I'll start off by saying that I'm new here, and could use some insight and help from parents with hands-on experience. This post is long, so want to warn you upfront. :)
I'm in my early 30's, have been married for a couple of years (but together for many years), and have two strong, working-breed dogs (that are known to be great with kids) that I love dearly. In terms of my personality, I have never been good with change - I always end up managing in the end, but it's a struggle for me for months whenever I try something new. I end up feeling pretty needy and looking for someone to support me and help me get through the difficult time, cry easily, get anxious, panic/freeze, etc. I had a falling out with my parents a couple years ago and feel more alone as well because of that. My husband is a couple years older than I am and is ready to start trying to have a baby and starting a family - he is very understanding and isn't pressuring me or doing anything to make me give in though. He's also "normal" and able to adapt to change and notes that we've always managed things before.
For the last week or so, I've been really thinking about kids and whether or not I want to have them, and (as with anything "new" that changes the status quo), I'm feeling queasy just at the thought of all the changes a baby and child would bring. I realize that I'm not ready right now to have a baby, but I guess I'm worried that I'll never be ready - that my fears will always be there. But I don't know if it's that I won't be ready because my fears are getting the best of me, or if it's that I really won't be ready ever and I should just embrace that I don't handle change well and just be okay with that? I've listed my main fears below (I could probably think of many more, but am trying to stick with the more realistic ones that others have probably experienced...lol.) Can you please tell me if my fears are realistic or not....I don't know what to do! I want to feel like I'd be able to manage, but am terrified to have a child and find out the "hard way" that I can't afterall. I also briefly read through the "post-partum" section and that has me terrified too. :(
Based on the below, my guess is many will say...DON'T DO IT! I expect that, but I'm also hoping that some of my fears can be dispelled. I think right now, everything is so unknown and I'm letting everything morph into a big deal. But also am thinking I should go with my nervous gut. I always like to know things - unknowns scare me because I feel out of control.
- the life-long committment. When things get hard my reactionis to freeze and panic and go into despair - how do I not have a meltdown when everything is new? How do I calm myself, especially through the first few months of getting into a routine? How do I not end up in major depression?
-as part of the above point...that I'll always have to be "on" - always make sure I'm aware of what I'm saying or not saying, that I'm teaching my kids properly, that I'm not teaching them bad things, that I'm a good role model. (Basically that I'm "perfect, super-mom"...lol.)
- being pregnant, feeling sick and how I'd feel
- that I'd have post-partum depression. I'm susceptible to depression and anxiety and am scared that that will go through the roof and how I'd manage.
- the overall responsibility - especially in the first year - babies are so dependent and I'm so used to being independent. What if I don't have the energy, the desire, the joy? What if I end up hating it? (Is that normal?) I think I'd end up feeling guilty if I didn't feel joyous or happy.
- I feel like I don't have a clue as to what I'm doing when it comes to babies. (I'm the youngest in my family) - I don't know how to soothe a baby, how to know what's wrong, how to diaper, etc. I'm also very hard on myself when I don't pick up a skill or concept quickly, and end up feeling depressed and anxious.
- that my dogs may resent having a crying, screaming baby in the house
- that my dogs will be neglected because I won't be able to spend as much time with them - I feel guilty just at the thought of that. Right now I walk them before work on my own - how would I do that with a baby or a toddler (especially since one still pulls on the leash a ton)? As I said earlier, I love them dearly and worry about how they'd feel (even though they're dogs and don't think the same way as humans). I don't want them to be left out or not getting attention they normally get.
- As the baby gets older, what if the toddler/child/adolescent, etc. doesn't listen to me? Truthfully I'm fully expecting this - I know it's normal, but I am so afraid of being challenged (especially if I'm already feeling shaky and not confident) - I don't want to break down in front of my kid and lose control of the situation. I'm not great at saying "no" now, even though I know in theory it's what is best for the child. I'm not great at standing up for myself either.
- What if my child isn't completely healthy? Would I be able to manage that?
- What if I can't control my anxiety and am a basket case, worrying about everything all the time? What if I can't turn it off and end up not being a good role model?
On the flip side to all of this, while my husband is extremely supportive, patient and loving, I am also scared that if I decide I really can't and shouldn't try to be a mom that I'll be disappointing him hugely and making a decision for him and his life that he may not be happy with. I know it doesn't make sense to bring a child into the world just for someone else - I am reminding myself of this, but I do worry about his feelings, his life and what all this means for him too.
Is it just that I'm not ready now, or that I'll never be ready? How do I know? I hate being in limbo. I think as a worst case scenario, I'm envisioning that I'll have a kid that is difficult, hard to manage, hard to control and I'll feel completely helpless and depressed and that I'm going to be a bad mom. :(