Fears and doubts

Today A Calm Persistence wrote a post where she talks about self-doubt, wondering if she is going to be a good mom, and if this might be why she doesn’t have a baby yet. This thought is something that’s been hiding out in the back of my mind for a long time. It’s not the kind of worry that pushes to the front and forces you to think about it often, but instead hides out where you don’t notice it, waiting to pop out at you when you’re not expecting it. It usually pops out at me when I’m already feeling insecure to begin with.

Really, there are so many things I’m unprepared for. What if I somehow manage to make it through infertility, just to find out that I’m a terrible mother? I feel like I can handle the baby years. Having a newborn sounds like a ton of work and unbelievably exhausting, but predictable. I know I’ll feel overwhelmed, and only get a few hours of sleep a night, and I’ll be excessively worried about whether I’m doing it all right. But these are all predicable struggles. It’ll be tough but do-able. What terrifies me is what comes after. Raising a child.

What if I can’t manage to discipline my kids and they run wild? What if I yell too much, or say no too much, or pass on my most terrible qualities? What if I’m too terrified of something bad happening to them that I can’t let them out of my sight? What if I’m too self-centered and can’t put my own needs behind theirs? What if there are social situations that trigger my anxiety and I fail them instead of fighting the anxiety and handling things head-on?

Some days I’m so worried about these things, and so sure that I’m not capable of it all, that I can convince myself that I’m not supposed to be a mom. That infertility is the universe’s way of saying that it isn’t meant to be. Some things just tend to work out for the best, and maybe it is actually for the best that I can’t have a baby, even though I can’t see right now. Isn’t my desire to have a child just a selfish instinct in the end? Maybe I should be thinking more of the best interests of my potential child rather than my selfish need to have a baby.

The rational part of me knows that this can’t all be true; so many people have kids and have no clue what they’re doing. They parent entirely by instinct (which may or may not be good instinct), with no intentionality or thought-process. I may have no experience yet, but I’ve spent so much time thinking about how I would parent. I’ve thought about what I would do in different types of situations, or how I would handle circumstances that come up. I’ve thought about how I would discipline them, how we would spend time together, even what foods they’d be allowed to eat or not eat. I’ve had 3 years to think about this since we started trying, but really, I’ve been thinking about these kinds of things ever since I started babysitting in middle school. I may end up being wrong about all of it, but just having put that much thought into parenting must give me some sort of head-start, right?

I know that these types of fears are normal for first time parents (or wanna-be parents in my case). But, infertility adds a particular kind of edge to the worries. We’ve spent massive amounts of time, money, and effort to end up with a child. If we finally get there and then fail, it seems like an extra special kind of failure. Not only did we fail our child, we also spent tons of time, money, and effort to have the opportunity to fail. Pretty pathetic. Plus, we have all this time to worry about the choices we’re going to make. When you decide to have a baby and get pregnant quickly, you only have so much time to freak out before it’s too late. We get endless amounts of time to worry about our potential abilities as parents before it ever becomes an issue.

At the moment, there isn’t much I can do about any of this; I’m not giving into the worries and giving up, but the thoughts will still be there hiding out and waiting for my low moments to pop back out.





14 thoughts on “Fears and doubts

  1. “When you decide to have a baby and get pregnant quickly, you only have so much time to freak out before it’s too late. We get endless amounts of time to worry about our potential abilities as parents before it ever becomes an issue.”—Well said! This is the killer. Time. We have too much of it and our minds go over every last little thing. I sometimes have some of these same worries you describe but I remind myself that the natural route of parenthood only gives you 9 months before you are in the game, figuring it all out as you go along. Having all of this time to wonder and worry is a very difficult “luxury” to deal with!

  2. I ask myself these same questions all the time… Doesn’t help the IVF anxiety!! I think that in the end, the love we will feel for our child will make things so much easier… Or I hope so.

  3. It is crazy… I feel the exact same way you do. One side of me says that it will happen, I’ll be a good mom, and all of this struggle will be okay. The other side of me (the detrimental side) says it won’t ever happen, I should give up, I’d be a terrible mom, and nothing about this struggle will ever be okay. Thank you for writing this post.. I actually read it a few times because you were able to actual words to something that I truly worry about.

  4. You WILL be an excellent mom. Hopefully there is a day in the future when you can look back on this period of time and you’ll feel like the baby you’re holding in your arms was all worth it. Thinking of you.

  5. My fertility specialist told me that after 20 years experience in the field she firmly believes infertile women make the best mothers. We are extremely determined, spend a lot of time thinking about how we will parent, and are more than willing to put our bodies through mental and physical torture to try and achieve a healthy pregnancy. Everything we do, we do with purpose. Every decision we make, we make with our future children in mind. We are stronger and wiser and better organised. Maybe she was just trying to make me feel better, but I truly believe all the women in our little online community will make GREAT mothers.

  6. I too have wondered if the universe is sending me a message. I have wondered in the back of my mind to if the reason I keep having losses is because I shouldn’t have children. However, every time I have these thoughts, I always repress them and think about how badly I want this. No parent is perfect but I think those of us who have had to suffer like this on the journey to parenthood, will be the most exceptional parents. We’ve had a lot of time forced on us to full realize how much we want this and because of this, we will never take our children for granted. Big hug!

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