First-time moms, it is okay to be scared
Let me just start by saying I do not want you to be fearful during your pregnancy like I was. While it is okay to be scared, I just do not want it to consume you the way it did me.
So I put my heart into everything I wrote in this post (like I always do). It may be long, but I want you to be ready to take on your pregnancy with strength and your new role as a mom with confidence.
I want you to feel empowered and to know that you will get through your fears!!!
Did you just google that you are scared of being a mom?
Just about every woman who is about to be a mom does a search like this. Becoming a mom is life-changing and change – good or bad, it scares most people.
I mean look at all the terms and choices that pop up when you search it:
Becoming a mom is taking on uncharted territory within yourself. You start out scared and nervous with a lack of confidence.
However, you can grow yourself into something new, and it can be exciting.
The positive part is – it can be the best role you take on during your lifetime, and the early years are absolutely precious. Don’t get me wrong, babies are a ton of work, but they are soo precious.
Is it normal for first-time moms to be scared?
The short answer is absolutely!
Have you ever met a soon-to-be-parent who was not scared or at least a little apprehensive about having a baby? I know I have not.
Change tends to be scary, and our emotions react like crazy when we face it.
According to Inc.com:
“Neuroscience research teaches us that uncertainty registers in our brain, much like an error does. It needs to be corrected before we can feel comfortable again,” said Scott Mautz, Inc.com Science Says This Is Why You Fear Change, Inc.com
Being pregnant can’t be “corrected” it is a permanent change. Once you start wrapping your head around it, you realize many things including:
1. Whoa! It is several changes all in the matter of a few months
2. This is my new life
So, of course, you get scared of the unknown. The next nine months or so are going to be substantial body changes. Then when the baby arrives, you go through a huge lifestyle change.
Here is a list of the top things new moms fear and some recommendations on how to destroy your fears.
I cried when I found out I was pregnant. No, scratch that, I bawled when I found out I was pregnant. It was not part of my life plan.
All these fears I am listing today, I felt them all, especially in the beginning.
But the natural love really did kick in for me while I was pregnant. I think I had like 20 videos of my stomach moving from when my baby kicked. Now I have thousands of photos of my baby who is now a two-year-old. She makes my life complete.
I am just plain scared
1. Destroy your new mom fear by knowing your instincts will kick in
If you are afraid and you do not have any specific reasons or the whole thing overwhelms you, have no fear! You are going to get through them.
First of all, your instincts kick in once you start growing your little one in your belly.
They also kick in once you really start taking care of your baby, like when you first get home.
There will be this crazy moment when you are out of the hospital, no more nurses to help, the fanfare is gone – as in no more visitors and its just you, your partner and your baby.
It gets so quiet you can hear a pin drop as your baby sleeps. Then reality sets in, this baby belongs to YOU. That is potentially a moment when things just click, and you take over the well being of your baby.
2. Destroy your new mom fear by knowing you will learn as you go
Most parents just kind of make things up as they go or google stuff if they can’t figure it out. Knowing exactly what to do for every given situation is impossible. As a parent, you will have tons of questions.
Use your fear to propel you!
That fear will make you start researching and educating yourself about babies and kids. It will force you to go out and get all the supplies you need to take care of your baby.
And as you do all of those things, your fear will dissipate, and you will find the courage within you to keep moving forward.
What if I do not love my baby?
3. Destroy your new mom fear by knowing that love almost always comes around
You start to feel love as soon as your baby grows in your belly. You may feel sick and icky – but you live with it.
You stop doing things like hiking and eating raw foods for your baby – you do it because you want to protect your baby.
It is not easy, but you do it out of love.
As your belly grows into a perfect circle, you start holding onto your belly lovingly. You also begin talking to your belly and doing all sorts of motherly things, it happens to all of us.
4. Destroy your new mom fear by knowing that you can get help
If you really do not feel the love for your baby, know that it takes time for some people. Skin-to-skin and breastfeeding are two ways to get that bond going.
According to WebMD:
“Studies have found that about 20% of new moms and dads feel no real emotional attachment to their newborn in the hours after delivery. Sometimes, it takes weeks or even months to feel that attachment.” Forming a Bond with Your Baby – Why it Always Isn’t Immediate, WebMD
If you still feel like you are not feeling the love and are worried about it or feel it may never happen, then see a professional. There is strength in finding help.
5. Destroy your new mom fear by talking to other parents about their love
When in doubt about the love you will feel when your baby arrives, talk to other parents about it.
For me, 100% of the parents I spoke to told me the love was instant and strong. They all say, no matter how hard having a baby gets – their love keeps growing.
So start looking forward to that new type of love in your life.
If you are pregnant and getting ready for a baby in your life, here are more posts you may enjoy:
What if I get judged by other parents?
6. Destroy your first-time mom fear by reassuring yourself all parents are unsure
It happens to all of us, usually in the form of passive-aggressive comments or judgmental stares.
At the very least, it is annoying, but sometimes it can really hurt you. The worst is when you get judged by people who do not have kids (or do not remember how difficult it is).
Just know all parents have doubts about themselves. Some doubts are real, like cutting your baby when you trim her fingernails. No matter how big or small your doubts are, you are not alone.
Judgment is a vicious cycle. Another mom may be judging you because she is insecure from being judged by someone yesterday.
One thing you can do is stop the cycle.
Respect and support other parents.
7. Destroy your first-time mom fear with confidence
You know that mom that seems to have everything together? Most likely, she is faking it. Okay, maybe not totally faking it, she must be doing something right. At the very least, she has confidence.
Get yourself some of that confidence too! When you are about to go out into public, think about the little things that may throw off your confidence.
Take a leaky diaper, for example.
When that happens, it sucks, and it can get you really down, make you feel like a “bad parent.” In the moment, it could feel detrimental, and you may never want to leave your home again.
Instead of allowing it to let you feel like it’s the end of the world – prepare for it. Go through the scenario in your head, and run through the steps to solve it:
- I have extra diapers/wipes in my bag
- I have extra baby clothes in my bag
- Find the closest restroom – eww this restroom is gross, but I have hand sanitizer
- Get my baby cleaned up
- Put her in an even cuter outfit!
Wow, that was easy!
These things you go through in public with a baby – you can get through pretty easy if you remain calm. Your preparations are what will make you confident and ready if a leak strikes.
While you may not prepare for everything – all the things you plan for can help build your parenting confidence. One mini-crisis at a time.
8. Destroy your first-time mom fear by saying, screw everyone!
We get so caught up in what others think about us sometimes; we forget that in the grand scheme of things, other people’s opinions do not matter. What people think about you is not keeping them up at night – so it should not keep you up at night either.
Case in point – the most beautiful, talented person can come on TV, perform amazing, and what do people do? They judge and hate.
Not even the best of the best in the world can escape judgment and hate.
So it does not matter how good of a job you do in parenting – people are going to think their way is better and may say hurtful things.
As long as you love, protect, and care for your child to the best of your abilities, then you should be proud.
Will my relationship with my partner change?
9. Destroy your new parent fear by preparing for change
You better believe your relationship will change. You will be bonded with this person for life. You will always be the mom, he will always be the dad (at the very least, biologically). It really does change your relationship, but you need to make the changes work towards your advantage.
Rather than letting the change happen on its own and hoping for the best. You can make the changes happen. Take control of what you want your relationship to be like. Start discussing what you expect from your partner.
Here are a few questions to give you an idea of what to discuss:
- What is our parenting relationship going to be like?
- How will we divide baby duties?
- How will we divide household duties?
- Will we both keep working?
- What will we do for childcare? What can we afford?
10. Destroy your new parent fear by working out the new dynamic in your relationship immediately
Becoming a parent is an uphill battle, and such new territory.
It is hard to know exactly what to expect. One thing that helps is growing with your partner. Taking on parenting duties together makes it doable.
Your first relationship test occurs during pregnancy.
Since pregnancy is hard on you, it allows you to see how your partner helps you out around the house and in general.
If he does not step-up and you expect more, then you need to have a discussion about it. Let him know exactly what you need help with moving forward.
If you both start taking on parenting duties and start rearranging your relationship for your baby together, you evolve together, and the change happens over time.
11. Destroy your new parent fear by teaming up
Many relationships do not survive after bringing children into the mix.
One way to combat this is to really team-up. That means raising your child together.
Long gone are the days when men go out and work, and women take care of the kids. With more women in the workforce, having a parenting team is more crucial than ever.
This ranges from dividing chores around the house and agreeing on how to handle challenges when it comes to your child.
All-in-all you need someone you can depend on.
While this should be your child’s other parent – if that person is not in your life, then start working on putting your team together now.
You know that, cliché? It takes a village. It is true; it takes more than one person to raise a child. Whether it is your family that pitches in, your baby’s father’s family or paid help, get it.
What if I lose my identity and independence?
12. Destroy your new mother fear by allowing yourself to just be a mom for as long as you need
Your identity matters.
After having a baby, it is extremely easy to “lose yourself” in the process.
Sometimes you get overwhelmed taking care of your child and figuring out how to be a mom.
Then a few months into being a mom – you finally look in the mirror, and you do not recognize yourself. It happens to all of us.
While it is shocking, you can handle it in a variety of ways, having a plan is the best way to get through it.
You can anticipate your motherly role to take over and be prepared for it. For most of us it is inevitable. Knowing this – you can give yourself a pass to just be a mom for a few months.
If you consciously do this for yourself – then when it is time, you can start working on creating your new normal – that includes your identity. You do not have to be hard on yourself when it happens either or be in shock.
You go through it and own it. You know you did it because you love your baby and temporarily sacrificed yourself for him or her.
This part of your life will not last forever. But just in case here is post on How to Get Out of the New Mom Slump (Eventually).
Or rather than allowing yourself to lose yourself for a few months, you can work on yourself. Come up with a plan that will enable you to focus on yourself during those first few months.
13. Destroy your new mother fear by bringing your old self back once in a while
Find your old self through the activities you do. They can be little at first when you have a newborn, but you can progress as your child grows.
- If you love getting manicures, but life as a mom does not allow you the time or money to get them often – then find time to tame those claws. You can either go to a spa or do your nails yourself.
- Shut off the kiddie music for a while. Put on the music you enjoy as a little escape.
- Do you love coffee shops? Have someone watch your baby for a bit and go to your old stomping grounds for a coffee break. Or you can go to your favorite restaurant.
- Meet up with a friend. If you have a baby-free friend that might be the person you want to see. No talking about your baby (only after showing her about 20 adorable pics)! Or it can be a fellow mommy who can relate. Both are good for you.
Think about that thing you love doing and go do it!
14. Destroy your new mother fear by working on balance in your life
All of us moms must work on our life balance.
It is funny because people get so tired of hearing about balance – but it is precisely what you have to work on all the time.
You can’t work on balance for a month and then expect everything to be alright. It is a constant battle – sometimes we feel like we are focusing too much on work, then sometimes our kids overtake us, then if we focus too much on ourselves, we feel selfish.
You can even go through all of these emotions on the same day. This is why you have to figure out what works best for yourself and accept your plan.
What about my career?
15. Destroy your new working mom fear by working harder
Worrying about your career and where it will go after you have a child is totally legit.
Missing work for a few months will put you behind, and your mind will be preoccupied at work pretty much forever as you worry about your child. As a mother, you are basically on call 24/7, so any incident with your child will pull you out of work.
Anticipate all of this. And know you can get through it, here are some tips on Surviving the Workweek as a Mom 9 Easy Things to Do.
One way to battle it is to work extremely hard in the time that you have dedicated to work.
Up your game, increase your productivity and have an end goal in mind. Just because you have a child does not mean your career is over. All you have to do is keep going in the direction you need to go in.
You will need to adjust your employer’s expectations, though, if you were someone who usually worked late, traveled all the time, or took on extra work, now as a mom that may change. But it does not mean you are any less valuable than you were before you had your baby.
On the other hand, it is easy to become complacent with your career. As a new mom, it can be the path for some women, and that is okay. Sometimes your values shift, and if they do, make sure you can live with them.
16. Destroy your new working mom fear by proving yourself wrong
You may come into motherhood thinking your career is over, but it can be the opposite.
Becoming a mom can give you a different perspective on life and can be just what you need to jumpstart your career or take on a new one.
If I did not become a mom, I would not have this blog or learned all it takes to run a blog. It has been a tremendous learning experience, and I have grown so much from it. Rather than working less as a mom, I am working a whole lot more and harder.
It is not easy, but I feel like it is worth it.
You owe it to yourself to see what being a working mom can do for your life.
17. Destroy your new working mom fear by becoming a role model
Sometimes the most significant motivation in your career can become your child.
Nothing drives a woman harder than taking care of her family. If for you that is working and financially taking care of your little one, then let that be the driver for you.
If you feel that being this amazing, career woman is what your little girl or boy needs, then be that incredible role model for him or her.
I was scared of everything that involved becoming a mother.
The whole thing terrified me. But nothing terrified me more than the actual birthing process.
Oh my goodness, I had extreme anxiety about it. I had nightmares about it and great dreams about painless deliveries. Despite all the worrying and fear, I got through it. You will too.
I am terrified of giving birth
18. Destroy your new mother fear knowing that you will get through it
Whether your baby comes out through your birth canal or is pulled out via cesarean section – girl, you can get through it! Check out my other in depth post on: How to Cope with Your Fear of Childbirth
Have your support around you at all times during your labor and while giving birth. Make sure the people around you will be your advocate for you and your baby if anything happens.
Also, start thinking early on about a birth plan.
Your birth plan will set the tone for your delivery.
Go over your plan with your doctor and those who will be with you when you give birth. It is much easier to plan it out now than try to dictate what you want to do on the spot.
Of course, you can be flexible with your plan, so do not worry about that.
19. Destroy your new mother fear by thinking about the result
The best part about pregnancy and labor and all the craziness surrounding being pregnant is when you have your little one.
There are genuine feelings of accomplishment, love, joy, and euphoria that occur after having a baby. It may not be the exact moment after you give birth, but it happens.
Meeting your child for the first time is amazing. If love, at first sight, does exist, then this is probably the most likely scenario for it to occur.
20. Destroy your new mother fear by preparing your body
When it comes to your body and pregnancy, it may be such a foreign concept for you because you really do not understand it until you go through it, or you are around someone while they are going through it.
It is such a life-changing experience you have to be ready for it.
I always mention what I learned in a birthing class, that the energy you put into giving birth is equivalent to a 50-mile hike. I do not know the science behind it, but I can tell you that was certainly how it felt for me. It was draining.
So do what you can physically to prepare. This means staying active and eating healthy.
It also means doing your breathing exercises to prepare yourself to breathe through some of the pain.
If your doctor recommends you do kegel exercises or to read up on the proper way to push, and other things to prepare, do them. All your preparations will be beneficial when it is your time to give birth.
21. Destroy your new mother fear by getting your questions answered
One way to conquer your birthing fear is to get as much information on the topic as possible.
An excellent way to get this information is through birthing classes at the hospital or through your midwife, and of course, there are plenty of books and resources online.
There is no limit to the information you can find about childbirth. Just do it at your own pace and be prepared to learn about the good, the bad, and the ugly.
A perfect way to learn more about pregnancy and giving birth is to talk to moms who have been through it. This entire article was written in a collaboration with real moms: Contraction Pain Uncensored: What the Agony Feels Like.
Just be warned, moms love to share absolutely everything about their birthing experience, so if you do not want to hear absolutely everything, let your fellow mom know. Moms do not have to exaggerate about their birthing experience, every experience is fierce and unique, but things can get TMI fast.
Do you want more?
Here are a ton more posts just for moms by a mom!
I am scared I will have a wild child (like the problem child know in your life)
22. Destroy your new parent fear by getting to know your baby
You know how you see other people’s kids once in a while, and they drive you crazy?
Well, it is totally different with your own child.
You meet your baby from day one, and you know every little thing about them.
You know her cries, her favorite things, every birthmark on her tiny body, and everything she fears. You know exactly why your child is behaving a certain way (fussy, needs a nap, just woke up, growing teeth, etc.).
She is your child, and at the end of the day, you go home together to learn more about one another.
If you have a toddler and suddenly she is bouncing off the walls at the birthday party, you know she is not like that all the time. You instinctively know that someone probably gave her a massive dose of sugar! It happens all the time.
You know that wild child of yours will settle down and go back to normal. Having a child of your own will also give you perspective on why some kids are wild.
23. Destroy your new parent fear by finding your parenting style
If you are still fearful about having a child, one thing you can do is start researching parenting styles.
Figure out what type of parenting style works for you. Learn about the extreme kinds of parenting and how you do not want to parent your child.
Remember, parenting is open to your interpretation. You do not have to follow everything by the book, you parent the way that works the best for you. Just try your best to be consistent with your child.
24. Destroy your new parent fear by studying other parents
Go to places where there are tons of kids and parents and see how they interact with each other. See what works and what does not.
Sometimes just observing helps you get into the mindset you need to prepare for parenting.
This is a time to be empathetic too, remember you do not want to be judged, and neither do these parents. So if someone is having an off day with their child or feeling overwhelmed, just know we all have days like this.
There are days when your child will be the poster child for perfect behavior. Then there will be days when you have this kid that behaves like she was raised by wild animals. Like you, kids have good days and bad, they get moody and have a full range of emotions.
I am afraid of the responsibility
25. Destroy your motherhood fear by knowing your brain chemicals will help you out with the responsibility
Having a child is a huge responsibility, we all know that. But what you do with the responsibility is up to you. Fortunately, nature provides us with some help.
The “mom brain” you experienced during your pregnancy will also help you out with your responsibilities as a mom.
According to PsychologyToday.com:
Your brain changes, “promote sensitivity to a baby’s needs, making us more responsive parents. Unfortunately, these responses can also have some negative side effects, perhaps explaining why many new mothers feel overly emotional from time to time, especially when thinking about the well-being of their own children.” The Science of Mom Brain – Psychology Today
26. Destroy your motherhood fear by knowing you will do whatever it takes to take care of your child
Much like the love that grows for your child, so do your instincts to protect your child.
You become this fierce mama ready to take down anything that may harm your child. Taking care of your child becomes such a huge priority in your life, you will wonder what you did with all your time before you had a child.
27. Destroy your motherhood fear knowing that those around you will help you out
Hopefully, you will position yourself to not be alone in raising your child. Whether it is your extended family or a tight-knit group of friends, having that social circle around your child is a benefit for both of you.
Fortunately, with a group around you like that, you will have people to lean on and people to help you out.
You are not the only one who will fall in love with your child, the people you keep around them will love them too. Having that support will help spread the responsibility if things become too much for you.
Will my body be ruined?
28. Destroy your new mom body fear by knowing you can get your body back
Oh yeah, your body goes through some crazy stuff for sure. I say “stuff” because so many things happen, not all of it is negative. In fact, your body was made to take on most of what happens to it.
Your body is not “ruined” it is just different. But you can work to get it back into a manageable state for yourself.
That totally depends on what you want and the amount of work you are willing to put into it when you are ready.
Going on a diet the day after you give birth and having an outrageous gym routine is not realistic for most of us. So pay attention to your body, you will know when it is time to start working towards getting it “back.”
You also have to decide what you want “back.”
After I had my baby, I did not want my body back, I wanted it to be better. So I am working towards a healthier life. With a toddler, it is much more manageable. I have time to play with her outside, and I have the motivation to teach her healthy habits, so she becomes a healthier version of myself.
29. Destroy your new mom body fear by knowing it is a temporary time in your life
Having a newborn is such a short period in the grand scheme of things (as is being pregnant).
It is an incredibly impactful moment in your life, and those days will stay with you maybe even forever – but the state of your body will change with time.
Your bleeding body, your swollen body parts, your extreme lack of sleep, and adjusting to this insane lifestyle change will eventually end.
For some of us, it happens when we go back to work and start a new routine. For others, it may take longer to adjust to everything. Just know that having a newborn is a special time that ends as quickly as it begins.
For many, that ending is the beginning of bringing your body back to normal.
Unfortunately, I am at that point in my life where I cannot blame everything on my pregnancy anymore, oh shucks. Time to be held accountable.
30. Destroy your new mom body fear by learning the 101 about how your vagina might change
I like to ask questions and because of that, I was able to gather a few tidbits from real moms on how they feel about their vagina and sex after giving birth:
- Most women were not ready to have sex after six week
- A few had to use lubrication for the first time after having their child
- Actually getting around to having sex with a baby around was one of the biggest challenges in the bedroom
- All women say their husbands did not feel anything different when they had sex for the first time (my husband asked some new dads and they said that physically it felt the same; however, quite a few said that it was better emotionally)
For women, every vagina experience differs after giving birth. I can say the color may change or it may be wider or sex will be different – but every woman’s experience is so different, there is no definitive answer for everyone.
According to Self.com:
“Now, it’s true that pushing a tiny human out of a much tinier hole has an impact. But for most people, it may not be as bad or permanent as you’ve heard.” For a summary of the changes that may or may not happen to your vagina check out the entire article here: 9 Ways Your Vagina Might Change After Birth, Self.com
I told myself I would keep this one short and easy, but as I started writing, I could not help it. I really hope this will be beneficial to those of you who read through it. I just want you to know the honest truth about these topics, and I felt like I needed to be as thorough as possible.
I also do not want your fear to take over your pregnancy as mine did.
Even though it was such an anxiety-driven time in my life, I got through it, and if I could relive it, these are things I would have wanted to know.
With that being said, I really hope that this helped you get over some of your new mom fears. It can be a terrifying time for many reasons, but you should not consume yourself with anxiety and fear.
Instead, let that fear drive you to be the parent you want to be.
Soon you will be the mom sharing your crazy birth story and reassuring future moms that everything is going to be okay.
That is what keeps me going, making sure future moms know what to expect and to be honest and supportive.
If all of us moms rally together, we can make this world a mom-friendly one, then it would not be so scary for future or struggling moms.