This is the blog I think I have to write. I have to write it because if I don’t get these thoughts and feelings out of my head and body, I know they will fester and cause me to lose sleep and worry – something I hardly need at 39 weeks pregnant.
I am realizing as I grow older that I worry a lot. I never used to do this. I worry about how my future will look. I worry about knowing the right path. I worry about being successful as a mother, in my career, and in my relationships. I let an internal drive to accomplish goals stress me out to the point that I sometimes break down and need to have a good sobbing cry and a reconciliation with the fact that I am just human, doing the best I can. I set goals for myself that I sometimes don’t even care about, just because I am driven to compete. This is something I need to work on as a strive for balance in my life.
I sit here (this week I am working from home to begin to relax and let myself prepare body and soul for my upcoming birth) and I know that despite the enthusiasm I’ve tried to convey throughout my pregnancy, I am absolutely terrified of everything that is about to happen in my life. Terrified. Nervous breakdown kind of scared. I am scared of not measuring up as a mother, failing in my career, neglecting my relationship with my husband, and feeling like I am not good enough on every front. I am scared of losing ground in my work as I focus on being there and raising my child. I am scared of all the responsibilities that come with being a mom. I have irrational fears about money and not being able to support my child. I have fears about inadvertently screwing my kids up. I am scared that I will lack the patience necessary to be a good mom. I am scared that I won’t be a good role model. I am scared of myself. I wonder if someday I will want to walk away from the responsibility of children. I question how my priorities will shift once I see my baby. I worry that I will be a tiger mom who cows her child. I worry I will be an imperious monster who bullies my husband. I fear I will try to do everything, and fail. I worry about my tendency to worry. I worry about my negative attitude. I worry that though I have had my nursery prepared for months, my hospital bag packed for weeks, and read every book under the sun on birth and expecting a child, that I somehow have not done enough. I have missed something. I worry that I have neglected something at work and they will soon recognize my incompetence and fire me. I worry that I baked cookies over the weekend and they were too hard. I worry I can’t be all things to all people.
I dream of running away to a ranch and living peacefully with Rick and my babies, playing in the woods, gardening, exploring the world around us – without my work email buzzing on my phone. I dream of snuggling my face into the sun-warmed shoulders of a little boy who thinks I am the best thing ever — and not feeling guilty and conflicted because I am not focused on my career. I dream of putting little babies to bed, tucking them in and giving them kisses without tearing myself away to finish a project. I am terrified of attempting to balance my goals at work with my goals as a mother. I think of my own childhood and wonder I can offer my child what my parents offered me.
As the immensity of these fears wells up in me, tears roll down my cheeks and I bury my face in my hands – trying to offer myself the compassion I’d offer to someone else in my shoes. I feel like I’ve been brave for 9 months, and all of a sudden the reality of the imminent life change upon me has hit. I tell people I am scared of giving up my lifestyle – and I am. But mostly, I am scared of having to make choices about where I direct my time and energy, and having to own those choices – and knowing that there is a good chance I can’t do it all.
As I write these fears, I’m reminded of an amusing meditation that I read about not long ago. As anyone involved in self-study and self-improvement knows, the concept of cultivating gratitude is very popular these days. The meditation I am thinking of seems to embrace an opposite philosophy of embracing disenchantment and anger – and putting it out there. This is a bit of what I’ve done here. Only the meditation I’m referring to is a bit more coarse – for each rising sentiment you say:
“Fuck the pressure to be a supermom.”
“Fuck the abhorrent maternity and family leave policies in this country.”
“Fuck workplaces that offer six weeks partially paid disability leave and act like they have no other choice. Those fuckers should be striving for better.”
“Fuck the idea that I should be thankful to have six weeks to figure out how to be a mom, regain balance in my life, figure out who will care for my infant, and return to work.”
“Fuck those women who have done all this without complaining and make me look bad.”
“Fuck that I feel guilty for overusing the word fuck.”
“Fuck that having to make these hard choices makes me resent my job.”
“Fuck that having to make hard choices makes me resent the child that I am about to welcome to the world.”
“Fuck that I don’t have an alternate plan for being independently wealthy, and that even if I did I would beat myself up for not making it in the corporate world if I checked out.”
And so on and so forth. And with each sentence, you just leave that thought in space. And it’s out there now. Not inside. And I think that is the most important piece in this whole puzzle.
I don’t know when this baby is coming, but it could be any day now. Tomorrow my life could change. Everyone tells me that the day you have your baby is the most special and magical time of your life. I hear them, but my mind brings me back to the anxieties floating around my head. I recognize the loss of mindfulness in this post – the overwhelming fear and discordant sentiments that exist in me. I know this is something to be reconciled, and I hope that putting the fear and apprehensions I have out into space will help me lighten my load and face these challenges with an openness that currently seems difficult to tap into.
Thanks for being audience to this rambling, and if you have anything to offer me to help ease my mind, I’ll take it!