16.8.11

Letters to a New Mother, Part 1

A very dear friend is pregnant for the first time. As many have been over the past few years. I find that the few things I have to say that are valuable to them aren't much different from one to another. This is for my dearly loved friends who are expecting a baby. This is for you.




You're supposed to be excited. At least, you think you ought to be. Everyone else seems to be. If you are in a loving and supportive environment I expect they would be excited for you to bring a new life into this world, a new person to love.

Maybe you're not in that kind of environment. Maybe you weren't trying to get pregnant. Maybe you are wondering if you should stay pregnant. Maybe excitement is the furthest thing from your mind and desperate and frightened are more accurate words for you.

I'll tell you a secret. I'm pretty sure every woman is afraid at some point during her first pregnancy. It doesn't matter whether she wanted to be pregnant, tried to be pregnant, or tried not to be pregnant, there comes a moment when she realizes the enormity of what it is to be the mother to another person and she is afraid.

So while everyone else around you is feeling emotions of some sort or other about this child you are mother to, you don't feel like you can tell anyone about this fear and doubt that occasionally grips you. You wonder if it means you are a bad mother that you aren't all that excited about this child in your belly who is giving you heartburn and nausea and a growing waistline.

You may even think that you are the only mother to ever feel this way. We are good at keeping secrets, us women. We keep the things we fear close, we rarely talk about it with someone else, and that's why we all think we're alone.

But you're not alone.

However lightly or dreamily you began this enterprise of motherhood, you are now in the thick of it. There's no taking it back. You are now and forever a mother, no matter what happens to the baby, and the only way out of this is through. You are just now realizing how serious this all is. You wouldn't be human if the implications of motherhood weren't overwhelming.

You are starting to get a glimpse, through the body that feels out of control, the choices you are making about this baby in 9 months, of how much being a mother is going to require of you. You are not sure that you have it in you to give what is needed, to love as you believe your child ought to be loved. You have so many silent, private doubts.

You needn't be concerned. In fact, the fact that you are concerned is the reason I'm not very worried about you. I see in that the desire to do the right thing and to care about your child and that is a very good place to start.

5 comments:

  1. Nathaniel & Jessica Moos2:14 AM

    well said... i wanted my baby and still went through the feelings of doubt and fear.  i think the main thing for me that i struggled with was an intense realisation, even before i got pregnant, that this was going to change my life completely forever and there were many moments when i did not feel ready for this!  fortunately, i was able to talk this through with a supportive husband, but not all are blessed like this... being able to talk with someone definitely makes such a difference in realising you are not alone.  

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  2. OH yes. Me too. Part 2 is going to be my version of exactly this.

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  3. My husband and I are less than two weeks away from picking up our 4-year-old son from Ethiopia and much of what you write also resonates with me. He is our first child and everyone around us is excited and constantly exclaims to us, "You must be so excited!" We are excited, but we are also nervous and scared. We've been married 8 years with no children, and the enormity of what we are doing and how it will change our life sometimes leaves me overwhelmed. We'll be okay. We have supportive family and friends, and we rely on our heavenly Father, but these conflicting feelings are sometimes hard to explain.

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  4. Laura,

    I'm so glad you left a comment. It isn't just pregnancy that makes a woman a mother is it? I don't know, but I imagine many of the emotions we struggle with are the same.

    I hope you will keep me posted when you get back. I would love to hear how it's going for your family.

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  5. Anna Siebert4:25 PM

    Thank you.

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