Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I'm Afraid to Have Kids

Ingrained in every woman’s heart is the desire to be a mother.  However, not everyone is called to be a mother.  Some women become nuns, sisters, or consecrated lay women and live out a “spiritual motherhood”.  And some women are never able to have their own children due to medical reasons.  Yet, adoption is becoming more and more popular and accessible (which is awesome, in my opinion).

Personally, I realize that I have a deep desire to be a mother.  Yet, this knowledge does not take away my FEAR of motherhood.  If anything, it makes me even more afraid.

I’ll give you two examples of what I worry about when it comes to having kids:

My first major concern is my scary / “what if” thinking.  I am worried that I will not able to handle having kids; that I would be in the middle of life, throw up my hands, and run away from it all because I was having a break down.  I am scared I will quit when it matters the most.

I know kids can be a lot of work.  I know they can really stress you out.  And I know they can take a lot out of you.  I heard someone recently refer to them as “life suckers”.

I have these scary thoughts about being a mom.  I am afraid of hurting my kids.  I am afraid of leaving them at a park and running away.  I am afraid of injuring them, or even killing them, if I can’t handle it.  I am afraid of going crazy and messing up my children for life.  I am afraid of being a failure.  And, most of all, I am afraid of not being a “perfect” mom.  I have so many expectations to live up to.  I have so many ideals of what my perfect life has to be like.  What if I didn’t live up to my standards?  “What would people think of me?”

The anxiety tapes that I have talked about before have helped me to confront my issues with these anxieties and scary / what if thoughts.  “OK, so I have these thoughts; they’re just thoughts.”  I also learned helpful coping skills to get me through the most difficult times when fear is rolling over and over my brain.  (It’s called The Seven Steps to Calm, click here for more info)

Most importantly, I learned that many other people have the same worries that I do.  Maybe, you are one of them.  Many mothers have gone through the same scary thoughts about having kids and come out on the other side.  It is such a relief to know that I am not the only one with these twisted, messed-up thoughts.

Also, the tapes helped me realize that even though I have scary / what if thoughts, doesn’t mean I am going to act on them.  I’ve learned to separate myself from my thoughts.  Thoughts come and go, like the weather; I cannot control them.  Thoughts do not determine who I am.  My thoughts do NOT dictate my actions.  Just because I have scary / what if thoughts doesn’t mean I have to obey them.

My second major concern is my eating disorder history / body image issues.  To put it lightly, well, I am DEATHLY afraid of gaining weight.  Pregnancy is going to be a challenge if only for the growing belly.  I have always been concerned about my appearance and my weight, so this is no surprise to me.

I heard something a while ago that really struck me.  I can’t stop thinking about this phrase when I think about being pregnant:

I read this line while reading “My Child, I Love You” blog.  And it hit me right-smack-dab in the heart.

I have such high expectations of myself to look a certain way.  It’s been this goal that I’ve wanted to accomplish ever since I was young.  I’ve always tried very hard to be thin, to fit in a certain size, to be in shape, to run many miles, and to look a particular way.

This “thin” goal is a goal that offers empty promises.  It won’t make me ultimately happy.

When it comes down to it, I have to remind myself that I am still going to get old like everyone else.  I am still going to die like everyone else.  I am still going to have to give an account for my life when I die.  “Well, God, I did fit into a size 4 when I was 40.  Doesn’t that count for something?”  Sorry, sister, I don’t think so.

I think the desire to be thin is a temptation from El Diablo himself.  This “thin” ideal is an unrealistic, unattainable goal.  However, it takes up so much of our time, energy, and resources.  I believe the devil uses this trick to distract us from what really matters.

I will still respect my body because I am a child of God.  No matter how old I am, I am still His daughter.  I still belong to Him.  And He has a purpose for my life.  God has given me this body for a reason.  He has given me life for a reason.

God has given me this body to be a mother.  Not a supermodel.

My body is not my own.

Remembering this phrase will help me to cope with pregnancy struggles when (if) that time comes.  God knows I am going to struggle.  I am going to have ups and downs and everything in between.  But, I know He knows what He is doing.  And that is a huge relief.


  1. I know you said you realize that many other people have the same worries that you do in regards to parenting. That thought needs to be emphasized. However, just know that those fears/stress merely come from loving your children. At times I am exhausted and wish I could take a break from parenting so that I wouldn't have to worry/stress over our children every minute of every day. But then I remember how much I love them and it totally outweighs any and all stress. From the minute that you meet your bundle of joy, all fears and stress will seem like a drop in the ocean in comparison to the love that you will have for your baby. You have God on your side. You'll be a beautiful mother.

    1. Thank you! You are so right...Love totally outweights fears/worries. I can see the truth in that just by thinking about my husband. Yes, I worry about him, but it is worth it because I LOVE him. :) Thank you for your comment.

  2. I can absolutely relate to your thoughts, and I already have an 8-yearold daughter. Every day is a struggle, to help her stay balanced in this crazy, sick world. With that in mind, I think we CAN raise children with a sound, non-destroyed mind. A lot of love, and a lot of time spent listening and being there, will help. In Sweden, we finish our messages with the Swedish word for "Hug", so that's what I will do here because I think we all need more hugs. Kram!

    1. That is awesome!! You are so right about "time spent listening and being there." I think that makes a huge difference. How to you pronounce "Kram"? Long "a" or short? I love it. Thank you for sharing!!!

  3. Mary,
    I think its pretty brave to even write out these thoughts and haul through them. I think if more women did this there may not be as many mothers who are overcome by their thoughts/fears/emotions. The fact that you can acknowledge your fears proves how strong you are. The ability to fight them and the desire to overcome them are what will make you an incredible mother.

    I can tell you I for sure have days where it takes everything out of me emotionally and physically but one thing my mom taught me that has helped me so much, is to throw out the comparisons and the ideas of what I should be doing and just do what your instincts tell you. Do your best. That is all God wants from us in all areas of our life right? So I don't attempt to cook like Martha anymore or have a clean house at all times because I know its not the gifts God has given me. I do focus though on just spending time with my kids. Being present, and not holding back any love. That is what they need the most. The rest can come as it may.

    Love what you are doing here on the blog. Keep it up!

    1. Anna,
      Thank you so very much for your kind words and encouragement! It means more to me than you know.
      It is so difficult to throw out the comparisons sometimes. I feel like they are so ingrained that they are my instincts. You are so right in saying that they cause more harm than good. It the comparing and the expectations that put me over the edge most of the time. Thank you for the reminder. I love your Mom. I admire her so much. She is so real and grounded. Her advice means a lot. I love what you said about "not holding back any love". I am going to have to remember that! Thank you, Anna! You are a dear friend!

  4. I am saddened that someone referred to their children as "life suckers". There are definitely difficult days but children are life GIVERS! They give so much joy to parents, it is impossible to describe!

  5. I was in the conversation with the "life suckers" comment, it was lighthearted and meant as a joke. I'm quite certain Mary knows this but "anonymous" is right, they are life givers! Life without are children wouldn't be life, nothing compares to the joy of children (even on their worst days). One thing my wife always reminds me of is that our children have powerful Guardian Angels and she prays to them always to protect our kids, knowing she can't be everywhere for them at all times. I would have to say I lack her faith but she's right, there's a higher power helping us out and if God feels you are ready for children as long as you trust in him He won't let you down and you won't let you're children down!

    1. Yup, the "life-suckers" was meant as a joke.

      I love that you pray to your children's Guardian Angels to watch over them and protect them. I never would have thought to do that. Thank you for sharing that with me. And thank you for your encouraging words!