Expectant mothers face incredible pressure. From well-meaning but meddling mothers and mothers-in-law to strangers on the street to magazine headlines, it seems everyone knows better than you how to handle pregnancy and parenting. You don't need to let fear of the unknown be a debilitating factor on how to raise your child. The more you are aware of what is driving your fear, the more you can educate yourself, gather information and overcome your fears.
I Won't Be Good Enough
Put down the glossy magazines, step away from the chi-chi nursery design blogs and assess the good parts of your own childhood. Did you care if all your furniture matched? Did you notice if your mother decided to watch a movie and drink a glass of wine after you went to bed, rather than wash the sink full of dishes? No. And your kids won't either. They will notice if you are supportive, loving and caring. They will notice when you read to them and play with them and love them as fiercely as you can. As long as you love them, you are good enough.
I Won't Know what to Do
You've never babysat. You have no other children. You've never changed a diaper or held an infant. You've never breastfed, you've never mixed a bottle, you've never given birth. This is what prenatal classes are for. This is what the Internet is for. This is what trial and error are for. This is what books are for. You will, even if you've been a nanny or have older children or helped raised your siblings, put his diaper on backward or too loose. You'll be at a loss as to how to get her to stop crying. And that is when you call your mother, your sisters, your neighbor. That is when you'll get online and post to your favorite message board or e-mail your best friend. That is when you visit a library or bookstore. You will, just as so many have before you, muddle through as best you can, and you will learn along the way.
I'll Mess up and My Mistake will Damage the Baby Forever
You went to a martini bar the day before your positive pregnancy test. You soaked in a hot tub and ate brie and scooped the cat box before your midwife told you not to. You will look away long enough for your toddler eat your deodorant. First, put poison control - (800) 222-1222 - on your speed dial. Second, realize that all those recommendations are about risk. Kids are resilient. Is it a good idea to go out drinking every night of your pregnancy? Of course not. As soon as you find out you are pregnant, take reasonable precautions, make healthy living decisions, and manage your stress.
No matter what you fear, if you have a supportive, caring, honest group of friends and family, you will be ok! If you start to feel so overwhelmed by these fears that you are immobilized or think you're going to harm yourself or your child(ren), call your care provider immediately.