I’ve been pregnant 4 times.
Each time, I had a different set of fears and worries about getting through the next day, let alone the rest of my life as a mom.
I was anxious and worried about everything from keeping food down to remembering how much toilet paper we have on hand in case there’s an emergency wipe-down needed. And that doesn’t even cover all the things that could go wrong with pregnancy or childbirth! I also felt like it was up to me to be perfect for this one time in my life and make sure everything goes smoothly (which is impossible).
But then I realized something: every woman has her own sets of fears when she gets pregnant. Whether you’re worried about your kids not getting along or you don’t know how to change a diaper, every set of worries is different.
What to do to alleviate the fears of pregnancy?
To help take away some of that anxiety and fear about pregnancy, I’ve shared in this article the most common fears about pregnancy. You’re not alone if you feel any of these things! And even though it feels that way sometimes, nobody is perfect. Instead of trying to do everything perfectly, learn from others and in the end you’ll have a great support network for your growing family!
For each fear, I’ve included some ideas on how to manage that fear. These are just suggestions; feel free to come up with your own ways to overcome your fears! At the end of the article, I’ve also provided a few resources to help you with your pregnancy and beyond!
Also, if these fears are only making you feel more anxious, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Talk to trusted friends or family members, or see what resources your provider has available. Most providers want you to learn as much about pregnancy and childbirth as possible, so ask questions- it’s what they’re there for!
1. I’m worried about morning sickness! Will anybody ever want to take care of me?
Morning sickness sucks. First of all, it tastes TERRIBLE. For many people (including myself), morning sickness lingers throughout the day and into the next morning. On top of feeling nauseous, I felt like everyone around me was more stressed out because I couldn’t do things for myself without getting sick. It’s also terrible to feel so isolated when all you want is to be taken care of!
That doesn’t mean that nobody wants to take care of you though! I’ve found that some of the best days of the pregnancy were when my husband would make me spend some time on the couch or in bed, even if it was just to lay down for a while. Also, you don’t have to feel guilty about asking people for help! Ask your spouse to get up earlier than usual and take care of you; call in a favor from a friend to pick up your dry cleaning or bring you lunch. When I was feeling sick, I felt bad asking for help- but most of the time people were more willing than I thought they’d be! And my husband always made sure that when he could, he took care of me when it came to housework and other things around the house. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t feel guilty about it!
2. I’m worried that I’ll have a hard labor and delivery, or that something bad will happen! What if I can’t do this?
It’s common to worry when you get pregnant that you won’t be able to handle all the changes that come with pregnancy, labor, and delivery. But the truth is, you can! A lot of what goes into natural childbirth is mental- your belief in yourself determines a great deal about how well labor will go.
It’s also hard to be prepared for something that big when it’s such a life-changing experience (which I’ll talk more about in #4). That’s part of the reason that a lot of women choose to have some kind of birth plan. A birth plan is a tool that allows you to customize your labor and delivery- whatever feels right or comfortable for you! In the end, it’s up to you and your provider on how things go down but feeling prepared helps a lot.
Most hospitals and birthing centers have classes on labor and delivery, and many even have tours to help you get comfortable with the space you’ll be using for birth. Make sure that both you and your partner see these! I loved seeing the birthing center prior to giving birth- it put my mind at ease knowing what to expect and that there was a quiet space I could go to in the event of an emergency. Talk to your provider about what steps you can take to feel more comfortable!
3. I’m worried that something will be wrong with my baby- am I going to have a sick baby?
It’s normal to worry about whether or not something is wrong with your baby. That’s also part of why it’s so important that you take advantage of all the tests, screenings and visits provided to you, even after you get past the first trimester! Early detection of possible problems can make a huge difference in your pregnancy and in how you care for your child.
You should know that you are allowed to leave the room if you feel uncomfortable with any of the procedures- for example, I didn’t want an internal ultrasound to check if my baby’s blood vessels were closed when she was born (I knew that mine were), so I opted out and had a strong doppler instead. What’s important is that you ask questions about what’s going to happen and ask if you can leave the room if you feel uncomfortable. Make sure that your provider is receptive to these questions and requests! The more comfortable you are, the easier it will be for you- don’t be afraid to speak up when something doesn’t sit right with you!
4. What do I know about being a parent? I haven’t done this before.
It’s completely normal to question how you’ll do as a parent- it is, after all, the single most difficult job that you will ever have. But when it comes down to it, parenting isn’t that complicated if you just follow your heart (and your baby’s cues!). You will know what to do because you love your baby and want to take care of them.
And remember, there’s no one way to parent! Parenting styles vary by culture, community, household structure and even person- everyone has a different style that works for them. The most important thing is to find the way that works best for you- perhaps you’ll choose to be a parent who does things on her own terms, or maybe you feel more comfortable following the traditional rules and methods. Either way, it’s important to know that there are countless ways both of these approaches can succeed- especially when your little one is so dependent on you!
And don’t forget about asking for help than you need! There are resources (like online communities and support groups) out there to help you when you can’t figure things out, and also people in your life who love you and want what’s best for you- don’t be afraid to ask questions of them either.
5. No one gets through pregnancy without a little self-doubt.
And that’s okay! You’re human- it’s normal to have a little self-doubt every now and then. That doesn’t mean that you’ve made the wrong decision or that you shouldn’t be happy! Pregnancy is a huge decision, one that you don’t just wake up and decide one morning when you feel like it. It takes time to get used to the idea and make sure you’re ready for all of what it brings.
All doubts will eventually fade away- they have to, because you’ll need your confidence in yourself when you give birth! Some people don’t even realize that their self-doubt is impacting them and their pregnancy until after they’re done with labor- trust me, because I’ve been there!
What you can do to combat this self-doubt is pretty simple: remind yourself why you decided on becoming a parent. Remind yourself of the joy it brings when your baby does something new, or how much better you feel knowing that there’s a little love and light in your life. The joy of parenthood is a powerful force that can help you overcome all self-doubt and fear- it’s important to have that to fall back on!
6. Will I ever sleep again? Don’t I need my sleep anyway?
It’s hard to believe, but at some point in your pregnancy you will likely get some sleep. But, if you’re like me and had a baby that required very little sleep (less than an hour at a time!) you may not be getting much of anything for the first few weeks of her life.
In that case, it’s important to know that there’s no shame in letting others (like your partner or a family member) take care of your baby for short periods of time. You don’t need to feel guilty- you’ve got a lot on your plate and it’s okay to ask for help! And, in many cases the best kind of help is often fresh air (and new eyes!) every now and then.
7. How can you waste so much time worrying about yourself when you have a baby to take care of?
You’re not wasting it! Don’t let the fear that surges through you during pregnancy get in the way of making decisions for your health. You are your most important asset, and taking care of yourself is the only way to live up to all that you are as a person. So, enjoy your pregnancy and take time to care for yourself- it’s not selfish, it’s necessary!
8. Am I going to be a good parent?
You will be great because you love your baby more than anything else in the entire world already. And let me tell you something: no one is perfect. There isn’t a single parent on the planet who has “done it all” and hasn’t had to learn things along the way when it comes to raising children. It’s okay to be afraid, just don’t let that fear stop you from loving your baby!
9. I’m worried about what my partner thinks of me .
First of all: give them a break! They could use the support too. It’s important that you both get along with one another because you’re going to be doing this together for quite some time- it’s okay if things are a little tense between you for a while but don’t let it drive a wedge in your relationship.
Don’t put your relationship in the backseat- it deserves to be a priority just as much as caring for your baby.
Second of all: if you’re worried, you already have a clue that there’s some tension between the two of you. Don’t let this fear run away with itself or keep you from talking about what might potentially be a serious issue. Keep an open mind and remember that nothing is ever so bad- or permanent- that you can’t fix it with some effort.
10. When am I going to feel like myself again?
You’ll be surprised at how fast you will get back into the swing of things! Any changes and discomforts you experience during pregnancy will likely return to normal much quicker than you anticipate. It’s common for people to feel more energetic after giving birth as long as they aren’t experiencing complications.
Remember that everything is temporary, and it will pass- your body is perfectly designed to go through the changes that are necessary in order for you to have a healthy baby!
No matter what concerns you have during your pregnancy, remember that there are always options available to you.
Even if it hurts to try and talk about what’s on your mind, at least know that someone is probably going through the same thing. You’re not alone- and thinking that you might be is the biggest fear of all!
Good luck, and don’t forget to relax for a little while!
All the best from the Early Pregnancy & Infant Loss Care Guide team.
If your question was not addressed by this article please reply in a comment.