I’m not sure where to begin.
When I say fear, I more so mean feelings of anxiety and uncertainty rather than deep-rooted fears of becoming a parent. I’m not afraid; I’m merely timid about the unknown.
Image: Universal Pictures.
Every mom fears for her child’s health and safety outside the womb. For nine months, we carry our baby and protect him or her from real-world diseases. The fear that comes from just the thought of exposing their susceptible, tiny bodies to these contagions is normal, rational and common. But this isn’t the fear I’m talking about.
What causes my anxiety is considered irrational by many people, including my fiancé and my mom. But, certainly, I can’t be the only one with these feelings … can I?
I’ve Googled stories, joined mommy boards and talked to countless moms about their experiences, and I’ve yet to find someone who can relate. This is my attempt to find someone who feels the same and to help the future first-timer who might share my same uncertainties.
What am I most anxious about? Feeding my baby. My plan is to breastfeed my child, and if for whatever reason I cannot, I am still determined to feed my baby breast milk, even if it’s donated to me. But the entire process of breastfeeding is a daunting one. How will I know if my baby is full or hungry? If I’ve fed her enough? How will I know when to pump, or for how long, or how frequently? What if she never learns to latch? I dreamt early on in the pregnancy that my baby actually bit my nipple off during a feeding because I waited too long and she was upset.
What if I never learn the early cues of hunger? Surely she won’t take a chunk off my breast … I hope.
I also worry about not knowing how to tend to her needs. She will cry, and I will respond. I will do whatever it takes to comfort and calm my baby, but part of me still worries that I just won’t know. Or I’ll be asleep and not hear her cry. Or, I’ll never sleep because I’m too cautious and won’t want to take my eyes off her.
I have my fiancé to help and to share the worries with, but as her mom, I feel more responsible.
And then I have other really strange worries that I don’t even know how they developed: like cutting her nails. It’s totally bizarre and I can actually laugh writing it down because I know I sound crazy, but here I am, all together nervous.
Everyone says it all comes naturally, and I’m depending on that to be the case. I’ve taken care of my nieces and nephew as babies since I was 11 years old and I remember feeling like a pro. If my 11-year-old self can do it, surely I can do it now …
But in the meantime, can someone please tell me I’m not alone?
-Melissa Rose, Halfway2Whole