With my first wedding anniversary just days away, the same question is getting asked exponentially more often…
“So when are you going to have kids?”
My husband is ready. He’s BEEN ready. Heck, he was ready even before we got married. He’s always loved being the “cool uncle” and is GREAT with kids in general. I have no hesitation when I say, I know he will be an amazing father. A few years ago he had a serious case of baby fever. He would randomly send me pictures of cute babies throughout the day. I know that he is absolutely ready for a little miniature version of himself and to finally be called ‘Daddy.’
I’m not ready.
I’m not talking about just a small fear of the unknown. I become paralyzed with fear when the train wreck of what-ifs start invading in my mind. I keep thinking about work, taking maternity leave and how that will affect my career plans. I’m at a crucial point in my career and I don’t want my plans to be derailed. I fear that for those few weeks that I am off work, changes will be made, or my supervisors will decide that I am no longer needed or that I don’t contribute as much to the organization as I feel I do. I know these are my own insecurities, but they make me very uneasy.
I understand that by law, my job is protected for 12 weeks. This is the Family Medical Leave Act; however, this only applies to the terms and conditions of your employment. Your employer may place you in a different role if it is considered “equivalent” to your role prior to your leave. Here is a link where you can find more information.
The fear magnifies when I consider planning and caring for a child.
I constantly fret over the cost. Let’s face it. Babies are expensive. It does not help that child care in the United States is extremely expensive. I look at our budget and wonder how we will fit in child care, diapers, food, medical costs, etc…
Millions of financial questions start rushing through my mind… How will I afford the furniture, car seats, playpens, rocker, etc…? How will I afford boxes and boxes of diapers? What if I can’t breastfeed? Formula is so expensive, how will I pay for it? What if I can’t afford the daycares that I find suitable? How can I afford to be on maternity leave with no income?
Pregnancy. I don’t think I’m so terrified about that. I have seen my sister and my friends go through their pregnancies and I have learned a little bit from each one of them. I know that there are risks with every pregnancy and every woman’s experience is different. I know that I will have to take care of myself and make many health changes to make sure I am doing the best for unborn child… But what if that is not enough?
And now… The Selfishness.
I’ll be honest. I feel horribly guilty because I keep wondering “what about me?”… Will I have time to myself? Will I be waking up multiple times every single night? Will I have any time to myself? Will I be able to have a few quiet minutes to read a book? How much help will my husband give? Will I be overwhelmed taking care of a baby while my husband is at work? How will this affect my body? I’m not healthy enough, what changes do I need to make?
Then I start feeling or anticipating inadequacy. What if I’m not a good mom? What if I lose my patience? Can I still be a good wife? How will I still be able to juggle cooking, cleaning, and maintaining the house? What if I have a breakdown?
The anxiety is crippling, and honestly, prevents me from making any plans to start a family. Now, when anyone asks, I just say that my husband and I are looking forward to celebrating our first anniversary and will “consider” it for next year.
I’m just buying time.
As more time passes, the more I feel as if I am not being a good wife or woman. I feel that I should be excited about starting a family. And as of right now, I can’t even have a conversation about it, let alone begin planning for one. The conversations set off my insecurities and the downward spiral pattern of my thoughts. When I start getting asked the questions, I just deflect the conversation elsewhere.
I’m too scared.
If you, like me, are looking to see if anyone out there shares your fear, please comment below. Let us support each other, and know that we are not alone…