B and I recently completed our hypnobirthing course. For our last class, we were asked to think of our top 5 fears and rate them on a scale of 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest). I would like to share my 5 fears with you as I believe there is much about pregnancy, birth, and parenthood that we don’t talk about. Many parents are shamed for their fears despite the majority of parents having the same fears.
- I am afraid that B will not be there for me after the birth (ranked 5): Certain things in our relationship have me fearful that it will mean I do a lot of parenting alone. While I completely recognize that as the mom that is staying at home with our son I am going to do most of the baby care I am afraid that it will even extend into when he should also be caring for our son. B has verbally said that he will be there for the baby and the fear is still in the back of my mind. It will be a transition for both of us and we will have to negotiate.
- I am afraid about not knowing what labour and birth will feel like (ranked 3): This is a huge unknown for me as a first time mom. No one can accurately describe pain, and everyone experiences pain differently. I think this fear is mostly linked to me being nervous that I will not recognize when labour is beginning. Hypnobirthing is used to help manage pain but what if I can’t use it because the pain really catches me off guard? I just don’t know what this experience will be like.
- I am afraid that I will isolate myself and not socialize/lose friends because I have a baby (ranked 3): I already isolate myself from others and have been for over 2 years. I don’t want to use the baby as an excuse to stay away from people and experiences. I know that if I do this then I will plummet into sadness. I have heard of people losing friends after they have children and I think it’s more about being at a different stage in life. I don’t want to lose anything because I’m having a baby. I want to gain.
- I am afraid that I will not bond with my baby (ranked 3): Pregnancy is very abstract. I can see pictures of my baby, hear his heart beat, feel him move, see him move and I can even feel body parts. I still don’t see him as being something that is real. I do feel this has affected bonding and I know that actually holding him will make a difference, I still cannot shake the feeling that I will see him and after the initial high I will still feel detached. What parents wants to feel detached from their child?
- I am afraid that my baby isn’t growing (ranked 1): People keep telling me that I look small. When we think of pregnant people we think of a huge belly and I don’t really have one of those. I think this is also a common fear that will never leave me. Parents always want to make sure their children are healthy. I do know that I am growing as evident by the measurements done by my midwife, my belly pictures, and ultrasound pictures. Still, every month I wonder if he is growing.
These are fears. They are not facts. Many of my fears can be dealt with, with facts (ie: measuring my belly to ensure growth) and proactive strategies (ie: attending mommy and baby groups). We all have fears while pregnant and becoming parents. I think if we didn’t have fears then we wouldn’t properly prepare ourselves, open ourselves to different possibilities and improve ourselves.