Parenting

Why we don’t sweat the big stuff


Anchel shares a secret strategy to deal with the stresses of special needs parenting.

Who would want to miss goofy moments like this? Photo: Dale Mann Photography.

Syona had a complicated beginning, which I promise to share with you in a future post. There were a lot of things that happened when she spent her first two weeks in the hospital. Early on, we knew that her future might not play out exactly as we expected because of a head ultrasound that showed possible brain damage.  

Fast-forward a few weeks, and, shortly after bringing her home, Syona developed a diaper rash. You’d think that I’d be a little stronger after seeing her hooked up to tubes and monitors, fed through a syringe, and those completely unexpected ultrasound results. Instead, I completely lost it …over a diaper rash. I cried and felt like the worst mother ever. My own mother would remind me of the long, and far more complicated trials, we had endured while Syona was in the NICU, and that a little pink bottom was nothing to worry about. After a few weeks and a prescription cream, Syona’s rash healed (and thankfully hasn’t reared it’s ugly head — or bum — since).

I realized something then: There’s no point to sweating the big stuff. (I know, I know: The saying is “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” But I’m taking a different approach.) We don’t have answers to a lot of big questions about what Syona will — and won’t — be able to do, and if we focus on all of that uncertainty, it is easy to get completely overwhelmed and go down a very dark road that doesn’t have an end.

Like you, as a parent I make a choice every day: I can be grateful for everything we have and work toward being the best possible mom I can be. Or, I can let all of the unknowns get to me. That’s not to say I don’t have dark days or overwhelming moments — it goes along with the territory. (And I think that’s something we all have in common.)  

Most of the time I’m a happy mom and nagged by the same worries as a lot of other parents: Dinners left uneaten, naps that are far too short, my tot suffering from the common cold. I don’t spend a lot of time or energy worrying about whether she will walk, or have an intellectual disability. I do spend time concerned with Syona’s weight gain (she’s a teeny, tiny kid), whether we’ve completed her daily physiotherapy routine and ways to incorporate her therapy goals into our day-to-day activities.  

There are a couple of other things that help curtail the massive amount of potential worrying. My husband and I are on the same page. And when we’re not, we talk and talk until we are (seriously, I talk. A lot. Dilip would be happy to verify this statement!) We also give voice to our biggest fears and share them. Saying them out loud makes them a lot less scary. I take breaks and get out of the house, often indulging in a much-needed yoga class or girls’ night out.

If I spent all my time occupied with worry, I’d miss the daily joys that I share with my family. They are the best part of my day. And that’s something I never want to give up.
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What are your biggest worries as a parent? How do you deal with them?