Monday, May 16, 2011

The Fears of Motherhood

Everyone talks about the joys of motherhood but so many gloss over the fears that come with the job.

Recently, in a conversation someone mentioned how scary motherhood is.  We're talking ulcer inducing, sleep losing, wanting to cry scary.  I never would have put it quite like that but there are moments when everything you are is tested.  There are moments like that with any job or any relationship (or life in general).  Motherhood is no exception. 

Depending on your childhood you either want to emulate your mother or you want to be so unlike her that no one will ever question the likeness between you and her.  That right there is enough to cause some sleepless nights.

There are so many demands on mothers today to do everything "right".  Feeding our kids the "right" foods, going to the "right" schools, putting our kids in the "right" extracurricular activities, and on and on it goes-the merry-go-round of what "good mothers" should do. 

On Thursday, during a conversation with friends around labor, I remembered sitting in our lamaze class reunion with all the other new moms regaling the class behind us of our birth stories.  Many were not tales of easy labor but rather a litany of what could go wrong.  If I had been one of those pregnant women listening I would have probably run from the room.  Many of the moms had horror stories like the one mom whose epidural had not worked and she felt everything during her C-section. Luckily my labor was uneventful for the most part with both girls.  Yet, hearing people's stories make me wonder could something go wrong this time.  I hope not.

I know our family dynamic is going to shift more this time than with the birth of our other two.   Alone time with my husband will be even harder to come by since we will outnumbered.  Not to mention one more schedule being thrown into the mix. With each pregnancy the worry about the what-ifs causes me to toss and turn.  What if something happens to one of the kids? What if something happens to one of us?  Even though we've talked about these things and even taken steps in case something (God forbid) does happen, the fear is there under the surface waiting for a moment to rise.

These are the things we sometimes find we can't talk about or that people gloss over.  My friend's mom used to say "don't borrow trouble" when she would bring up something negative.  Recently, I witnessed a situation where a mom mentioned an awful story about something that happened to someone else and she mentioned that she worried about it happening to her and her family.  Another mom attacked her for feeling that way calling it "ridiculous".  She then went on to make a comment about the other mom's negativity.

Don't we all feel that way sometimes?  We hear a horrible story and one of our first thoughts is "thank goodness that wasn't my family."  Then, your heart hurts for the family that has to deal with the situation.

The fact is motherhood can be a scary place and we need to talk about it with close friends and family (including our spouses).  If we talk about it, its not so scary a place especially when other moms tell you that they feel the same way. 

In my husband's words the other day "we just need to survive the next year and a half".  Could it really be that easy?  Not a chance...

But I do know that I have good friends and family who I can lean on when it does get scary.

Does motherhood scare you at times?


Mindy said...

Yep. Motherhood is definitely scary some days. I think it's the scariest when I feel like I'm giving it my best and things aren't going well. It's hard to know what's a stage and what could be improved by better parenting. It is difficult sometimes to face all of the perfect ways I could nurture, feed, and teach my children and to fall short. I am about to give birth to my third and the most difficult has been the guilt I've felt when I am simply too physically/mentally/emotionally drained to give any more....but then those amazing days happen and I know there's so much more to parenting than my fears focus on.

Leah said...

Just came across your blog from Top Mommy Bloggers. YES Motherhood is very scary sometimes. My mom always told me "don't be afraid to do hard things" That must be why we keep having children even though we're afraid and it is HARD at times. The good far outweighs the bad doesn't it?! Luckily with each hard thing, our capacity to handle more expands. great post!

Michelle @Flying Giggles said...

I think because we feel responsible for our children's future - who they become, it scares the heck out of us. Most of the time, things are fine, but there are those phases that are scary.

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