AIBU to be apprehensive about motherhood

(43 Posts)
Freudianslap Tue 30-Jul-13 07:52:02

I'm due to have my first in Sept and as it approaches I am starting to get bouts of sheer panic - will I be a 'good' mum? How will I cope without the intellectual challenges of work? Will I be lonely (and bored) at home all day on my own? What I just don't know what to do? Will I totally lose my identity? That sort of stuff...

Yet whenever I mention this to anyone I seem to be met with looks of horror. It's making me feel like a terrible person that I am not in this perpetual blissful pregnancy bubble that people seem to think I should be in. It was all topped off this morning by my DH - his response to my concerns was 'well there's nothing you can do about it now so just deal with it'. Which I suppose is true but wasn't really helpful.

Don't get me wrong, on the whole I am excited about this baby and the new challenges he represents but am I really being so unreasonable to have a few doubts?

pudtat Tue 30-Jul-13 07:56:38

No, but you will in all likelihood be fine. I was (am?) the archetypal career gal, it really defined me. Had never been at all broody or maternal. But my 4.5 month old DS is a delight and utterly fascinating. We live rurally, so I spend a lot of time home alone with him, but it really is ok. There are lots of books, blogs, you tube clips and indeed mn with ideas and advice for things you can do with him. And most of it is common sense really. Congratulations, and good luck. You'll do great!

Cherriesarelovely Tue 30-Jul-13 07:58:48

What you are feeling is really normal and common. Having a baby is amazing but it is s huge change and can be a challenge. No one can tell you how it's going to be for you though, my experience was that the first few weeks were very hard work and exhausting but things came together after that. Keep posting here and people will be happy to listen and respond. Good luck and congratulations!

MrsKeithRichards Tue 30-Jul-13 08:00:07

Congratulations! You'll be fine. Your world and life will change, no doubt about it, but you are under no obligation to morph into some ubiquitous mummy. You are still you and you'll be a mum too.

ThePowerof3 Tue 30-Jul-13 08:02:09

I think it is better to be the way you are, I had that perfect bubble with my first pregnancy then had raging anxiety when the baby was born and felt like a total failure as I hadn't even considered it'd be anything other than perfect

Freudianslap Tue 30-Jul-13 08:02:30

Thank you, that's just what I needed to hear. Why is it so hard for people in RL to offer similar words of encouragement??

WandaDoff Tue 30-Jul-13 08:03:26

No, you are having doubts & worries because you CARE & want to do a good job.

The first few weeks will be a total culture shock, if it's your first, but you'll muddle through I should imagine, we all do smile

Fakebook Tue 30-Jul-13 08:03:48

Who is giving you looks of horror? Do they have children? Your feelings are completely normal and I'm going through the same again with my third! You never feel you're good enough until they come along and then everything just clicks into place. Don't worry.

Freudianslap Tue 30-Jul-13 08:06:00

Kate Middleton hasn't helped wink - people keep going on and on about her and when I say that quite frankly I am not really that interested in her or her baby they look at me like I'm crazy...

KateCroydon Tue 30-Jul-13 08:07:10

You sound sane. I might get shouted at by parents of high needs babies here, but just in case you have a cheerful soul who sleeps well you could plan for something to keep your brain ticking over - write short stories, plan a business, etc... Also, the endless early breastfeeds are great for reading.

Freudianslap Tue 30-Jul-13 08:08:13

fakebook - yes it tends to be people with children or even worse are the looks from other pregnant women. My antenatal class was a nightmare! Nobody seemed to have any worries at all aside from which pram to get and whether to paint the nursery yellow or blue.

FrauMoose Tue 30-Jul-13 08:13:17

I think there is a big - too big - industry around motherhood. The truth is that abies are programmed to survive. You feed them, change them, give them affection and some stimulus. It is not rocket science. If it was the human race would not have survived. Babies give you feedback so you find out what they like and need. You can see them growing and developing. You know when they're happy.

I think (whisper) small babies can be quite boring. I found it absolutely vital to keep friendships going, preferably with people who had some understanding about babies, but didn't just want to have baby-centred conversation. I wanted to keep my brain alive, and I wanted to keep a toehold in the world of work. It is also very important to have a supportive, engaged partner! (Not to say that people don't do a terrific job sometimes without a partner, or with a largely absent one.)

thismousebites Tue 30-Jul-13 08:13:28

We all had jitters over first one so it is normal.
When little one arrives you will be fine honestly
It will change your life but only for the bbetter

pudtat Tue 30-Jul-13 08:16:38

Given my waters broke while painting the nursery, I'd say just get stuff as together as you can and prepar for the first couple of weeks being a rollercoaster you think you'll never manage to ride. But you will, and it doesn't last forever. Have you got some DVD box sets?

Purpleprickles Tue 30-Jul-13 08:31:33

Everything you are feeling is totally normal and I felt the same when I was expecting ds. Be warned when you have the baby lots of other new mums will claim motherhood is all cuddles and smiles when the reality can be a bit different. My advice would be to go to lots of baby groups, find new mummy friends who can be honest and share all the joys of motherhood and the hard bits too. Also post on here, lots of support for new mums on mumsnet. I found the initial six months a mixture of pleasure and total stress and was really helped by these forums and two friends from an NCT class who could laugh and cry with me.

thebody Tue 30-Jul-13 08:35:52

how strange of your dh and friends!

it's perfectly normal to be apprehensive and much more sensible than being on cloud 9.

it's a huge life changing roller oater so hang on and enjoy the highs and expect some lows.

can I add, giving birth hurts a lot, don't be a heroine, if you need drugs have them!! 😉

and for good measure kick your dh in the bollocks next time he's so dismissive and day you chatted online to moms who wanted him to see 'yes labour is coming and there's nothing he can do about it now so you thought he ought to share the experience' 😄

pebspop Tue 30-Jul-13 08:37:12

I felt like this and now I have a three month old. I have surprised myself how well I have taken to my new role. I dont mind getting up in the night or changing nappies its all become normal life to me.

I have managed to fill my week with groups, classes and meeting nct friends tbh they have become my new 'collegues' and are filling the gap of not working and being in an office full of people all day.

it took a while to get to thIs stage. I remember thinking what have I done! in the first couple of weeks but the sleepless nights have settled down and for now things are good. I am expecting some fun around six months when I start weaning!

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 30-Jul-13 08:39:55

It is really normal to feel apprehensive, particularly I think if you have a successful career and probably quite high professional standards. I found it helped me to massively lower my standards for bring up DD in the first few months the fact that we were both still alive at the end of each day was my main goal. Now happy and healthy are the main ones. I do continue to push myself ridiculous hard in my professional life.

purrpurr Tue 30-Jul-13 08:43:10

You sound a lot more down to earth than those worrying about what colour to paint the nursery. Your concerns are all valid and normal. In the latter stages of my pregnancy I researched things I could get out and do with my newborn - baby swimming, sensory classes, mother and baby groups - then I saved it all in a folder on my PC and forgot about it until my DD was 8 weeks old. She is now 10 weeks and I'm going to one of the classes I researched with her this morning. Use your head - small babies can be boring, and it is ok to be bored, just plan ahead if you can and find out what is on in your area so when you're sleep deprived you don't have to think about it too much smile

Congratulations!

YANBU, it's totally normal to worry! I don't know anyone who didn't, and we've all turned out just fine smile So will you.

SkinnybitchWannabe Tue 30-Jul-13 09:03:07

Yanbu, I think it's normal to be feeling that way, afterall we can't send then back once they're out! I felt the same when I had my first ds. Then again with my second ds and again with my third.
Good luck and congrats xx

Xiaoxiong Tue 30-Jul-13 09:17:00

You sound just like me, and now I am pregnant with DS2 I feel the same way all over again. In fact I just had a freakout about having another child, basically "omg what have we done to have another child this is a disaster and will ruin all our lives". DH and my friends on my post-natal thread from DS1 kindly talked me down from the ledge and said everyone has those kinds of worries.

I think it's a real shame that people around you are just telling you to get on with it. It's a huge and irreversible life change - it's normal to have worries and wobbles and want to plan ahead for the big stuff.

I think there are some people that concentrate on things like the nursery and the pram as distraction/deflection methods, head in the sand because they don't want to deal with the big hard stuff.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Tue 30-Jul-13 09:44:28

Frediunslap - I am so relieved to read your post, as I am due in 4 weeks and have also been having similar periods of complete panic. I worry that I won't be able to cope with the baby, that I won't be able to handle the lack of sleep (I feel really rough if I don't get 8 hours a night), that I won't love the baby, that it won't like me and that I will just end up resenting it for the changes it will bring to my life.

I haven't told anyone other than my DH that I feel this way, although my Mum and sister both realise that I haven't taken to pregnancy and the idea of motherhood easily, despite the baby being completely planned.

I feel bad for feeling this way, particularly as I had a miscarriage last year which was awful for both of us, but this feeling of fear is never far away, even though I do sometimes feel excited. If I try to get organised then 'the fear' is even stronger, so have spent a lot of this pregnancy with my head in the sand - hence now having loads to do and buy.

That other pregnant women seem to be, as you say, in a blissful pregnancy bubble really doesn't help - I often wonder why I am the only one screaming "stop the ride I want to get off." But then again, perhaps they are, it's just that like me, they are screaming it silently.

Just wanted you to know that you are not alone.

MTBMummy Tue 30-Jul-13 09:47:57

Freudian - I think it's completely normal, DD is 3 and I'm expecting my second and I still feel the same way.

The problem with being a mum is that we put ourselves under too much pressure to be the perfect mum society portrays and expects from us.

No, we're not all happy, we're not all perfect, we don't all have spotless houses but we do the best we can.

I was terrified, for the same reasons, and although I love dd to bits I still worry that I'm not doing a good enough job with her! However, I try to make myself just relax and enjoy my time with her and when I do I can see that she's a happy and contended little person and this must be partly down to me! I also had the fear about taking time off work, and expected to be desperate to get back, but as it turns out I'm now dreading my return and know I'm going to miss her hugely when I go back. I'm even considering trying for another (haven't told DH yet grin ) as I've enjoyed the experience much more than I ever thought I would.

jeanmiguelfangio Tue 30-Jul-13 11:12:21

Congratulations!! Personally I'm a bit wary of anyone who says they aren't at all anxious about having a baby, I think you are perfectly normal. My DD is 5 months and I was scared, getting the hang of it now, def a change but each step is exciting and fun good luck you will be fine

guiltyconscience Tue 30-Jul-13 11:13:10

Op no yanbu but it's bloody fantastic! Enjoy !

tomatoplantproject Tue 30-Jul-13 11:25:46

Totally normal. I was terrified. Dd is now a cheerful 8mo. And it's me mostly who has got her here.

I make everything up as I go along - it can be hard work but also lovely and if things get v challenging just think that babies change so quickly they soon grow out of that particular phase, and if you're stuck there is so much advice out there on the web, breastfeeding clinics, drs etc.

My rule is to get out once a day - in the early days this was popping to the shops, now it's connecting with friends with little ones, Nct group, baby classes, going to see dh for lunch, baby yoga... There is a whole community of mums in a similar position to connect to and sometimes a bit of effort pays dividends. If I don't do much I go stir crazy. As does dd who likes the stimulation (I think!)

And finally, it's not a crime to want to go back to work. I have friends who went back fill time after 6 months. I'm in the process of negotiating 3 days per week and I CANNOT wait for the intellectual stimulation and adult company.

Freudianslap Tue 30-Jul-13 14:44:09

Thanks so much for all of the positive comments, they really do make me feel better. I'm a bit overwhelmed by them actually - that could be partly to do with hormones though because earlier today I cried because I thought my cat looked sad....she d

Freudianslap Tue 30-Jul-13 14:47:25

Stupid fat fingers....

My cat doesn't in fact look sad, she looks like...well...a cat.

I am going to use your good advice and start compiling lists of groups and things I would like to do. And am also going to be embrace a more go with the flow / wing it strategy!

I sense that mumsnet is going to be a great port of call for sensible advise smile

Emsmaman Tue 30-Jul-13 14:53:05

Don't be disheartened if your first attempt at a baby and mum group or class doesn't suit you. We moved away from my NCT group when DD was 2 mo so I had to find other mum friends, for me the local council run groups were disastrous (very cliquey, much younger mums than me, I felt uncomfortable breastfeeding as everyone else was bottle feeding). After doing some trial classes of other activities I found likeminded mums (and dads) in another activity and although we don't do the activity anymore, 2 years later and we still meet for dinner etc without the kids. IMHO baby groups and activities until the baby is crawling, are mostly about the adult interactions and far less about the baby's stimulation which could be obtained from cbeebies.

Emsmaman Tue 30-Jul-13 14:55:24

Also a tip re sleep, I never did this but if you can afford it, you could look into getting a babysitter (sitters.co.uk perhaps) in during the day to look after your baby whilst you catch up on sleep. You don't have to go the whole hog to leaving the baby alone in your house, and the sitter can bring baby to you for a feed if necessary. Friends who did this had my utmost respect smile

TBH I'd worry more if you weren't having these moments of anxiety. There's a big change coming & it's only normal to be nervous. I also suspect that people who spend 9 months on cloud nine, blissfully imagining nothing but colour supplement moments of joy with their baby are in for a rude awakening when reality dawns. Having children is fabulous, but not for every minute of every day and that's NORMAL.

I second the advice to get out of the house every single day (even if it's only for 5 minutes to the end of the garden & back. And try to find a like-minded mum or two at some local groups. You may have to try a few until you find a group that suits you.

And YY to keep posting on MN. It's an invaluable source of advice, support & gallows humour. Plus as it's international, there'll always be someone up if you have poo related questions at three in the morning. grin

Freudianslap Tue 30-Jul-13 16:28:12

DMC I'm certainly a fan of the humour on MN!

Took me a few months of motherhood to find MN and I think it's a crying shame I didn't find it earlier. It would have been so useful to have had access to it during my first pregnancy. I hadn't really been around babies very much so had no idea what to expect.

The other websites seemed to be feeding the delusion of motherhood involving mainly floating about in meadows wearing flowing garments & staring beatifically into the baby's eyes. I genuinely think that this sort of build-up to birth & parenthood can be incredibly damaging, even contributing to PND. Mumsnet's refreshingly honest view of parenting & reassurance that I'm not a crazed loon has been hugely helpful.

Freudianslap Tue 30-Jul-13 19:15:37

Totally agree, I did join another forum but they seem so unrealistic. I seemed really miserable and cynical in comparison!

justmyview Tue 30-Jul-13 19:17:42

Best advice from our health visitor "If you're doing your best + you're conscientious, then it'll all be fine".

We really clung on to that at first, it was so reassuring

I remember when we got home with DD1 and I remember thinking "OMG they let me come home with a baby, are they mad? I don't know what to do with a baby".

Best 'advice' I got was from Dh's boss who said "Don't worry about it, you'll just start doing things that you never knew you could do."

chocolatesolveseverything Tue 30-Jul-13 22:32:18

Thanks for this thread OP. I'm due to give birth for the first time any day now, and whilst I'm sure I'll manage somehow and probably love it, I find this whole journey into the unknown world of motherhood unsettling. I want to meet my baby, but I'm also scared. Sometimes I'm faking enthusiasm for labour to start when really thinking, "Omg omg...". It's comforting to know I'm not the only one!

itsaruddygame Wed 31-Jul-13 09:50:10

Yanbu but you will be fine. My DS is almost 5 months and I felt similarly to you before he arrived. Now I am over the moon to have him and am enjoying motherhood and mat leave so much.

My NCT friends have been invaluable and I also go out to several groups/activities per week. I like to get out of the house everyday and the little guy likes going out too : )

I did have a tough first few weeks but they really do flash by!

Annakin31 Wed 31-Jul-13 10:53:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 31-Jul-13 11:07:07

Are you on an antenatal thread on MN? I love my postnatal MN friends, and meet up with some of them regularly, and chat over FB etc. Those contacts with people who are going through something similar at the same time as you can be really helpful.

In all honesty I found babies a bit...meh. They're cute and all, but it's when they start doing stuff and talking and running around and climbing on all the furniture that I really started to enjoy it. Toddlers are awesome. You will possibly have a couple of 'why did I do this?!' moments early on, but I've been assured that that is normal. It's good to be a bit scared, better to have realistic images and then probably be pleasantly surprised by how much you like it, than to live in a rosy bubble and be brought down to earth with a bump by chronic sleep deprivation, leaking milk on your favourite top and the dawning realisation that just because it is your baby's shit, it doesn't make it any more fun to wash off the wall. Soppy git alert - it goes by so fast. So very very fast that even hardened cynics like me find myself sobbing over itty bitty baby vests and wondering when DS got so big and grown up? That first year feels like it will never end, but it's just a drop in the ocean really. Can you tell I'm in the middle of a reminiscing phase?

You just need to be able to laugh at yourself, and others. That's the key.

Freudianslap Thu 01-Aug-13 08:05:42

hopalong - no I haven't joined the antenatal group here on MN, I did have a look at it but couldn't make sense of what people were talking about (lots of in jokes and things), think I will have another look though.

I haven't done NCT because there were no classes running that I could actually get to date-wise. I will definitely go to some of their post natal things after the baby is born. I will also try and stay in touch with work related things as I feel I might miss the intellectual challenge work brings - I cannot believe I am even thinking about missing work!!'

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