I was freshly twenty-one when I was discharged from the hospital with an ooey-gooey lump of baby. I weighed approximately that of a VW Beetle, couldn't walk more than three feet without weeping from pain, and I was terrified.
I'd never had a younger brother or sister - hadn't even babysat a child younger than eight. I had no idea what to do with this baby who screamed like he was possessed. Well, I did know what to do, but it involved a lot of unproductive weeping (on both of our ends).
Simply stated, I couldn't believe the hospital let me leave with a baby. I shouldn't have been tasked with caring for a fish. But here I was, with a brand-new baby who ate and pooped and didn't sleep.
One night, he spiked a fever. Not a particularly high one, but enough of one that I was worried. My cure for a fever was either more cowbell or more vodka, and neither of those seemed to be good options for a new baby. It was well past midnight and I knew my doctor would be home and (presumably) snuggled tightly in his bed. So, I called the emergency room. It seems a little silly, looking back, but I had no idea what to do with a feverish baby.
Thankfully, the ER nurse was very gracious. "Give him a dose of Tylenol and if that doesn't drop the fever down, you can call your doctor in the morning."
Okay, I thought. Simple enough.
So I did, and the fever dropped.
It was then that I picked up the parenting book I'd been gifted by my father: the infamous book about parenting by Dr. Spock.
I've used that book since then, every couple of months since my kids have had different ailments or behavioral issues, but the one thing that I remember, and what struck me most that feverish night was this, from the opening page.
"Trust yourself, you know more than you think you do."
And you know what? It turns out that I did.
That baby is now a burly ten year old, his brother nearly five and his sister about to turn three. All of them are healthy, well-adjusted, and happy children.
It turns out that I DID know more than I thought I did. I just needed someone to tell me so.
So that is what I will tell you: trust yourself, you know more than you think you do.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Million Moms Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs November 14 to December 18, 2011. A random winner will be announced by December 20, 2011.