Thursday, March 6, 2008

Scared of Becoming a Parent

We were married 8 years before we even began trying. Then it took a year and fertility meds to actually get pregnant. Obviously this was planned. And I'm definitely excited about finally becoming a parent. So why then am I also so damn scared? It isn't just me either. Jeramy commented the other night on how he is about to lose his freedom.

Now I'm not talking about the fear of miscarrying or having something else horrible happen during this pregnancy. I am scared of those things too. Rather, there are definitely days when I have to wonder if we're going to make it as parents. As it is, we can barely manage to dress ourselves in the morning, work all day, make dinner, and maybe (just maybe) clean the house up just a little bit. How on earth is a baby going to fit into all of this?

We both work, and with the exception of my maternity leave that won't be changing. Jeramy and I make the same amount of money (okay he beat me by like $200 or something last year, but whatever), and losing 50% of our income is simply not an option for us. IF one of us were to stop working it wouldn't get to be me as I'd lose too much wage-earning power, and my job is much more stable as it is not as subject to the whims of the economy unlike his construction job. I'd be fine with Jeramy quitting his job, but he wouldn't be fine with the toll that would take on his toys. So even if we drop the NK from DINK, we're keeping the DI.

Obviously there are ways to make this work but it does feel a little overwhelming at times. Luckily there are two of us, so it isn't like it is just me that has to make this work (how single parents do this is beyond me). Perhaps some of it is about lowering standards or changing assumptions about how parenthood should be. I don't know. But I think I'll be finding out sometime this fall.

I'm sorry if this post sounds whiny or ungrateful. That is not what I was intending. I'm incredibly excited about being a mom, and I want this more than anything. At the same time I do have to be realistic. I just know that raising children isn't all rainbows and sunshine, and after it being just Jeramy and I for nearly ten years, this is going to be a major adjustment. And if anybody out there wants to share how they managed this transition, I'd love to hear from you.


Mazzy said...

I'd feel the same way. I am not going to quit my job, either, and I (not even pregnant yet!) constantly wonder how we are going to make it work. I have to think it's like anything else in life, though, it just works out. I am sure you guys will make fabulous parents and everything will fall in to place.

Kathy V said...

I think all rational parents have to ask this question at one point in time (about being ready to become a parent). Afterall your child's life will rest in your hands. Just the fact that you are saying that you are scared puts you a step in the right direction. Afterall these kids don't come with an instruction manual. Tell me what you encounter so I know what to look for.

Shelby said...

You so aren't alone! I felt the same way when I was expecting my daughter, and believe it or not...felt the same way with my son. Being scared is good, because it makes you a little more aware of the huge changes the baby going to make in your lives (not that you can really predict that). It's so hard. But really wonderful to see the person you've loved for years, be a parent. It's a kind of love that words just can't describe.

It doesn't get any less scarier either. Every year brings something new. Whether it be learning to walk and becoming more active, learning to talk, taking classes, starting school... it's always something new. And it's all a bit scary. But it's fun at the same time. It's like a roller coaster, but you get the hugs and sloppy wet kisses that make this roller coaster completely worth it.

It will all fall into place though. And it will be great! Once the sleep deprivation is past, that is!

Jaime said...

I think it is probably very normal to be scared. It is probably the biggest lifestyle change that you will ever go through. I'm sure that although it won't be perfect, you will get by and be a great parent. I imagine that once you have that beautiful child, you won't even remember what you have given up.

Barb said...

I feel like that and I don't even have a pregnancy yet! It's always been on my mind, and I imagine on most peoples' if they don't have a nanny and a three figure salary.

Adoption scares the PANTS off me b/c it's a more real likelihood that we will have a child, and that makes THOSE worries all the more real as well.

You're human sweets.

Jennifer said...

I'm sorry to say that I have nothing to share but your fear...we have been married for eight years and are wondering the same things now that we have a lil pumpkin on the way. As I look around the house at the mess it's become since the all-day morning sickness set in, I have to wonder how I'll find the extra time and energy to hold it together when we throw a baby into the mix. Yikes! All I can say is that we aren't the first to go through this and certainly not the worst off, so I'm trying to have faith in knowing that it will all work out. Even though I know in my heart it will, it doesn't change the fear that I feel now. Anyway, I know what you are going through. Hopefully we'll both be fabulous mommies and our hubbies fabulous daddies! Good luck to you and yours, girlie!

Nicky said...

The day I found myself worrying about being a parent was the day I realized that I was starting to have confidence in my pregnancy. Everybody stresses about being able to handle it, but I figure that, mentally, it has to be easier than dealing with infertility, and you managed to get through that!

Barry said...

I so vividly remember walking out of the hospital with Jake thinking "Holy crap! They are just gonna let us walk out of here without a manual or anything!!". It's totally "On the job training", but don't worry, you'll do fine (you don't have a choice). Besides, you've already had some training raising Cujo, having a baby is not that much different than having a dog (I can just feel people wincing out there when I say things like that). The only difference is you can't throw the baby outside when it throws up on the carpet.

Ahhh, the loss of freedom. It's true…and I honestly think it's the hardest thing about becoming a parent. Suddenly you go from just being responsible for just yourself to having a little 10 lb ball and chain attached to you that must be fed and monitored - granted it's a really, really cute ball and chain. Now, I know a lot of people who want to be with their children 24/7 and can't imagine being away from them for any length of time. I'm going to tell you right now that you will hear this statement when you tell people you plan to put the baby in daycare when you return to work: "Oh we could never do that! We feel it's best for the child to be home with their mother (or father, whatever the case may be). Even if they don't come right out and say that you will likely get the "vibe" that they disapprove. Screw 'em. You do what you feel is right. Of course there are good daycares and bad daycares - like most parents you will research the heck out of it until you find the right one for you. I truly think our kids have benefited from going to daycare. From what I've seen they adapt to varying social situations way better than kids who've been sheltered at home with mom their whole life. Besides, they would be bored out of their minds if they stayed home with me all day. When I tell people that Suzie and I are going on vacation the first question usually is "Are you taking the kids?" and my response is often "Nope - we want to have fun".

Having kids is awesome, you'll be amazed, and scared, at how much you love them. But just because you have kids doesn't mean you have to give up being you.

Annalien said...

I also have to work, both for the income and the stimulation. I would never make it as a sahm, I will go crazy. The transition to parenthood is NOT easy, but gradually everything seems to fall into place sort of by itself (for us it took 6 months to a year). You will make it, I promise!

A few tips:
- Be prepared for the first 6 weeks of baby's life to be kinda crazy. It gets much easier thereafter.
- Try to get into a (flexible)routine as soon as possible (after 6 weeks). Also divide the added "baby" tasks between you and dh.
- Very important, make time for yourself and your relationship. Get a babysitter once a month and don't feel guilty. Baby will be happy if his/her parents have a happy relationship.