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.