Dear Pre-Baby Me:
I’m just going to cut to the chase here: Google is the Enemy.
I know — you love Google. Google’s your favourite! In fact, back when you worked at that job you hated with the coworkers you adored, said coworkers had a running joke whenever a debate arose in the office. “Google it, Jean!” they’d say. And you’d laugh and laugh. Then you’d Google it, because Google.
This will all change when you have a baby.
Pre-Baby Me, I know this will be hard for you, and I also know you probably won’t even listen to me. But if you can get the Google monkey off your back, it’ll save you a whole lot of stress and anxiety.
But why, you may ask, is Google a problem? It has the answers to everything, right?
Wrong. These are not the answers you want.
Here is a random sampling of things you will Google as a new parent:
- why does baby barf eleventeen hundred times a day (Result: Your baby has horrible reflux and it’s most likely due to something you did. Nice going.)
- why is my baby’s poop [insert colour/texture/whatever here]” (Result: Your breastmilk is toxic and this is definitely your fault. You are poisoning your baby.)
- baby won’t stop crying why (Result: If you were a better parent, you’d know. Too bad you suck.)
- when do babies learn to [insert arbitrary milestone here] (Result: She should definitely have learned that by now. There’s probably something wrong with her.)
- is [x] normal (Result: Nope.)
- am I doing [y] right? (Result: HELL no.)
- alcohol and breastfeeding (Result: Googling ‘alcohol and breastfeeding’ means you are an unfit parent. CPS has been alerted and a social worker is en route to your home to remove your child.)
- baby not sleeping why (Result: You are a terrible mother and also you smell bad.)
- how to stay awake during night feedings (Result: Are you Googling this on your phone while nursing your child? You are, aren’t you? Using your phone within 20 feet of an infant makes you a terrible mother. See above re: CPS.)
- my baby screamed and I may have yelled at her for a second (Result: Your baby has been irreparably damaged. Representatives from your local moms’ group have been informed and will soon descend upon your front lawn with pitchforks and placards.)
- I let my baby cry for ten minutes is it okay (Result: No. Your baby will now suffer from lifelong trust issues and will most likely end up in prison. Good luck living with that — we hope that trip to the bathroom was worth it.)
- why is parenting so hard (Result: It isn’t. You’re just not very good at it. Try harder.)
Pre-Baby Me, I know you want answers. Having a wealth of information at your fingertips, accessible with the mere click of a button, calms you. It makes you feel secure, and it gives you a sense of control. Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer when it comes to parenting — only shades of grey — and the opinions (because, yes, they’re all opinions) you’ll find online will do nothing to quell your nerves. In fact, Googling just about anything parenting-related will have the opposite effect — and let’s face it, you’re neurotic enough as it is.
My advice: Enjoy your freewheeling days of rampant internet searches while you can, and once you get pregnant, start to gradually wean yourself. After the baby comes, Google will become a straight-up paranoid guilt machine, so when you find yourself needing a fix (and, trust me, you will), I want you to take a deep breath and repeat after me:
This is normal. It is okay. I can always ask a doctor or call the nurse line. She will be fine.
And if you must Google, might I suggest the following search term instead:
- Funny cat videos
Your friend and mentor,