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I think we all know that fear is an essential part of being a new parent, but sometimes we’re reluctant to discuss it openly. I’m not sure if that’s because we want to present as strong, we’re scared of others judging us, or we just assume we can toil and not bring it up.
It’s OK. It’s scary. Many of us have been there.
I actually have a friend who was so scared immediately after birth because she didn’t feel an instant love connection with her newborn, and that’s what she had always been told she’d feel. She went so far as to ask a nurse: “Is it OK if I don’t totally love her yet?”
It is OK. And it’s OK to be scared.
In fact, here’s Kelly Clarkson from the new issue of Redbook. She currently has a three year-old and a one-year old:
Literally, having children has brought fear to my life. That sounds horrible, I know, but before kids I was fearless. Now I go to bed and I have nightmares of someone just grabbing my little girl and running. It’s always about me not being able to protect my kids somehow. I’m a mama bear.
It doesn’t sound horrible. Many of us can relate.
Estimates suggest that “PPA” is at least as common as postpartum depression (“PPD”) if not more so — affecting anywhere between 10 and 17 percent of new moms, according to various estimates. Yet it tends to be overshadowed. PPD has an awareness month; celebrities have divulged the intimate details of their struggles in articles and blog posts and health care providers now screen for it as a matter of course. Postpartum anxiety, by contrast, has been called the “hidden disorder.” It remains under-studied and under-covered, leaving many new moms to wonder if paralyzing dread is simply the price they must pay for becoming a parent.
It’s not that far off sometimes.
This is the main takeaway here: being a parent is a great, loving, other-worldly experience that brings you closer to your partner and a new human being.
But it’s also terrifying and very hard.
The journey will have fear everywhere.
It’s OK to discuss that openly.
That doesn’t make you weak.
It makes you normal.
It makes you transparent.
It makes you human.
So, that said … want to share any stories or fears you had about becoming a new mom?