Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Coping with poisonous fears

I posted yesterday about some of the physical struggles I've been having with my pregnancy, and I got lots of great comments filled with advice and encouragement. I read all the comments today, and I've had a huge attitude change.

I've been very scared for the last several weeks. I've been afraid of the pain and changes my body will go through. I was afraid that I wouldn't love my baby. I was afraid that Conrad and I would not be as close as we were before. Your encouragement has sparked excitement in me, and I'm getting a lot more excited for the future.

But I do want to address one of those fears: Being afraid that I wouldn't love my baby. The following, in italics, is part of a post I had written a while ago but decided not to publish because of it's negativity. I'm sharing it now because of the change of heart I've had.

I'm so early in my pregnancy that I haven't had any kind of bonding moment or maternal instinct for the baby. I don't know what it looks like, I don't know its gender, I haven't felt it move or heard its heartbeat. I haven't even felt any sort of protective instinct for it. When most people want to eat something unhealthy, they might refrain, using the logic that "it's not good for the baby." Most people would continue to take their prenatal vitamins, even if it makes them sick, because it's good for the baby. Not me. I haven't taken my prenatal vitamin in 6 weeks. And I honestly eat whatever I want.*

The only thing I've felt from/for this baby is illness, fatigue, and, honestly, fear and a little resentment. Conrad already loves it. How is that possible? I don't even feel love for it yet. What if he loves the baby more than me, and our relationship drastically changes? He rubs my little under-belly (where my uterus pokes out) and talks to it. Other people will ask me questions or say things like "aren't you just so thrilled?!" and "aren't you so in love already?" and "oh, your dream is just coming true!" I sit there with a forced smile on my face and use all my will power to just nod my head. The truthful answers are "not yet," "not yet," and "this was never a major dream of mine."

I know these fears are a little bit blown out of proportion by my ever-shrinking brain (thanks again, Baby). But just because I know they are kind of silly, or driven mostly by hormones doesn't make them any less real to me. I also know that these fears will go away as I:

- stop feeling sick
- hear the heartbeat, find out the gender, and get to know my baby more
- can start nesting
- am able to have other bonding moments with it

As I learn how to deal with the sickness and I start feeling better (very largely thanks to your advice), I'm able to be more positive and think about the good things that will come. Thank you so much for your encouragement, and for being excited for me when I wasn't excited for myself.

How did you guys deal with these feelings?

*My dad will read this part and promptly call me. I recently visited my family, and when he saw me eating appetizer meatballs or chips and dip, he'd take it away from me and say "babies aren't made out of that," and slide a vegetable tray my way. I think it's cute that he's so concerned and aware of what babies are made of.


  1. I think you & I must have conceived around the same time :)
    I’ve been sick and tired too, and getting awful hormonally-induced hives at night. It’s been tough. But I keep reminding myself that the joy of having this child will far outweigh the difficulties in the end, and that this child has a destiny and a purpose that I am privileged to help bring to being. Thinking on the bigger picture seems to be a sustaining force, for me anyways :) All the best to you and Baby.

  2. I was in a sex education class (I used to teach sex ed and so I had to take a refresher course every three years) and I was 17 weeks pregnant with my first baby and the teacher was talking about motherly instinct and asked me in front of the whole class, "Don't you already feel so much love for your baby?" And I had to say. . . no. Sorry. It was awkward. But honestly all I felt like was that I had a three month long flu. Hearing the heart beat didn't really do anything for me either. But feeling the baby move (about 18 weeks) and seeing the ultrasound was huge. Knowing the gender and being able to pick a name helped me feel like she was a real person. Also getting far enough along to buy some clothes made me excited. Its just so great that you don't get pregnant and have a baby a few weeks later. You get 9 months to adjust to the idea of having a new baby.

    And when Olivia was a week old or less I told my mom that having her was a bad idea! It was just a big adjustment. After two or three weeks I was so in love that I've never had that thought cross my mind again. Don't worry about loving your baby, it will happen on its own time just the way you need it to. No need to force it or worry about it. :)

  3. I think it's totally normal & okay to not feel that bond yet with your babe. It didn't even seem real to me until the second ultrasound where we saw her little profile & heard her heartbeat. But even after that, I knew I loved my little unborn babe because of course I would, but I totally didn't feel any sort of bond/connection until she was born. Like I knew I was carrying a baby & she was mine, but not knowing what she looked like or being able to hold her kind of made it a disconnected thing for me. It's weird to explain. It also became VERY real & weird & a lot more important to me when I could feel her move. Before that I was always asking myself "Am I actually pregnant? How do I know I'm just not getting chubby?" I didn't feel her move until I was 18 weeks or so, so my whole first trimester was second guessing if I was even pregnant to begin with! Anything you feel is totally normal :) pregnancy is such an emotional roller coaster and all mommas have been through so you're not alone! We're here for you girl! <3

  4. I didn't feel any sort of real bond or connection until the first ultrasound. If you read my "First Trimester Milestones" post back in Dec 2011 you'll see that that's when I instantly fell in love. In a letter to my baby, I wrote, "You are so tiny! You have a head, and arms and legs, and fingers and toes, but are just over an inch long. Your heart beats so fast! We could see it pit-pattering on the ultrasound screen." THAT'S when it hit me. I was nauseous and wearing too-tight jeans with rubber bands on the button because there was an actual living being inside of me. Not some parasite, but a baby. A teeny, tiny person. <3


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