It’s Not About the Sunscreen

Virginsbower flowers in Hatley Park, Victoria, British Columbia
Virginsbower flowers in Hatley Park, Victoria, British Columbia (Miranda Hernandez)

I read a blog post a few years back that had gone viral. The author talked about the overwhelming number of precautions showered down on parents today, and how she felt overloaded by information. As an example, she talked about new guidelines that had been issued about sunscreen, and how she felt pressured to throw out the sunscreen she had purchased only recently because it didn’t fit this new information. I understood where the author was coming from; sometimes the minutiae of life is overwhelming, and the sunscreen issue was just the latest thing. But the article itself wasn’t about sunscreen. And that’s where it got derailed, because so many of the readers responded with recommendations on how to fix that one specific thing.

I find a lot of commonality with this mother. I want the best for both of my children, and I’m committed to doing everything possible to keep my daughter safe. I know more now that I can influence in this second pregnancy, and I view my world differently, through a more informed lens.

So it may surprise you to hear that I have a sunscreen issue in my own life. I have a thing I should be doing to ensure a healthy pregnancy, and for some reason, it’s hard for me. I make great progress for a string of days, and then the next day, I forget. Or I don’t put in the effort to get it done. And sometimes, despite knowing I am genuinely doing the best that I can, it haunts me. And no, I’m not going to tell you what that thing is, because the truth is, it doesn’t matter. It’s not about the sunscreen. It’s about the fact that life is sometimes overwhelming.

I am a mother to two beautiful children. One died inside of me; one kicks me right now. I did everything right in my first pregnancy, and I still lost him. I’m doing everything I can now to protect my little girl. And sometimes, “everything I can” includes not doing that one thing, that sunscreen thing, and letting that be okay. And then picking myself up the next day, and trying again. I will always keep trying again.

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