Dear Relationship Expert,
I am afraid of pregnancy. My fear is really strong. My wanting a baby overcomes the fear but the fear is still there. My husband and I are currently trying to conceive. I have thought about it and I think I may have illuminated a couple possibilities of fears.
I am not afraid of my life changing. I love kids and I am comfortable with giving all my love, time and attention to my baby. My husband and I have a strong relationship and I think it will actually even bring us closer than we already are.
I am a little bit fearful of the labor part of it all only because I have heard many horror stories about it. But I also always heard that it was all worth it in the long run. I am really scared about how I am going to feel while pregnant. I am planning on continuing to work when pregnant. It may sound really silly but I am concerned about morning sickness and me feeling sick and all that other yucky stuff. I am worried about being careful and not doing anything to hurt a baby if I were pregnant. And I think I am nervous about my body going through all those changes it goes through. It may be because I think I may not be able to handle it; the pregnancy, the birth, etc.
I don't know of anyone else having this type of fear. My mom was definitely like this. I can't even really talk to her about this since she doesn't understand. I tried to talk to my husband too. He means well and says if I am not ready then it is ok to wait until I am. But I don't know if it is that I am NOT READY. I am just scared. He doesn't understand either; he thinks he does!
Any advice you can offer would be fantastic!
You might enjoy reading some of the natural birthing people on this subject. The Bradley method stuff is the best I think even though it is older. They really get it as a natural process. (See Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way on Amazon). These fears are very normal. Although the Bradley books are for pregnancy they are reassuring and reading them before you are pregnant may help you understand what you are afraid of and that maybe there are things to do do comfort yourself.
It was fun for me seeking out remedies so I didn't get stretch marks and exercises to make the birth easier. Breastfeeding sucked my extra weight right off. I think mostly people get nauseous who try to work too much and don't or can't take naps in the middle of pregnancy. Good nutrition and a girlfriend who enjoyed pregnancy will go a long way toward feeling better.
Also pregnancy slows you down and gets you ready to take someone else's needs in to account. I loved being pregnant even though mine wasn't perfect by a long shot. After the birth you will probably find you need your girlfriends with babies more. Interestingly your hormones will usually help you enjoy it quite a bit more than you think you will and you will even enjoy the birth more than you expect. I think birth is a lot more traumatizing for the husbands because they don't have the hormones to put a gloss on it.
Carol Ummel-Lindquist, author of Happily Married with Kids: It's Not Just a Fairy Tale, received a Masters and Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology at the University of Illinois and completed a pre-doctoral clinical internship at the University Psychological and Counseling Services in Champaign-Urbana. She is a board-certified clinical psychologist and a Professor Emerita of psychology at California State Fullerton, where she has trained other marital therapists for more than twenty years.
Dr. Lindquist retired from California State University Fullerton to devote her time to private practice, workshops for couples with children and completing a book "Happily Married With Children", published by Berkley Press. She lives with her husband and two sons in Laguna Beach, California.