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Terrifying Firsts all Moms Experience

Photograph by Twenty20

Motherhood is wonderful, except, you know, all those times when your children scare the daylights out of you.

The First Bad Head Bump

My far, the scariest moment of my life is when I turned around to discover that my toddler had not only learned to scale the tall bed in our hotel room, but also decided to take a swan dive, straight into the tile floor.

I screamed, my heart stopped, and I thought for sure he was dead.

I checked his spine, scooped him up, and immediately called the emergency line for the pediatrician back in the US and he nursed, cried and screamed at the same time. A giant goose egg formed on his head as I took close note to see if he was nauseous, disoriented (how can you tell with a toddler?!) or blacking out. It was bedtime, and according to new research it's ok to let them nap as long as they can be roused.

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So there I sat, crying, Googling, fretting and holding my breath as the icy water from the ice pack dripped down the side of his head and pooled in my lap.

After his nap, he woke up, slightly groggy, and after a snack was back to his old self. We dodged a bullet, but what I learned from the forums is that all little children are not only robust, but generally tend to have a really awesome guarding angel.

The First Time Baby Gets Sick

My mother-in-law has always thought that we should keep the baby indoors for the first year, and of course, we didn't listen. After hiking a glacier at five months old, we noticed that our little man had the sniffles… then a small fever… then a bigger fever… then he was breathing funny. Immediately, I started worrying about suffocation, brain damage and developmental issues, but a quick call to the emergency hotline confirmed that yes, children do get sick, that many breathe irregularly and that I had not permanently damaged my child. They even told me how to take care of it. What a relief!

The First Time You Medicate your Kid

Maybe it's just me, but man! The first time I had to give my kid Tylenol was really frightening. Why? Honestly, I don't know, but the thought of putting anything into my poor baby's body seemed so horribly dangerous. Perhaps I should try to cure it naturally was the thought that kept ringing through my mind. Not to mention my worries about what all that sugar would do to my kid!

Again, I called up my big brother, whose wife had been so determined to keep it natural that they even avoided colic drops because of the sugar inside. His smart advice: "Jen, your kid is sick and miserable. Just give him the Tylenol. He'll feel better, sleep better, and you won't have to worry about that fever getting too high."

Sure, there are things you shouldn't give your kids, like sleep supplements, adult Oragel (which can lead to suffocation), and a lot of natural supplements, but generally speaking, if the pediatrician who spent over a decade in medical school says it's safe, you can take their word for it.

Problem solved!

I'm not going to lie. The first day I dropped my kid off at preschool I did not go home to pitch stories or clean house as I'd sworn. I had a drink.

The First Day at Preschool

I'm not going to lie. The first day I dropped my kid off at preschool I did not go home to pitch stories or clean house as I'd sworn. I had a drink.

While this list is full of terrifying things that moms go through, this is one of the few where we can't be by their side, just in case. But at the end of the day, we can make the decision of who takes care of our kids, which is really the best we can do anyways as our kiddos grow up. I was lucky enough to leave him with a nursery that would send at least one update at naptime, even if it was about the fact that he was sad, but then cheered up. It still breaks my heart to leave him every day, but I'm always reminded by how great it is for him when, on his days off, he grabs his coat and tries to drag me to the car, signing that he wants to go play.

The First "Is That Milk Safe?" Feeding

Ah, breast milk! The source of life, miracles, and terror!

There are endless rules about how to store, freeze and heat breast milk, but as a low supply mama, there eventually came the day where I had to wonder if breaking the rules were ok? I immediately hopped on my computer and asked the amazing moms in the Badass Breastfeeders group, and got a resounding YES, plus lots of anecdotes and rules of thumb that weren't created by scientists in a lab, designed to avoid liability.

And yes, the kid survived!

The First Day Back to Work

While adults often marvel at the amount of texting the average teenager can complete over the course of a day, it pales in comparison to my first day back at work. Did you heat the bottles? Is it too hot? Is he sleeping? Does he seem distressed? Did you wash your hands, but not with antibacterial soap? Did you burp him three times? Did you? Did you? Did you?

Needless to say, my in-laws who were watching him quickly shut off the phone, pretended the battery had died, and spent their time taking great care of my baby instead.

The First Vaccinations

I'm about as far from being an anti-vaxxer as you can get, but when it came time to get my little man immunized, my sweat ran cold and I found myself panicking, wishing I had done just a little bit more research.

RELATED: Doctor's Raise Concerns About Organic Food Pouches

The First Time They Sleep Through

You'd think all new moms would rejoice when their kiddo sleeps through the night, but NO! No matter how tired you are, you will lay in bed, and get up to make sure your kiddo is still sleeping over and over again. After a week of checking and coaching by your significantly annoyed other, you may slowly start sleeping yourself. For me, it took hypnosis, Valerian drops AND a once-nightly checkup, but I'm happy to say that at 18 months postpartum I've almost stopped being paranoid about this!

The First Allergy

Boom! The wheeze, the swelling, the crying, and the utter panic of finding your phone and trying to remember your CPR training while you desperately wait for someone to answer and wonder what's happening behind that swollen eye. In my case, we were lucky, and it was dog hair that had gotten into his eyes.

The First Banana

Ok, so maybe this was just me, but my LO showed an interest in solids very early on, particularly bananas, which he'd seen his dad happily munch away at. We let him have a bite, and the next diaper was filled with these strange little black worm-looking things! I thought for sure he's gotten some parasite, but after a panicked phone call to my big brother (a dad AND a scientist) I found out that's just how bananas look in baby poo. Good to know!

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