Fears, Rational and Otherwise
Yesterday my good friends at work took me out for an afternoon tea / mini- baby shower. It was really wonderful, and I felt very spoiled and special. It was a small group, just six of us. One of the women there has two adult children, and one was a man with a 1 year old. The other three were women without children, and without any imminent desire to have children. I only mention all this to set the scene – basically I was the only young mom-to-be or new mom present. Inevitably, the subject of childbirth came up, and whether I was scared about it, whether I planned to get an epidural, etc.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that my answer to the “are you scared to give birth to this baby” question was actually, honestly, not really. I mean of course there are aspects of childbirth that scare me. And when I really think about the process and all that is involved, I do worry about my stamina, my ability to stick it out, my pain threshold, etc. But whereas earlier in this pregnancy I had legitimate fears about birthing this baby, now those fears seem to have taken a backseat. I’m sure when labor actually starts some of them will resurface. But I am happy to report that for now, they seem to be kept at bay.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have any fear in me about this whole having a baby thing. Most of the things I am afraid of deal with after we come home. I’m scared of being a complete basketcase because I won’t really know what I’m doing and I’ll be operating on no sleep for days and days on end. I’m scared of fighting with my husband over silly little things, over falling into the trap of thinking I know best and my maternal instincts are more trustworthy than his paternal ones. I’m scared of relying too much on my mother, or worse yet, pushing her away in an attempt to be independent and hurting her feelings. I’m scared of our house falling into complete disaster mode and not having the energy or sanity to do anything about it. I’m scared that breastfeeding won’t go smoothly and I’ll be tempted to give up. I’m scared that my baby boy will cry and cry and I just won’t be able to soothe him no matter what I do. I’m scared our cats will drive me batsh*t crazy, or worse yet, that they’ll drive the baby crazy.
To name a few.
I know these are normal fears, and I’m not saying I don’t think I’m cut out for motherhood or that this was all a bad idea. One thing I have had faith in throughout this entire journey, from when we first decided to go off the pill, through all the infertility treatments, and throughout the pregnancy, is that I’m going to be a good mom. Eventually. I just don’t expect it to be a switch that flips on when I give birth. Obviously I hope it will, but somehow I’m guessing there’s a learning curve involved.
We have our baby care basics and breastfeeding classes this Saturday, and I am embarrassed to admit that I already have a question or two in mind to ask that are so rudimentary I’m embarrassed to tell you guys what they are. Things that I think every new mom should just instinctively know, but I don’t. And I’m also embarrassed to admit (though I will admit it right now) that while I’ve heard other women say the infant care class is a waste of time because they already knew how to change a diaper and swaddle a baby and whatnot, I don’t know how to do those things. I mean I’m sure I could figure it out if I had to. But I have never changed a diaper in my life. It’s true. I realize they aren’t complicated contraptions, but I’ve just never done it. And swaddling? Ha. I don’t even pretend to think that will be easy, especially on a squirming crying baby.
Sigh. I have a lot to learn. At 34 weeks and 4 days pregnant, I can only hope this little (or not so little, according to our latest ultrasound) guy will teach me.