To feel apprehensive about a baby even when we're TTC?(51 Posts)
I really want a family. I love kids. But I'm honestly not totally crazy about babies and pregnancy and new-motherhood are a pretty frightening prospect. I feel like I should be excited but I'm just about the last of all my friends to have a baby and I've seen them all go through it. I'm scared of lots of things, including (but not limited to):
1. Losing all sense of myself. A decent proportion of my friends seem to have had a total personality transplant on becoming mothers. Some have turned into serenely superior saintly breastmilk factories who never swear or joke or laugh. Others have seemingly lost the ability to be polite - constantly asking for favours, never saying thank you etc. Lots of them can't talk about anything other than their DC, don't even ask how I am when we chat etc. No judgypants here - I'm not blaming them but I do feel a bit sad for them and I'm scared I'll go the same way.
2. Becoming competitive/judgmental as all buggery. Lots of my friends, even though they are very sweet people, are constantly telling me what other mothers are doing wrong. They try to dress it up as "each to their own, that didn't work for me" but what they are really doing is slagging one another off and looking for me to agree with them. What on earth are they going to say about my inevitable myriad of fuck ups? They've all got so much advice and so many opinions and they express them really strongly (DH and I spent 20 mins the other day being lectured by a friend (and her DH) about how people who ff are "literally poisoning their babies"). Gulp.
3. Spending 18 months feeling terrified/bored/enslaved. I've had some anxiety and depression in the past and I have various tendencies (hypochondria, perfectionism) that I can imagine are going to make me a mumzilla, rather than the chilled out, "sane" mother I'd like to be.
Sorry this probably sounds desperately churlish. I know some of you are going to say don't bother, but I genuinely want a family and so does my DH and I'm going to 35 this week so I feel like it's crunch time, but the prospect is at least as scary as it is exciting. AIBU?
You do loose your sense of self for the first year but then your sanity usually returns.
We all get judgy with kids, it's a fact of life. My best friend gives her 2 year old bottles - not something I agree with but it's her life. You take all the comments, advice and use what you think could work and ignore the rest.
Nothing wrong with being a mumzilla, you will find your own way. There's no such thing as a chilled out parent - they just put a really good front on in public
Watching this thread with interest. OP could be me except I'm not ttc at the moment (I'm too monumentally frightened)
I feel just the same OP, and this is after 3 years of TTCing and 2 IVF cycles!
Oh god. Thanks for the reply Purple - appreciate the honesty although it's definitely not made me feel any better! (And I don't even know what would be so problematic about giving a two year old bottles )
It all just makes me want to give up or at least lock myself away for the first year so I don't have to be ashamed of myself or my behaviour.
YA totally NBU, mainly because I feel exactly the same!
My DH and I are TTC (which is funs in itself) but the thought of actually having a baby is as terrifying as it is exciting. I think it's because it's a Great Unknown that I have no control over, and I quite like having control. I hope that if it does happen I'll pick it up as I go along and that the fear will wear off, or I'll be so tired that I forget about being scared.
I am really looking forward to having our own little family though. :-)
Thanks everyone - interesting to hear others say they feel the same. I've got to say, the being tired/bored/panicky is probably the thing I'm least worried about, because I know it's only temporary and it'll be worth it in the end.
I'm more concerned about the personality transplant. I like to think I'm a thoughtful person who's pretty good fun and takes an interest in others without being too judgy. I just want to stay that way! But so many of my friends (who are all lovely people really) have been - sorry to say it - a bit awful at times since becoming mums
When you become a mum it is a very intense experience . It is different for everybody but certainly for everyone I know there were ups and downs. New parents can feel very insecure which I think is why they are so judgey about others.
Otoh I don't know a single person who regrets having their children as there are loads of amazing positives too. Also, once the hormones have settled and you become more used to your new role as a mum it gets much easier. Remember that although there are lots of challenging, intense times, children change all the time so that crazy time doesn't 't last forever.
Not in the least unreasonable, OP.
I'd never planned to have a child, then we decided it might be interesting, conceived first time and I gave birth to our son just short of 40. I won't lie, it was an enormous shock, and the first few months were miserable, panic-stricken and spent largely in mourning for my old life. I can't even think of that time without being upset, though our son is now two and completely wonderful, and I'm utterly glad we made him.
You won't feel that way at the time if your experience is anything like mine, as regards your (1) but the death of your old self is temporary, I assure you. I am the same as I ever was now, with the addition of being a mother. (2) I am fiercely judgemental in other areas, but have no interest in how anyone else parents. To me, that's small-minded and petty. (3) You may well have a difficult first year and a half. I did, though mine was made worse by extreme loneliness (living in a different country to family and friends, having to take a career break, and a forced move to a remote rural area when our son was 8 months). You might surprise yourself by finding it ok, but the main thing is that it passes.
You can definitely help your future self by making practical arrangements now - are you in a good position (financially and in career progression) to return to work after maternity leave or a career break? If one of you is going to become a SAHP, is it you or your partner, or will you share childcare?
Oh, and being a mother is one of those experiences that can only be experienced from the inside, so to speak. You won't know what you're like as a mother until you are one, and your friends' behaviour is no guide.
Throughout my progression through toddler groups etc, my interest in anyone else's parenting of their offspring has been the equivalent of a passing glance. Turning into some kind of judgemental parenting gossip has been no part of my experience of motherhood.
TalcumPowder could be me. Except I had a DD just shy of 40.
I would just add, if we're being honest here, that whilst I worship the ground my DD walks on, I'm not sure I would have regretted not having children if she hadn't come along. I had a good life and I was very fulfilled, I'm not someone who is necessarily defined by having children.
It was very hard adjusting to not being my own person when DD came along, and DP and I struggled for the first 9 months or so. Now she's 18mo she is brilliant fun, we have babysitting options and our life is starting to get less baby-centric. So, on balance, she's ok
also - I don't 'get' people who "just lurve babies". I find babies (and small children on the whole) to be entirely uninteresting. My baby, however, was wonderful and fascinating and totally worth all the shit bit (although he was a bit dull for the first 4 months). He's now 2 and even better.
Motherhood is incredible not because you have a baby, it's because you have your baby. It's hnestly worth losing yourself in a little bit (but try and keep your sense of humour. You'll need it!)
Being a parent is the most difficult thing anyone can ever do I think. It does change you, entirely. There's no getting away from that. But you will survive, just like everyone else does, and things will get easier. But you have to accept that your life will be different.
I am a bit tickled that you're worried about being judgemental when you're on here judging your friends before you ever get pregnant!
You don't have to be saintly or judgy, and if you don't like it in others you probably won't be if you have your own kids. Small kids do tend to dominate every single moment that they're not asleep or in childcare though so it takes some effort to talk about anything else.
Also, not going to lie, the first couple of years are a bit shit compared to normal life. It doesn't last forever though. I've got 2 and a half year old twins and when they arrived I stared down the coming years and felt the way I think I would do if I had a massive spinal injury and x years of slow painful recovery ahead of me. (Yes, I have given this analogy quite a lot of thought). But now they are starting to embrace reason and speak and stuff and they're quite funny and come around with us and "help" in the garden and with tidying up and stuff. And you've got these people who, unless you try really hard to fuck it up, are going to love your company for years and feel generally well-disposed towards you forever. And also come over when you're old and reset your central heating timer when the clocks go back and things like that.
Cailindana - happy to entertain you.
I have, however, been very careful to say that I don't blame my friends. I don't think they are bad people. I'm still friends with them. I know they've been through a massive massive change.
That said, it is really important to me to be kind and polite and take an interest in others. Based on the evidence, some (otherwise very lovely) people find that difficult post-baby, and that worries me. If that's me being judgemental then, fair enough, maybe IABU.
toomuch - YY to that last paragraph. That's why we're TTC - I wish I could get super excited about having a lovely little baby to feed and wash and dress etc but really I'm just looking forward to when they can start interacting, playing, eventually talking etc. And sorting out the heating, yes. If I wasn't optimistic about that bit, I think I'd just get a few more cats and go on four holidays a year ;)
NBU. I'm 15 weeks along and every day something new hits me to be terrified about. I don't want to change, but I am sure I will. I don't find babies all that interesting, but neither did my best mate and now she cant take her eyes off her fascinating 3 month old! The morning sickness was a shock. I just keep repeating what everyone is telling me. It is all worth it!
YANBU at all. Currently TTC #2 (#1 was an accident, it's all a lot more effortful at the age of 40 ). We went swimming today, and the changing room was full of babies (it was their baby swimming lesson) and, although they were at their cutest, I thought "Do I really want to go back to the dull and blobby stage?The paraphenalia, the cabbage-hood..." If the worst comes to the worst, we have started to discuss adoption, and I would not be regretful to miss out on the baby phase a second time at all.
However, I do recall that when it's your own baby it does become infinitely fascinating.
The brain- transplant friends, though, is a toughie- and for a laugh, just try mentioning an evening out without the babies to all your new baby group friends when you reach the 6 month or so mark! Watch the panic flash across their faces! If you're lucky, you may find one or two allies along the way, with whom to corral yourself into a corner at playgroups and use foul language (quietly) and discuss international politics, or rare waterfowl, or anything apart from fucking weaning and bowel movements. I think it's a good idea to strengthen links with any friends who are childless or have older children in advance.
Also, if you think you're not cut out to be a 24-hr mummy, perhaps you should consider returning to work (at least part time) fairly early?
I'm 7 months and pretty scared. I was scared when TTC and I was bloody panicky when I got a positive test! I wanted kids so bad but its very daunting!
Like you, a lot of my friends turned into different people, in particular people who have spent literally YEARS now with zero other topic of conversation than their perfect children. If I had a pound for every time I had to fake laugh at some "hilarious" anecdote about their PFB doing something quite basic, like trying to hold a bloody spoon or something. And Saintly Mummy Know It All is a familiar type too. All other mothers are pitied for their naivete.
I am still worried about becoming like that, but I figure forewarned is forearmed.
I also have a fear of PND/anxiety etc., & have decided to mix feed. A lot! I figure being able to hand baby over to someone else will help my sanity hugely.
Stubborn thanks for that. Good call on shoring up sweary/sane(ish) allies now I already work part time and very flexibly and have plenty of family around for childcare so hopefully will be able to go back fairly early without poor PFB being too traumatised.
Annarose you and I sound very, very similar. I think "forewarned is forearmed" is probably the best you can do. I'd definitely also consider mix feeding - not sure my mental health would stand up to surgical attachment to BFing child and I know a couple of people have found that both they and their baby are happier combo-feeding. (I know this is can of worms we probably shouldn't open on here...) That said, you never know how you'll get on, you might find EBF a breeze as it turns out! Anyway, good luck - I am sure you'll do brilliantly
I mix fed DS and it was great, absolutely the best of both worlds. DD however was having none of it no matter how hard I tried and I ended up EBFing her till she was 17 months. It's great to have plans but it's also good to be aware that often with babies you just have to go with what works for them regardless of what you might want.
On the other hand it might change you for the better. .. my OH thinks it has made me friendlier and more laid back than I was before. And I was totally expecting to become a super anxious mumzilla!
pickle I hadn't thought of it that way - maybe you're right!
My DS is 8 months old and I don't feel I've "lost myself" exactly-it's just different. I agree with pickle, motherhood has made me a friendlier person I think. I still go out with my mates every now and then and as for the swearing I'm going to have to cut it out or else little'uns first words will be "bollocks"!!
As for your judgey mates, it may be that:
1. They are perfect. Their children are happy and clever and eat only organic , homemade food whilst they remain beautifully turned out with great, fufiling jobs, amazing sex lives and immaculate houses. They are well within their rights to judge others as they've got it sussed. These people do not exist.
2. It's just a bit of normal bitching- everyone does it a bit at work( "Jon is always late", "Nicky never hands in reports on time" etc) and this is their new job.
3. They're covering up some massive insecurity. People who are happy with their parenting decisions don't care what other people do/think.
4. They're just a bit awful.
It's probably a bit of all of these.
A lot depends on the level of support you get. I have family nearby so can get out with OH fairly regularly. My OH also pulls his weight with childcare, which makes a difference.
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