Common fears of first-time mothers and how to cope with them
Nia Bennett | Nov, 22 2019
We go through anxieties and fears at different stages in life and this is heightened for a first-time mother or a parent. As a first time pregnant woman, I can second that all the fears mentioned below have run through my mind at some stage. Some have been more troubling than others but the fear is real.
Before you read on, let’s take a second to acknowledge that pregnancy and carrying a baby is hard and if you have experienced one or all of them or more, this is completely normal.
Fear of miscarriage
Most women go through a rollercoaster of emotions, one of them is having a miscarriage. Even doctors warn you that the initial stage of the pregnancy can be tricky because all women stand a risk of miscarrying in the early stages of pregnancy regardless of history in your family or not. The best way to cope with this is to be cautious, take care of yourself and stay calm and do things that will keep you in a positive headspace.
There are several things in life that’s won’t be in your control and this is one of them so worrying about it will only make things worse for your mental health.
Fear of not getting back to your old shape back
Although this was not a big concern of mine in the early trimester, partly because I didn’t put on a lot of weight. The fear of losing control of my body was heightened during the second and most in the third trimester. I almost felt like I was having an out of body experience and paranoid that I will never be able to go back to my old size.
Again, this is a very rational fear and my tip to you is: ignore what others say. Just focus on the present and embrace that your carrying another living being and the only thing that matters during your pregnancy is your and your baby’s health. I found yoga, swimming and every day walk with my husband helped me stay positive through pregnancy.
Fear of consuming the wrong food or drink
Although it is very important to be careful about what you eat or drink, there is no need to go over the top and stressing yourself. Doing a bit of online research on trusted health websites or reading a book written by a medical professional or midwife will give you enough knowledge of what’s good or not during pregnancy.
Being cautious is good but if thinking about what to or what not to eat is taking over your life then it’s worth talking to your doctor, midwife, health consultant or a counsellor. Staying positive is very important for the wellbeing of you and your baby.
Fear of the unknown during labour
For someone who has never done it before, this is definitely a big one! I’d shared my anxiety around this issue in a few pregnancy forums and got criticized for being negative. So I reflected and shared my fears with my midwife, my mother and husband but despite talking to other people, nothing helped.
The fear is real but no one has the answer. You have to trust your body and accept that it will do its best in the moment. The only thing you can control is how you react. So focus on breathing, focus on looking at massage techniques your partner can support you with during labour, focus on having the right people in the room to support you and anything else that can help you and everything else will flow as it should.
Fear of poo-ing during delivery
This is another unknown and sometimes the unknown can be scary. We’re not in full control of our body during birth and some women tend to release while others don’t but going into labour cannot be dignified. It just happens. Your only priority is delivering your healthy baby, anything else that’s meant to happen, will - no amount of thinking or planning will stop things from happening.
Fear that you won’t be your partner's priority
The amount of times I have been told that my life will never be the same again is unreal and if you are pregnant, I bet you have heard it too. As annoying or real it can be: our lives are all different and so is our relationship with our partner. The best way to deal with this fear is to have an honest conversation with your partner. I cherish date nights and love going away on breaks with my husband when it’s just us. It scares me if I’ll come second but the reality is there’s no first or second, we all have our place in the family cycle. When you are ready to step out, you can always hire a nanny, ask a grandparent or explore the option that’s right for you and reclaim your love life and intimacy back again.
Fear that you will be a bad mother
No one is born a parent. We all understand through experience, make mistakes, make adjustments and learn from it. So never let another parent judge you or worse judge yourself before you begin this journey.
If you want to be a mother and you are going through the process of pregnancy (planned or unplanned) trust yourself and acknowledge that you are not alone and don’t let someone scare or judge you. You will instinctively do what’s right for you, your child and your family and be awesome at it.