Becoming a mother for the first time is an exciting, overwhelming, and, yes, sometimes anxiety-ridden experience. You have nine months to process the fact that your life is about to drastically change, but all those unknown elements (What will my baby look like? Will he have colic? Will she be a good sleeper? Do I have everything I need?) can be overwhelming and scary. While it's probably healthy to worry about some things — all the better to be prepared — there are others you can cross off your list, including the five natural but unnecessary worries below.
- Fear: You and your baby won't bond immediately.
Reality: While it can take some women (myself included) a while to feel like they're feeding, changing, bathing, and rocking out of love, not responsibility, it's the rare woman who doesn't eventually fall head over heels for her baby. It's OK if you don't have a fireworks moment the first time you see your newborn. She'll still think you're the greatest mom ever.
- Fear: You don't know enough about newborns to be a good mother.
Reality: If you're having this fear, it probably means you're also engaged enough to read a few books or websites about caring for a newborn, so you can figure out the whole feeding, diapering, and swaddling thing. But even if you don't read a single thing before your baby arrives, know that so much of being a new mom is about trusting your instincts. All new moms — whether they've taken tons of parenting classes and read a library full of baby books or haven't done an ounce of preparation — quickly learn parenting a newborn is all about trial and error.
Keep reading for three more natural but unnecessary fears shared by many first-time moms.
- Fear: You won't be able to perfectly balance baby, work, friends, and family.
Reality: Balance is a constant struggle for all moms, new or not. It will take some time — maybe months, maybe decades — to figure out what works best for you, and while those weekly girls' dinners and all-hours work nights might not fit into your postbaby life, you probably won't care. Accept that balance is a long-term goal; for the short term, you can just focus on your newborn.
- Fear: Your marriage will suffer.
Reality: The truth is, your marriage probably will change after your baby is born, but if having a child is a decision you came to together, than odds are you're both going to work together to make sure you're both good parents to your baby and good partners to each other. Relaxing weekends away and Sundays spent lolling on the couch watching reruns might be over for now, but you'll have something new in common: an overwhelming love for your child.
- Fear: Your child will be a horrible toddler/teenager/adult.
Reality: New moms need to focus on the short-term controllables. You can make sure your newborn is well fed, dry, comforted, and rested. You can't predict whether he'll fall into the wrong crowd in high school. Do what you can to be a good, present parent now, and trust that the future will work itself out.