When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I was shocked. My partner and I weren't actively trying to get pregnant (in fact, we were pretty much trying to avoid it) and we didn't have plans to become a family any time soon. After thinking about our options and deciding that we did, in fact, want to be parents, shock turned to joy and we were excited (while also nervous) about the prospect of becoming someone's mother and father. Now that we're actively trying for a second child, I find myself thinking all the things every new mom thinks while trying to conceive; things that I missed out thinking before I had my son; things that lead me to believe I could be a bad mother to two children, even though (rationally) I know that's not true.
The truth is, whether you're planning for your first kid or your seventh kid, trying to conceive can be difficult (well, maybe not if you already have six kids) and the thoughts that bombard your mind when you're in the process of making a baby can leave you with a fair share of self-doubt. I'm not pregnant, even after months of trying, so I'm starting to wonder if there's something wrong or if I'm not meant to have another kid because, well, maybe I couldn't handle it. All the fears that I had as a new mother, are rushing back because having a baby is scary, even if you've done it once before.
So, if you're like me and the thoughts you have while trying to conceive are making you feel guilty and causing you to question your abilities as a parent, know that you're not alone and know that you're definitely not a bad mom. In fact, if you find yourself thinking these 12 thoughts, I think it's safe to assume that you're going to be a fantastic mother because, well, at least you're thinking (even if it's about the unthinkable).
If you're actively trying to conceive, it's safe to assume that you've thought long and hard about the decision to have a baby, and you landed on an unequivocal, "yes." That doesn't mean, however, that you don't go back and forth, still, and question if the choice to have a baby is the right one for you. I mean, this is a big deal, so questioning yourself and wondering if you really are making the right decision is, honestly, pretty damn normal. I mean, I, personally, question myself after buying a pair of jeans, so of course I'm going to ask myself if having another baby is a good idea, even after I've decided to have one.
I spent the majority of my adolescent and young adult life, actively trying not to get pregnant. It's honestly pretty strange when the thing you've been trying to avoid, becomes the thing you really really want to have happen. It's strange to look at a pregnancy test and hope for a positive, when I used to dread even thinking about seeing two parallel lines or a plus sign. Life is weird, you guys. Life is so weird.
I don't know about you, but I spent plenty of my pre-pregnancy (and pregnancy and post-pregnancy) life wondering if I was cut out for the whole motherhood gig. I think it's relatively normal to question your abilities as a potential parent and, if I'm really being honest, I think it's a sign that you are going to be a great one. If you're so aware of how difficult parenthood can be that you're wondering if you can really do it, I say you'll do what's necessary to make sure you can, if you do, in fact, decide that motherhood is something you want to experience.
One of my biggest fears was how parenthood would (potentially) change my relationship with my partner. Now that we're staring the possibility of another child in the face, I'm questioning, again, how another baby will change our relationship dynamics. I love my partner and want to make sure that we still have time for one another; still value one another; still make one another priorities in our respective lives. Babies, of course, take up a lot of time and can be a strain on even the most steadfast of relationships.
Raise your hand if you were worried about having a baby because it meant you would have to share your partner. No one? Just me? Well, I'll be the first to say that I was legitimately worried about how much time my baby would take away from my partner. I understand that's selfish, but I value the time I spend with my partner, and definitely valued it before we had a baby.
There is a lot that goes into trying to have a baby. I mean, I was walking around completely oblivious as to just how hard it can be to conceive, naively thinking that getting knocked up is a thing you have to work to avoid, not work to actually achieve. When you bring science and logistics and body temperatures and ovulation sticks into the bedroom it can, well, kind of kill any romance or passion you may or may not have had. Sometimes, the sex can kind of seem like a job and that job, well, isn't the fun kind.
Then again, when you know that you're trying to make a baby or you've maybe, hopefully, made a baby, the sex can be amazing. I can tell you that, from personal experience, the sex I've had when trying to conceive has been some of the most passionate sex of my life. I have never felt such a deep, almost transcendent connection with my partner and, well, the multiple orgasms didn't hurt either (because, if you didn't already know, the female orgasms boosts your chances of getting pregnant).
If sex is an important part of your relationship, it's only natural to wonder if it will go out the window when you bring a baby into the mix. I mean, you know you won't be able to have sex directly after you have a baby (for the, usually, recommended six weeks) and you know you'll be exhausted so you probably won't have the energy to have sex, even after you've been cleared for sexual activity. If you decide to co-sleep, you know you'll be sharing your bed so you'll have to get creative and find other places to have sex with your partner, and you know that you'll probably want to be quiet and quick if you're going to have sex when the baby is in another room or taking a nap. I mean, how in the hell do parents have sex, anyway? Like, why aren't we all just the only child of our respective families?
Seriously, when trying to conceive becomes a long and painful process, you can't help but think about the kid you're attempting to have, and whether or not they're actually worth all this extra effort. I, for one, had plenty of moments when I silently wished for my kid to be the one that cures cancer or something, otherwise it was all just going to be a wash.
I think everyone has this fear when they have decided to have a child, especially if they've spent months (and even years) trying to have a baby and have been unsuccessful. I think it's better to try and figure out if there is a problem, even if that problem might be associated with your body, than allowing yourself to feel helpless and powerless of a situation you're trying to facilitate.
I remember looking at my partner after we had tried to conceive, wondering if he still saw me as the sexy, desirable woman he had met and fell in love with years ago, or if I was just the incubator he was trying to put a baby in. It can be a funny thought and it can be a sad thought, but either way it's usually an unnecessary thought. I asked my partner if he looks at me differently now, and he admitted that he did, but what came after his admission made me thankful. He said that he looked at me as the sexy, desirable mother of his child and (hopefully) children. That I had become more than he ever thought I could be. I mean, that's hard to beat, right?
Look, parenthood changes things. Some of those changes are big and some of those changes are small and some of the changes you assumed you'd have to face, don't end up happening at all. Either way, things will be different, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with contemplating how those changes will impact your life.
I, personally, was terrified that having a baby meant the death of my career. Yes, I held onto the sexist idea that becoming a mother meant I had to say goodbye to every other aspect of my personality or existence or, well, life, and let it scare me for a solid nine (or more) months. Turns out, that's not true at all, but it definitely didn't make me a bad mother to think about all the other things that make me happy and fulfilled, outside of my ability to procreate, and make sure those things continue to be part of my life, even after I have a baby.