Does worrying mean there is a problem?
Some worrying is normal. In fact, worrying can be a necessary part of problem-solving because it alerts and motivates us to take action. But when does worry become excessive, and can it be harmful to you and your baby?
Worrying about everything or classifying all problems as catastrophic indicates your worrying may be out of control. Similarly, worrying about unrealistic or low-probability events such as SIDS can become consuming. Some of this worry can be combated by taking control and doing what you can to prevent accidents—such as putting babies to sleep on their backs in safety-approved cribs, in the SIDS example. Once this is done, however, you should strive to let these fears go.
- Worrying about past events rather than trying to solve current problems can be problematic. The past cannot be changed; try to focus on the here and now.
- Sometimes worrying becomes the end rather than the means to an end. This is superstitious worry—when a parent thinks he or she must worry about the child or that not worrying tempts fate.
- Vacillatory worrying—when parents are unable to make a decision unless they are positive they're making the right one—may pose problems for parents. An example of this type of worry is a mother who can't decide whether to get her infant daughter immunized against influenza. The doctor advises immunization, but the mother is troubled by statistics showing a small percentage of infants becoming ill from the shots. While the mother looks for more conclusive evidence, her physician runs out of vaccine. In the end, a decision is made for the mother—before she can make the right choice on her own.