Any new, big life change is tough. I'm guessing that becoming a parent for the first time is hands down one of the hardest life transitions.
Granted, it's a good change. One that I want very much. Yet, the unknown is always scary.
Sometimes I can't stop myself from thinking: 1) What if I don't know how to soothe my fussy baby? 2) What if my son isn't healthy? 3) What if we really can't afford this child?
I never dwell on these fears too long though because they have simple enough answers: 1) Parenthood is a learning experience, I'll make mistakes but I'll figure it out. 2) Obviously, I'll love my baby no matter what. We'll do our best to manage whatever health challenges he may have. 3) Since getting laid off, this is a huge concern of mine. I'm really, really hoping my unemployment status is temporary.
There are 3 fears that I cannot shake. I've literally thought about them constantly since getting pregnant.
1. Bathing my baby. I don't know why, but giving such a tiny person a bath terrifies me. I'm afraid he'll drown, I'll get his umbilical cord or circumcision wound infected, or I just won't get him really clean. I know the nurses will show us how to bathe him in the hospital shortly after his birth. Still, I'm going to force my husband to help me out the first hundred or so times we give our son a bath.
2. My two babies won't get along. It's no secret how much I love my furball. Although he's not exactly nice. He hates other dogs, but thankfully adores people. He's been around babies before and always does well. However, he's never been around me with a baby. Nati has some pretty serious anxiety issues (no clue who he gets that from ) and is quite attached to his mama. He's been my baby for 9 years and I'm not sure how he'll react when I have a new baby attached at my hip…
3. I'll get postpartum depression. Depression is not a state of mind. It's not a mood. Nor is it a choice. I have a very strong family history of depression and anxiety. I've been on anti-depressants, gone to therapy, and my anxiety issues are no secret around here. Luckily, I have been managing my mental health fairly well through exercise alone for the past 3- 4 years. There's a reason I never take more than a couple of days off exercise at a time: I love what running does for my body, but much more so, I need it for my mind. Post-childbirth I'll need 6 weeks off from working out to heal (more if I need a C-section and less if I have an uncomplicated vaginal delivery and miraculously heal quickly). Six weeks without exercise petrifies me. That alone will significantly up my risk for postpartum depression. If I am diagnosed with postpartum depression, it will undoubtedly affect my ability to care for my son.
I truly believe we're only given what we can handle. I hope these fears end up being non-issues. But I know with a great support system, I'll be able to face whatever comes my way.