I’ve decided that if I can get through this pregnancy and the subsequent adjustment to a baby without too much freaking out, that will show that I have made an enormous amount of progress in the anxiety realm.
I feel I’m getting to the part of the pregnancy in which I’m having more anxious thoughts. Sometimes I think, “is this what I really want?” I know that it is and I know that it is normal to have those kinds of thoughts. I remind myself of those things and it does help.
On the other hand, it is hard to avoid falling into the old fears I used to have about having children. I do feel that I probably would not have been ok with being a parent if not for the past year and a half of therapy to treat my anxiety. I realize now that at least some of my resistance to having kids came from fear. I was afraid that I would not be able to handle it. I had so many moments of depression and panic that I was afraid those moments would happen while I was responsible for the entire care of a completely helpless person. How do you take care of a baby when you feel like you can’t get out of bed or even make yourself something to eat? Basically, how can you take care of a baby when you can’t even take care of yourself?
I still feel afraid, but at least now I know that I have the therapy to fall back on and I am better at asking for help when I feel I can’t handle something. The awareness is also key. I know when I need to ask for help because I notice the rising anxiety and depression more now and I notice it earlier so I can act on it before it becomes panic or complete helplessness.
I am still afraid of being hit by post-partum depression, but hopefully this better awareness I’ve cultivated will help me deal with it if it comes. It won’t be just me dealing with it; I will have help from Dave, our moms for a couple weeks each, and friends.
It does scare me that after about a month Dave will go back to work and our moms will be gone, but hopefully by then I will have built confidence and be well adjusted. If not? Well, I guess I will still have ways to deal with it. Dave and I will figure it out together. I will still have an awesome therapist who is great at helping me understand and tackle my anxiety. In the worst case, we may be able to afford some child care a couple times per week, if necessary.
If I really don’t take to my role as stay-at-home mom/writer, we do have options. As much as the idea of getting a job just to pay for day care annoys me, it is an option and worth it if it turns out to be better for my mental health.
But I haven’t touched on my biggest fear yet. I’ll cover that on Friday.
Are you terrified of having kids? If you have kids, was it as scary as you thought it would be? What helped you manage your fear?