Mental Health / Pregnancy

Unpacking the Taboo (But Common) Fears in Pregnancy

People often associate pregnancy as this glowing, mystical experience of falling in love as you imagine your new family. But for many women, pregnancy feels far more ambiguous. What will become of your life? What if you don’t bond with your baby? How can you be sure you’ll be a good mother?

Unfortunately, pervasive taboos around motherhood and pregnancy often prevent women from disclosing their fears. As a result, they withhold their uncertainty. They obsess privately to themselves. Most of all, they feel alone. Scared, confused, and alone. 

That said, many women experience these fears during pregnancy. They’re normal! This is a life-changing experience, and it can be frightening. Let’s unpack what you need to know. 

What If I Don’t Love My Baby?

Some women feel an insurmountable surge of unconditional love the moment they see those two pink lines. Others don’t. They don’t feel any love throughout the dizzying marathon of ultrasounds, doctor’s appointments, nursery preparations, or baby showers. 

Those women often assume something is wrong. Why don’t they look like the euphoric women on Pinterest or Instagram? 

Love is a unique and personal experience that differs in every relationship, including the one between mothers and their children. You may fall in love quickly. You may build love more gradually. Your love may even ebb and flow. All experiences are natural and valid.

What If Something Is Wrong With My Baby?

It’s every mother’s absolute nightmare. When you’re pregnant, you can’t see or know your child just yet. You can pass the blood tests and smile at the ultrasounds, but pervasive anxiety can make it impossible to trust that things will be okay. 

First, know that it is absolutely normal to worry about birth defects. Like any loving mother, you want a healthy and thriving child. Birth defects impact about 3% of all babies. However, this figure includes all types of defects, many of which do not cause any long-term health issues. 

Talk with your doctor about the best measures for protecting your baby. Consider meeting with a therapist if the anxiety continues to persist. 

Will I Ever Sleep Again?

Yes! Knowing mothers will love to echo the cliche, get your sleep now, sentiments. Indeed, the first few weeks and months may feel rough. You will lose sleep. This is unavoidable. 

The days may blur together. Sleepless nights can test even the most resilient and optimistic people. At some point, you may even laugh hysterically at how obsessed you become with your child’s nap and sleep schedule. 

But all phases in motherhood are so temporary. The hardships pass. You will sleep soundly again. And that sleep will feel more victorious than you can imagine!

What If I Lose My Identity In Becoming a Mom?

First, your identity will change in becoming a mom. This change is undeniable. Your priorities and needs will evolve. You will structure your days differently. 

But we must remember that identities are fluid. They are not limited to rigid, all-or-nothing definitions. You can be a mother, and you can be a wife, friend, daughter, dancer, traveler, or artist. In this life, you can take on many roles- as many roles as you want. 

Do I Really Have What It Takes To Become A Mother?

Are you willing to learn? Do you have a desire to grow? Are you capable of love and compassion? The truth is that nobody really knows if they have what it takes to become a mother until they become a mother. 

You can do all the preparations, and you can read all the parenting books, but motherhood transcends intellect and how-to lists. Motherhood blends intuition with logic. It requires trusting yourself and leaning on support. Motherhood isn’t about being perfect. Your best can and will be good enough.

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Will Pregnancy And Childbirth Destroy My Body?

Yes, your body experiences changes during pregnancy. You’re growing life, after all! But change isn’t synonymous with destruction. As women, our bodies constantly change. We may not always like our “new normals,” but they are a natural part of this life.

Every woman responds differently to pregnancy. Moreover, postpartum bodies come in all different shapes and sizes. Genetics and lifestyle both play a tremendous role in determining what changes you encounter. 

Regardless, your body is doing an amazing thing right now. Honor it by eating well, staying active, and treating it with kindness and compassion. 

Did I Make The Wrong Decision To Have Children?

Any significant life transition entails some fear and uncertainty. As humans, we are creatures of habit. We like our routines and predictability. They provide us with comfort.

You know that motherhood will change your typical routine. You know things will feel unpredictable and unstable for a while. However, you don’t know your own resilience, and you don’t know your future feelings!

Remember that the anticipation of regret can be more toxic than regret itself. Life doesn’t work in complete absolutes. It’s okay to be excited and also scared. It’s normal to love your child while also grieving your old life. Trust that, in time, we all tend to adapt, grow, and even thrive with the choices we make.

Final Thoughts

Pregnancy triggers a complex whirlwind of emotions. You (or your baby) are not doomed because of them. Fear is normal. It’s a sign that you care about yourself and the beautiful life growing inside of you!

We’re here for you throughout your journey. We believe in education, empowerment, and offering a one-stop-website for all your pregnancy needs. Have a question or thought? Contact us here!

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Nicole Arzt, MFT About Author

Nicole Arzt is a licensed marriage & family therapist with nearly a decade of experience treating issues related to anxiety and mood disorders, parenting and family dynamics, complex trauma, and substance use disorders. A professional content writer, she has authored hundreds of scholarly articles for mental health professionals, treatment facilities, and nonprofit organizations. Check out her website at souloftherapy.com