Tuesday, November 21, 2006

35 weeks = I'm scared

I have a confession to make.

I'm scared.

Sunday night, Josh and I were lying in bed and chatting and I must have gotten a funny look on my face, because he leaned over and said in earnest, "What's wrong?" And I promptly burst into tears. I couldn't even put my finger on what I was crying about, but once I'd started, I couldn't stop. Josh immediately flung his arms around me and started offering up different reasons why I might be crying. Was I scared about having a baby? Was I worried about what kind of mom I'd be? Was I overwhelmed because the house is a disaster? Was I stressed because we are still in the midst of a kitchen remodel with no end in sight? (Yeah, did I forget to mention that? My next blogging topic will have to be the third trimester gutting and remodeling of the kitchen.) All I could do was nod to all of his questions, because the truth is that all of those things and more are making me feel overwhelmed.

I keep thinking that as the weeks pass I will feel more ready to have this baby. Maybe I'll feel more ready to be a mother. But I don't. I feel more excited to meet the baby, but I never feel ready. I never think of myself as a mother, even though I already adore this little wriggling thing in my belly. Last night I noticed that if I sing to my belly the baby will move all around, so I sat and sang holiday carols to it for half an hour until it was time for bed. The thought of anything harming this baby takes my breath away, and I picture meeting him or her for the first time and bringing him or her home and I want to cry.

At the same time, though, I try to picture the baby as my child, and the image seems just out of my grasp. Is this normal? Is there something wrong with me? Why can't I seem to fathom that this is my child, forever and ever, amen? I try to think about sleepless nights and long days, and breastfeeding and changing diapers and everything else, and it seems surreal that we'll do this. And do it soon. Very, very soon.

Now I have the outfits and the wipes and the diapers and the butt paste and the breast pads and the blankets, and now what? I have plenty of tasks to do, but what about when all of that is done? What then? When will I feel ready? When will I feel like a mom?

32 comments:

Amanda said...

Hey there! Long time reader, but I don't think I have ever posted. I felt a lot like you waiting for my daughter to arrive. I didn't ever feel ready.

I know you will get lots of comments and everyone will have a different opinion on this which is what makes the blogging world so great, but I don't think you are ever "ready" as in 1-2-3 *poof* instant Mom. What I have figured out over the last 15 months of "sleepless nights and long days, and breastfeeding and changing diapers and everything else" is that being ready is the process of doing all of that. The first time you change a diaper in the hospital is surreal. Fastforward 12 months later when you are changing the diaper on the floor and your child is trying to wriggle away and you suddenly know how to pull off the old diaper, wipe the tush, apply butt creme, put on new diaper, all with one hand so the other hand can hold the wriggling child.

It happens gradually. "ready" is really "over time" You will get tons of advice. There are days when you think you are doing things wrong. Remember this...you are NEVER doing things wrong if it works for you AND your child.

So don't stress about ready...just be in awe of the belly dancing...because you will miss that. I rubbed my belly for two months after my daughter was born just out of habit.

Enjoy your 35th week! And all future weeks. Life is about to get AMAZING!

My Wombinations said...

I wrote to you a while back by email, but I did not have a blog then so I have never actually commented. Now I do and I wanted to tell you I know how you feel about the fears. After I got pregnant, I was terrified for about a week. I called my cousin (scary perfect mommy) and asked her if she ever felt scared. She said no. I said great. But then I started to talk to a lot of other people and everyone said they felt some amount of fear. In fact, the consensus I hear was that the best mothers in the world were really scared about how it was all going to work. Who wouldn't be? It is so much change and so much to think about and so much responsibility all wrapped up in one little wriggling bundle. I am SURE you will be fine and I look forward to reading all about your adventures with your little one, especially since you are six weeks ahead of me! I consider it good training:)

Melissa said...

You know, when I was pregnant with my son I was ready to get started. I don't know if I gave much thought to being prepared enough. I really want him to be born so that I could get started and as a result of 'doing' motherhood, know that I could.

As far as comprehending the enormity of the committment? I can remember being on a road trip- I can't remember how old my son was at the time but he was old enough to make 'demands'. It hit me as we drove along and I had to continually do something for him(he was still too young to really do that much on his own) that this was IT. This responsibility was not going away. This was for the rest of my life! And at that moment I felt such exhaustion. It was surreal to come to that epiphany about my life. I certainly wouldn't change a thing but it is a huge concept to really grasp. I don't imagine you will until the baby is here and you've had some time to adjust to life as a mommy. I can tell from reading your blog that you will make a fabulous mommy. :-)

Elizabeth said...

To be honest, it took me a while with each of my kids to actually feel like I was their Mom. For example, with Kaitlyn, because I got so sick right after having her, I didn't hold her, feed her or change her until a week after she was born! I finally felt like her Mom when I was able to make her bottle, change her diaper and hold her while she slept.

It's okay to feel scared, you're about to have a major life change! You're going to be a great Mom, you know.

Lori said...

Hi, I found you through JuJubee. I was about to write exactly what amanda did, so now I'll just say ditto. I couldn't have said it better myself.

jo(e) said...

Those fears show that you have grasped the enormity of what is about to happen -- you know what you are in for. I can remember feeling like this before my first child was born. It feels overwhelming because it is overwhelming.

This post mostly tells me that you are completely ready to have this baby.

You are going to be an amazing mother.

Rev Dr Mom said...

I think you grow into it...there is no magical "poof, I'm ready now"

and then you grow into being the mother of a toddler....and a preschooler...and a gradeschooler....and a tween...and a teen....it's all a process.

I hope you can relax and enjoy the next few weeks.

Phantom Scribbler said...

{{{{halloweenlover}}}}

jo(e) and Rev. Dr. Mom have nailed it. There's no magical "ready" point to being a mom (though I know that I, at least, reached a "ready to be done with being frickin' pregnant" point) -- and it sounds like you're already there.

I know things must be crazy between now and when the baby comes, but if I can make you relax a little by telling you stories about how ridiculously unprepared I was for any of it, then pencil me in for your next free hour.

kathy a said...

hi, don't think i've commented here before! i was really scared before my first was born, too. what if the baby was sick? what if i didn't wake up when i needed to? what if i wasn't ready, wasn't any good at it?

my big, secret, embarassing fear was of the birth itself. a lot of people around me were evangalists for natural childbirth, and i really don't do pain well, etc. that turned out to be moot; son was a frank breech, and i had a c-section [even though i think there are too many of them], and it all worked out fine.

and the babyhood, toddlerhood, etc. -- it turns out that you really can and do just figure it out as you go along. i was amazed and grateful for the secret parenting network -- all the people who actually have useful advice and help to share -- it seemed like a magical club that is invisible to people who don't have kids, and i felt so welcomed when i joined.

oh, it also turned out that i fell in love the second i saw my little guy.

Not so little sister said...

I'm not a mom, so really I don't know much about this topic. All I can say is it's nice to hear someone who's pregnant have the worries I wrestle with now. I wonder if there comes a point when you are really ready to have a baby. I think not. I hope not because I do want to have kids and I don't think I'll ever feel really ready for more thand 30 seconds.

Also, my friends have just begun to have kids and I think you do just do whatever needs to be done. You and Josh will just do it. Change diapers. Feed. Burp. Use that blue thing for the snot (even though no one likes snot). You'll figure it out. And if you have a question, you have a HUGE resource to draw from. You know we'll all be waiting to hear how things are going.

Good luck. And like everyone else has said: try to relax. I really need a pedicure. Want to join me? :)

nancy said...

(didn't read previous comments, sorry)

You will be a Mom, and the best one you can be. But if you ask me, you never stop being scared about whether or not you are making the right decisions or not. To me, that means we care and love them so much we want nothing but the best for them, even if we don't know what it is.

The falling in love is instant, I am still brought to tears almost daily out of my burst of emotions when I look at my sons. You will too. It is an amazing adventure, you guys will do great.

liz said...

Muffin Man's nearly 5 and I'm still not always ready.

I'll go into his room at night sometimes and look at him sleeping and just pray that I don't do anything to screw him up.

liz said...

Other times, though, it's pretty easy to be the mommy. Especially when you get snuggles.

Gawdessness said...

I don't know when you will feel like a Mom.
I am pretty darn certain you will though.

I remember it all being very surreal for me each time...the becoming Mom to a person.

I also did not feel like one until there actual was a reason too!

You sound so normal.

ppolarbear said...

I got nothin' but I know you're going to figure it all out.

Kendra said...

You'll feel like a mom after the birth. Sometimes it takes a while to sink in, sometimes it will happen immediately. For my first, it took me almost a month to really feel that connection. With my 2nd, it was almost instant. As for feeling ready, I don't think anyone is ever completely ready. Get what you can done and don't worry about the rest. It's very normal to feel like that picture is just out of grasp. You put that into words well! I'd have dreams where I'd birth the baby and then go to look at it and just couldn't see it well. I cried for no reason and every reason while I was prego too. You'll be fine. Relax and take everything one baby step at a time.

Maribeth said...

I was so young and so scared when I had Amanda. I worried so much during the entire 9 months.
Then they put this perfect and adorable baby girl into my arms and all my fears fell away. I still worried and I know I made mistakes, but nothing serious and she has grown into a wonderful woman.
Best of all, you will have all of us to help if you hit a wall.
Hugs!

Jessica said...

Oh, sweetie...all of these fears and emotions are so perfectly healthy! When they place that little life into your arms for the first time, you are going to wonder how you ever breathed without this tiny person in your world.

I've always said that the hardest lesson for me to learn was that I could not protect my son forever (hence, your fear of anyone or anything ever bringing harm to your child) - the realization that I couldn't just tuck him into my womb for safe keeping at will was really difficult...even as he has grown to be a young man, I still have this urge. I've done my best, though, to equip him with the skills he needs to deal with issues and hurts on his own and when he needs extra help or support, you can bet I'm there.

You are going to be the BEST mom. Your baby son or daughter couldn't be luckier. Truly.

Mrs. S said...

I went through the same thing - trying to picture the baby but just being unable to do so - and it scared the poop out of me... I thought it meant I wasn't ready, and never would be (since I never could picture her) and it all just seemed so surreal right up until the moment she was born... and then it continued (and continues) to feel surreal. Sometimes I look down at my new daughter while she's nursing or sleeping in my arms and I just can't wrap my head around the fact that this is MY BABY, even though I have this crazy-protectiveness and love for her that I can't even explain or pinpoint. It's a truly bizarre, but a truly wonderful, experience.

I don't know what else to say except that yes, being overwhelmed is normal and (in my experience) not being able to visualize it is normal... you cannot possibly imagine what you're in for, so not being able to visualize it makes perfect sense. Just focus on all the stuff that's concrete for now, and it'll all come when it comes... don't force it, and don't freak yourself out - the hormones will do plenty of that for you ;)

Feel free to email me (you know, one of the random strangers from the internet) if you want to talk about the weirdness - I'm all ears all the time.

amygeekgrl said...

Hugs.
I don't think you can ever really feel ready. It just happens and then you sit back and are in awe of it all nearly every day. :)
You are going to be a great mama - heck, you already are! :)

Beth Fish said...

You are normal. Normal, normal, normal. This is a completely natural thing to do, you will adjust, you will love it. Normal, I swear.

susan said...

((((HL))))))

You will feel like a mom a thousand times over as the baby comes out and then grows up. I still have moments when suddenly I think, "oh, now I really feel like a mom!" even though it's been almost 4 years since I met Curious Girl.

kathy a said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kathy a said...

happy thanksgiving, halloweenlover! xoxoxoxo

Songbird said...

Ask for help when you need it. Send it away, nicely, when you don't. Trust that what you feel in your bones is almost always what's right for you and your baby. And remember that mothering is an unfolding process, not a conclusion to nine months gestation. Be patient with yourself, and you'll be fine.

OneTiredEma said...

I also had a 3rd trimester realization that I was going to be somebody's mother. And I was not ready.

The good news is that when they arrive their needs are basic (albeit exhausting!!!), which gives everyone time to grow into their roles.

You will be terrific!

KLee said...

I think its very natural, and VERY common, to not feel "ready" for the baby to arrive. I got SO scared when I was in labor -- I thought: There is no way on God's green earth that I can *do* this!! Who was I fooling? I want to stop the whole "birth" thing, now, please!"

I think one of the reasons that it is so scary is because you have no previous expeience at it. It's not like driving, where you get to practice! Sure, you can read all the books, and buy all the stuff, but you can never really KNOW what being a parent is like until you ARE one.

I will say that becoming a parent is hard, and wonderful. Tiring and exhilirating! Sweet and downright nasty. It is all that, and more.

You will be a great mom, I have no doubt. You and Josh are a lot more ready for this baby than you think you are. I promise. It will come very naturally the first time that lay that sweet baby into your arms. and, if you have questions, you got a ready-made family full of honorary aunties who are more than happy to answer questions or give advice. You can do this, girl. We have every faith in you.

Dee Dee said...

Is everything OK? It's been a while since the last post... Hopefully the baby is still cooking.

Kat said...

I've never really felt like I knew what I was doing. It has involved a lot of prayer and my husband and I mentally dividing up who will have to explain whatever the new weird behavior/sound/saying to our children's preschool teacher/therapist/spouse. (For the record he will be getting called to the principal's office way more than I will to explain where my son got something.)

I will say that as I was catching my son's never-ending puke in my hands at the Cracker Barrel while dining with him by myself (and 8 months pregnant) I thought to myself-yep! I'm a mom now! Ha! Fortunately there always seems to be a friend or in my case, a very kind waitress nearby to help with the really messy stuff. It's all on the job training and you will love it as you go. Best wishes!!

Not so little sister said...

Is everything okay? We haven't heard from you in awhile. Did the bun in the oven decide s/he was done cooking? Hope everything is okay!

Lisanne said...

Hi there! :) Could I have your e-mail address? I'd like to write you. Thanks so much! Mine is lvjensen@nycap.rr.com

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