Pre-Baby Ambivalence

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I had some abdominal pain while in Lake Tahoe. I was definitely worried about Jackson and times like that really open my eyes to how devastating it would be to have anything happen to him and how protective I already feel over him.

However, I am still so ambivalent towards having a baby at home! Some days I can see myself having him here with us and other days there is nothing I want less than to bring a baby home! (Maybe that’s extreme- I still would not want anything to happen to him!)

I’m not sure if all moms-to-be feel this way or if just moms who didn’t really ever want kids feel this way or if I’m like, the only mom in the entire world to feel this way. I sort of feel like the only mom in the entire world to feel this way. I’ve briefly mentioned feeling like this to my coworkers who have kids and while some of the women do say that having a newborn is hard and that it took them awhile to really fall in love with their child, most of them just say, “Wait till you hold that baby! You’ll just fall in love in a way that you never have before!”

I have to be honest here. That is the line I have come to hate the most. Without a doubt. I think it really sets new moms up for failure. I do think that the majority of new moms genuinely do feel that way- like they are just so overcome with love when they hold their new baby. But there are moms who aren’t. (Clearly I can’t speak from experience, but I have heard.) Some moms take months to fall in love with their babies or to feel connected to them. While they may feel something indescribable when they hold their baby for the first time, I don’t know that women should set this expectation that it’ll be this amazing love that you suddenly can’t imagine living without. I sort of feel like I’m going to hold Jackson for the first time and be overcome with emotions but have no clue what those emotions mean. I won’t know if I love him or if I am terrified or if I want to just go home to mine and Jon’s pre-baby life and leave him at the hospital! And that’s totally okay. I think it’s okay that some moms take months to feel like they love their child and I think that by feeding people this line about how they will just fall immediately in love is just dangerous. Many moms suffer from postpartum depression and I’ve already said that is a huge fear of mine! Your hormones are all over the place after having a baby! I wish moms would tell me, “You know what! You may hate your new life. You might even hate your baby. You might wonder why the hell you ever thought having a baby was a good idea. And that’s okay. That doesn’t make you a bad mom. You’ll get there eventually, but it might take time.”

One of the pediatric nurses I work with (who has a 19 year old daughter) said to me the other day that when you’re tired and hormonal and your baby won’t stop crying, she totally understands why people shake their babies. I think that’s the most comforting thing for a mom to say (to me), because I imagine those times where you just want to go leave your baby in the woods far, far away at 3am when you haven’t sleep for 3 days happen. And I guarantee new moms feel that way. So completely and utterly overwhelmed and frustrated, and I’m sure it makes them feel like horrible mothers to be that frustrated with their children and with themselves. Instead of making them feel bad about it or like they’re abnormal for feeling that way, it seems safer to validate their feelings and acknowledge that those feelings happen and that one day, it will be okay… Just maybe not at 3am with your crying baby…

So, as I’m 12 weeks away from having a child for the rest of my life, I’m getting less and less exciting. I still enjoy being pregnant. I still love feeling Jackson kick and move around. But the whole thought of having a baby? It sounds so unappealing. I’m having a crisis and all I want to do is travel. I can’t imagine being married to a man who can’t clean up his freaking mess! How are we going to have a child together when my husband drives me freaking insane?! (And the other 50% of the time, I think he’s the best thing since sliced bread. I’m always a little crazy, so add pregnancy on top of it and I can’t decide if I think he’s the best husband ever or the most annoying husband in the world.) What if  get this baby home and hate it? What if Jon doesn’t even understand why I hate this baby and then he wants to divorce me? Would I be a bad parent thought if I just decided that I don’t even want to take care of him and just tell Jon to take Jackson and go make their own life and pretend I don’t even exist?! What if this baby is the biggest mistake of my life? What if I don’t ever get over wanting to go travel the world and feel trapped in this “mom-life?” More and more, I just want to cling to the life we have. I want to comfortably fit in our 1,100 square foot condo with two bedrooms, near Atlanta, that we can easily afford. I don’t want to decide if we should move to the suburbs or stay here until we can afford a bigger house in this area. I don’t want to give up my 10am and 12pm gym times. I don’t want my abs to separate. I don’t want to wake up and feed a baby. I don’t want to have to feed my kid from my boobs at all. I don’t even want to have to clean up poop and pee. I don’t want it to take me an extra hour to feed my baby and dress him before gathering up all his baby shit and running to the grocery store for two things. I just want this childless life to last way, way, waaay longer than 12 more weeks!

I wish when I said this to people, just one person would say, “I felt the same way. I went to deliver my baby and didn’t really want to take it home. I didn’t even want to take it home when I did have to leave. But it’s okay. And now, I wouldn’t change it for anything.” But instead, everybody says, “You’re going to hold the baby and forget all about it!” I hope that I do forget about all 29 of these awesome, childless years of my life in the split second that my baby pops out of my vagina, but I’m not buying it. I know how awesome my life is and how many trips I could afford to take if I wasn’t going to be lugging a baby around with me, and we all know that traveling is my real dream- not being a mother.

So guys, I’m just going to cling desperately to these last 12 weeks before Jackson is born. And I’m going to remember this post that I wrote so if another person ever says this to me and I forgot what it was like, I can remind myself. And maybe somebody else who is pregnant will read this and actually think, “Oh good, I’m not alone.” But hey, maybe I am alone. Maybe I am a terrible future mom for thinking this way. But ya know what? Whatever. This is how it really feels. If I’m going to talk about being pregnant and having a baby in my blog, then I’m going to be honest about it.

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10 thoughts on “Pre-Baby Ambivalence

  1. The women in my family always says that don’t be in a hurry for the baby to be born because once it is, you’re going to wish it was still inside you. That’s what they tell to every anxious women waiting to have their body back and not be pregnant. I get overwhelmed having to hold someone’s elses baby and they won’t stop crying, let alone my own. Sometimes I want to have a kid and then I think about everything I have to sacrifice and that doesn’t seem like fun. But I do think that when you first hold him, that you feel that magical aw that everyone talks about for most mothers, but then reality hits and you start to resent that screaming baby. Just because every mother is in awe when they first hold their child it doesn’t mean they stay in awe. I think most parents resent their children sometimes and want to be selfish, that’s normal.

    • I hope so! I feel like people without kids are so much more realistic sounding about this stuff than the moms that I talk to, but maybe those moms really know something that I don’t know yet! I also feel like a lot of people grow up always wanting kids, and the people that I talked to that really enjoyed their lives are a little more real about it too. I was up in the air about how much we wanted kids when I got pregnant. I wanted them when we first started trying, but I would go through short phases where having kids seemed like an okay idea and then the rest of the time, it seemed kind of like a terrible idea, haha. But it’ll all work out, I’m sure 🙂 As long as I find a way to keep traveling, I’ll be happy!

  2. I think it’s good you are honest about your feelings even if it hurts other people’s feelings or doesn’t seem right- Sometimes the truth hurts I guess! I bet a lot of those women who say those things actually felt the same way but were too scared to admit it. I’m not pregnant and haven’t been, but I would be like you and absolutely terrified because we’ve never been “kid people” and any pregnancy would be a shock and surprise to me. I also think a lot of couples (but esp. moms) give up their whole lives for their kids and the marriage becomes about the kid instead of the couple. I’ve seen it happen with my friends but also with some of my friends’ parents- once all the kids were out of the house and the parents were empty nesters, the parents didn’t know what to do with themselves and divorced.

    As far as being in awe when you see your baby, you probably will be. I hate to compare having a kid to something as trivial as running, but maybe it’s like the “runner’s high”, I mean you have all those hormones and the excitement *in the moment*, but then you have the weeks to come and getting adjusted to a new life that people don’t seem to want to talk about…

    • Yeah, I definitely know that seeing our baby for the first time will be something crazy, and I’m sure it will be positive! But still, there are so many emotions before and after that moment that matter too! I’ve never really been a kid person either and although I really like working with them now, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m excited about having my own at home with me all the time! Even when we get together with all our nieces and nephews, it’s overwhelming because there are just so many kids and I’ve never really been into that. I’m hoping that Jon and I don’t lose who we are individually or let our marriage take a back seat just because we have kids, but I feel like in the beginning, it’s inevitable that your life will revolve around a newborn- you just have to work to get it back to where it was once the baby is a little more independent.

  3. I don’t think you are alone at all, I think it’s perfectly normal to have doubts and feel unsure when your life is about to change forever. I think people are scared to admit they felt or feel that way because they think saying it will make them sound like a bad parent and I’m not sure if it’s just my Facebook friends or if it’s everywhere but parenting seems to have become a competitive sport!!!! I’m no expert but I guess you’ll have days where you totally resent your son for the sacrifices you’ve made for him and you’ll have days where you think he’s the best decision you’ve ever made.

    • That is exactly how I feel about the days where I feel like he’s the best decision ever and then days where I resent him. I’m sure the days where I resent him will mostly be those first really difficult times, but as I get used to the change in lifestyle, those moments will probably kind of fade away. I think everybody on Facebook just posts the positives or will post something negative, but not really about their actual emotions, and that’s totally normal. I don’t put this on FB! But in a blog, I think it’s important to actually talk about these things!

  4. I agree with the other comments– you don’t sound like a bad mom at all! If anything, I think you are being real. People don’t want to talk about these things because of how they will be judged or what other people will think. But, I think it’s good to talk about all of this! I don’t have much other input on this since I’ve never been pregnant nor do I really see myself having kids in the future. If it does happen, I kind of have a feeling I’m going to be in the same boat as you right now.

    • I definitely think women feel shame for feeling this way, although I’ve managed not to feel any shame YET. I have a feeling when I have a baby at home, that may change, but for now I feel like this is just part of it. There has definitely been more uncertainty in being pregnant than I ever expected!

  5. I love love love your honesty here. I feel some of the same things, especially about that first moment of holding him! I remember before I got married that everyone talked about how magical walking down the aisle would be and it almost took away some of the joy because I felt like I SHOULD be super emotional and overjoyed in that moment. I think the first moment I see our son will be overwhelming and wonderful, but you’re right that so many things will go into that and it won’t just be joy and love – there will probably be some fear and exhaustion mixed in. I’m grateful for your honesty and hope you never feel ashamed or embarrassed by people’s responses to it. The world needs more women willing to speak out about what their experiences of life events are actually like! So keep on sharing…I love it! 😉

    • Thank you! I know you’re right there with me and I feel like a lot of your blog posts about pregnancy are right on track with how I’m feeling too! It’s such a HUGE, life changing event to have a baby and it doesn’t always seem like the most positive experience all the time! I think women need to really be open with how they feel and I’m trying to keep it that way, because I really am worried about postpartum depression and am trying not to just shut down if that does happen to me! Thank you for commenting! I’m glad other pregnant women are able to support this view also!

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