Did all women who became mothers get the call? Is it necessary to have it to have a baby? Desire for children does not always appear the same way and sometimes it is not even there. It may be intense and leave no room for doubts. Sometimes, it appears like a wave that comes and goes through time. In other occasions, it is projected in the future as a possibility. We seem to have very little control over this desire to have a child and its ways. Just think of all those women who seem to have been chosen by motherhood, not the only way around.
Desiring a child is not, unlike what we would like to believe, a guarantee that everything will go as planned. Some women will wait for months, even years, before getting pregnant and others will never have children, even after trying in fertility clinics!
Once the decision is made, for those who had time to make it, comes the time to wait until you become pregnant. But not at any moment! We want to get pregnant in a reasonable delay that will respect our schedule and our preferences. It is interesting to realize that sometimes, we plan our motherhood a bit like we plan living with our partner. We want everything to be perfect to live happily ever after!
Therefore, we spend a lot of energy imagining the scenario of our dreams and we think very little about what could go wrong! We consider motherhood and life as a couple with some innocence, which is good when you think about it, because maybe we would never go for it otherwise.
This prenatal period is rich in emotions because it carries its lot of hope and sometimes deceptions. Some women will see their wish of becoming pregnant come true quickly while it will be a very long process for others.
Pregnancy comes, filled with happiness and promises! At long last, this is what we were waiting for, nine months during which we will be fulfilled, beautiful and proud!
But, life being what it is, pregnancy is not always easy and fulfilling!
Nausea, fatigue, body changes, the risks of prematurity, depression and emotional changes are often part of the challenges of mothers to be. Here are a few examples:
- “I don’t like being pregnant!”
- “Having a roommate inside bothers me!”
- “Being pregnant is a necessary evil to have my baby!”
- “I feel overwhelmed”
- “I feel ugly and fat”
- “I can’t even carry a child normally”
- “I regret my decision but it is too late now!”
- “I’m afraid I will not be a good mother”
The more wonderful our expectations are for pregnancy, the more difficult it will be to have it any other way! By fear of judgement, we talk about it very little and it is bad for our well-being. Ideally, we should express what worries us to be liberated of our deception or guilt! By being at peace with these emotions, we will be in a better position and better equipped to go through what will follow. Sometimes our family and friends are too involved emotionally to truly support us. Being able to talk about it to a neutral and objective person is usually a good way to find support in this journey.
Miscarriage is a tough experience for many women to go through. Unfortunately, they are not always properly understood or supported! Yet they are experiencing a significant loss, not matter how long the pregnancy has lasted because as soon as we get pregnant our life changes! Therefore, we had enough time to imagine our pregnancy and our new life with our baby so the grief is real. The pain is amplified when the mother thinks:
- “I can’t even bear a child”
- “I shouldn’t have done that activity”
- “I should’ve gone to hospital before”
A mother who looses her baby feels sadness, anger, guilt and worthlessness. They need an ear, love, time and compassion to accept this event. Telling them that they will have another baby is not comforting. They will tell you that you cannot replace a baby and they are right. They will even have a special thought for their child during the period of the year when he should have been born...
Preparing for his arrival
We spend a lot of time and money organizing the environment in which our child will live: pyjamas, stroller, car seat, decoration and furniture. We attend prenatal classes to prepare for giving birth. We also get informed on how to take care of a baby, how to breastfeed, etc.
In all this preparation, there is one thing that is more important than anything else: learning to know ourselves as a person and as a couple! Pregnancy is a great opportunity to do some introspection. Take a few minutes to answer these questions:
Among these elements, which scare you the most?
- Lack of sleep
- Sharing tasks
- Baby care
- Maternity/paternity leave
- Friends and family support
- Loss of freedom
- Sexual life
- What are your mutual expectations?
- How do you perceive maternity leave?
- How do your parents perceive they role as grandparents?
- And you, what do you expect from them?
- What do you want to repeat of your childhood?
- What are you afraid to repeat from your childhood?
- What is the greatest quality of a mother?
- What is the greatest quality of a father?
Gathering information, questioning and getting organized are the best way to be reassured… and knowing that there is a possibility that we will face difficulties is reassuring too. Why? Because it is always comforting to know that we are not the only one going through difficult times and that we are normal!
Experiencing motherhood is different for every woman and we should have faith in our capacity to adapt. So, let’s keep a list of resourceful persons and professionals that could support us if need be. Also remember that being courageous also means being able to seek help when we need it.