My Top 10 fears about becoming a mother
You're constantly told that "becoming a mother" will be the best thing to ever happen to you. But it also comes with a huge sense of fear.
I've decided to open up and tell you all about the the worries that plagued me when I was pregnant. Please don't judge me.
1. Will having a baby change my relationship with my husband? Patrick and I have always got on so well and know how to have fun. I was petrified that a baby was going to disrupt this. People tell you that "everything changes" once a baby comes along and this sent a sense of dread through me. I didn't want my relationship with Patrick to change. I liked it how it was. And, my biggest fear? What if the change wasn't good and tore us apart?
2. What If I decide not to breastfeed? Will I be judged? I promised myself I would make a decision about how I was going to feed my baby once he had arrived. I told enquiring friends that I would "give breastfeeding a, go but wouldn't stress about it if it didn't work." Secretly though, I was petrified. Everything I read screamed "breastfeeding is best" and this bought with it a fear that I was already a bad mum, because I was "considering" not doing it.
3. Will I ever look like "me" again? I hate to say it but my vanity was a huge fear. How would my body change and how would I feel about this change? I'd heard about the "jelly bellies" that mothers have, and C section scars with puckered skin and folds. Could I cope with this? Could I really cope with my body changing so much?
4. Will some of my friends no longer want to hang out with me once I have a baby in tow? I've always been a party girl - but once pregnancy hit, I had to swap bottles of wine for folic acid. I always knew some friends would be "put off" by the fact my "partying days were over" (their words not mine) and I feared losing these people from my life.
5. What if my baby isn't born healthy? It took us 4 years, numerous fertility treatments and hundreds of tears before I got pregnant. I had to inject myself every day. I had lots of invasive treatments. So when the line on the pregnancy test appeared I was petrified. It had taken us so long to get here and now it was my sole responsibility to keep the baby in my tummy healthy and alive.
6. How will I find the engery to do it all? Pregnancy zapped me of all my energy (as it does most mothers) and with it came a sense of complete distrust. How would my body ever feel "awake" enough to be able to look after a baby? How would I physically be able to hold, feed and bath a baby when I could barely lift a cup of tea without feeling exhausted.
7. How will I deal with the loneliness? When you google "new mummy" you'll find lots of "mummy apps" that help you meet other mums "so you are no longer lonely." The word Lonliness seems to come up a lot when motherhood is discussed and I began to worry about feeling alone. Did having a baby mean people just left you to your own devices? Would I really need to download an app to meet people who wanted to hang out with me now I was a mother?
8. Will I be forced to choose between my baby and my career? I never thought I'd be a career woman. I was never particularly academic or had huge aspirations to "make it big" in the world of work. But...I actually did. I set up my own unique company planning marriage proposals (an idea most people thought wouldn't succeed.) I then got a tv show about my company and started appearing in the press and on tv as an "expert and tv presenter." I got an agent. I ad meetings about book deals and new tv shows. I even started to win business awards.
This shocked me more than anyone as I had always thought that once I became a mother, my career wouldn't matter to me at all. But it did. And this petrified me. How could I choose between looking after my baby and taking my career even further?
9. How can I possibly be a good mother to a little BOY?! Patrick and I decided to find out the sex of our baby at 16 weeks. We paid for a "harmony test" to get the results early and then bought a pair of reverseable cashmere socks (one side pink, one side grey) which our doctor wrapped up in Xmas paper and we opened on Christmas Day.
When I saw the grey socks I sobbed uncontrollably. Grey meant we were having a little boy and I just wasn't prepared for it. I'm a girls girl. It's that simple. The thought of being a mother to a little boy petrified me.
Why? Because I couldn't see what I could offer him. Patrick was going to be the perfect daddy to a little boy - they would go fishing together, he'd shout at him from the rugby sidelines, he'd teach him how to shoot and take him crab hunting on Irish beaches. But what could I do? What "bonding experience" could I offer our little boy? The thought that maybe I couldn't, petrified me.
10. Will I lose my sense of self? When people asked me (pre baby) "what do you do/tell me about yourself" I could reel off a list of descriptions that perfectly describe me: I'm a journalist, I run my own company, I love parting, I studied English at University and have written a book. I love to travel and have lived in Australia, Spain, Switzerland and Scotland in the last 15 years.....
But what would I be once I was a mother? I would potentially stop working to look after my baby. I'd stop travelling to give my baby a stable home. I'd stay at home preparing milk rather than go out at night and down tequila....I worried endlessly about my sense of self disappearing and only being able to describe myself as a "mother" and nothing more.
So, how did I cope? Find out by reading my post "Things I have learnt since becoming a new mummy" which will explain how, once I became a mummy, I dealt with all of these fears.
Let me know in the comments below, what you were worried about when you found out you were having a baby. Or, if there are any 'mummies to be' reading this then let me know what's bothering you and hopefully i'll be able to offer some reassurance!