldn't believe the nurses were just going to let us walk out with this tiny human being. Although I wouldn't admit it out loud, I wasn't fully confident that I had the tools to take care of a new baby. All the other moms I knew told me that my instincts would take over and I would know everything he needed just by the different ways he cried. Deep down, I believed that might be true, but it wasn't happening yet. He cried, I guessed. He wouldn't burp, I couldn't find the right way to get him to do it. He cried, I guessed, then I cried too.
My mother-in-law told me that the baby would learn to roll over when I least expect it and that he'd likely fall at some point, either off of the bed or the changing table and that it wouldn't be the end of world. I was horrified and thought there's no way I'd let that happen. She had raised four children, but clearly she had to be crazy.
I operated from a terrified perspective, where I thought everything could potentially cause him harm. I didn't shower unless someone was home to watch him or I'd bring his car seat into the bathroom with me. I stared at him constantly to make sure he was breathing. I didn't want anyone to hold him because they weren't doing it right, I mean his head could fall off right? I didn't want anyone else to give him a bottle because he could be asphyxiated. And the mere thought of someone bringing a TODDLER to my house who would touch my baby, gave me hives. I just knew they would transmit some horrid disease to my son and it would be my fault. Thankfully, I never said any of this out loud to anyone...logically my mind told me that none of this would happen (and I'd no longer have any friends to speak of, I imagine). So I just smiled and I let all of the people who love him, come over and love him. And I realized...he won't break. Babies are strong, pliable, malleable. They should be held by different people and the occasional snotty nose toddler's germs will make your baby's immune system stronger. I learned that besides mom and dad, babies love to look at other children and the occasional poke or rough pat on the head from a heavy handed toddler will not kill the baby.
And by the way, as my mother-in-law predicted, the day did arrive when I had my son's bouncy seat on a coffee table while I was sitting on the floor feeding him and I turned for a second...(4 months in and I thought I had this thing down). He flipped the whole seat over on to the floor. Chaos ensued. Not really, he was fine but I freaked out. While I still feel guilty to this day about it, I realized that we would be okay. He won't break.