Why do we worry?
When I couldn't breastfeed my newborn, I feared that he wouldn't be healthy. Ironically, my mother stopped breastfeeding me because she was afraid I wasn't getting enough calories. When my son was three months old, I returned to work and worried that my time away would affect our relationship. Conversely, a friend of mine fretted that spending every moment with her daughter would cause them to be too enmeshed. Let's face it. Mothering is all about worrying! But why do we worry, when is it a sign of a greater problem, and how can we alleviate our anxiety?
The transition to parenthood is a major developmental milestone requiring extensive new physical, psychological, and emotional resources. The stakes are high, and many moms-to-be feel ill prepared. A mother's social environment, her culture and upbringing, her unique personality, and her individual coping styles influence how she'll worry—and how much.
Mainstream American culture places high value on individualism and independence, leaving many women to believe they should be natural mothers, and just know how to nurture and care for their babies. Mothers may be concerned about hurting their children if they don't follow recommendations from parenting experts or pediatricians. These worries may be compounded when advice from family, friends, or our own mothering instinct seems to be contradicted by these expert approaches.