Navigating Fears of Having and Raising Children

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“Did we say we would wait six years?” I asked Eric franticly. “I meant seven!”

Eric looked at me and smiled as I gave him a laundry list of reasons why having a baby any time over the next ten years would just never work out. That would put me at 46-years-old (deep sigh of relief)—Safe!

Six and a half years ago was really the last time we had a serious conversation about having children. Eric and I were about to be married, and, wanting to cover all the bases, we had an undramatic discussion about when we would have children and how we would raise them. Our children would be few, brilliant, well-behaved, and better looking than anyone else’s. Block checked.

To the dismay of our families, Eric and I both agreed with ardent determination that, forgoing any “accidents,” we would wait at least six years before we would even think about bringing up the “baby topic.” Well, at the time, six years seemed like sixty. Fast forward to the present.

I was minding my own business the other day when, suddenly, I realized it was April 2016! “Oh no—it’s been six years and four months!! Eric is going to want to make a baby any day!” I began freaking out. We needed to talk now. But Eric was out of town for the week. It would have to wait. This needed to be a face-to-face conversation.

I felt afraid to even start the conversation—afraid of the wealth of emotion built up inside me about the idea of getting pregnant—I felt overtaken by my fears. From the pregnancy to the birth to the first day of school to those horrific teenage years, it was all petrifying.

In the jumble of my own mind, I couldn’t find a happy place. If I thought about the prospect of not having children, my fear and foreboding would dissipate, but then it would be immediately replaced by a strange feeling of disappointment. Something in me wanted to add this new chapter to our lives together, but that little voice was getting drowned out by an orchestra of realistic and unrealistic fears.

What if it’s a boy? What if a third party will somehow change my relationship with Eric? What about actually having the child? What will happen to my body? Will I ever be able to lose the weight? What about the opinions and judgments of those other moms? What if the child is just like me?!

“Tell me,” I demanded from Eric. “Why should we have children? We’re already perfectly happy, aren’t we?”

Then Eric said something that really made sense. He acknowledged openly that he wanted to experience the enrichment that children could bring to our lives in the same way we (hopefully) had brought to our own parents lives. The accomplishments of children and watching them grow into their very own person would bring satisfaction and enrichment that was unlike anything else. Eric expressed to me his desire to impart the wonder and beauty of life to his very own little person; he felt that if we made the decision to never have children (biological or adopted) there would always be a sense of something missing, a sort of loss, and it made sense. I hadn’t thought of it like that before.

I needed a reason to quiet my fears, and Eric gave me a powerful one. Eric wanted me to join him in this next adventure, knowing we would never really be “ready.” Since that conversation, I have come to terms with the “baby idea”—mostly. I am listening to my heart, using my common sense, and praying a lot as I deal with my fears and misgivings.

I have found it helpful to name the root of my fears and then determine which fears are valid and which are not. And then I decide not to let fear drive my decisions and rob me of an amazing life experience.

This way, I keep real life in perspective. I’m not sure what the future holds for us, but I am confident that Eric and I will meet each new and exciting challenge together. Today, I can say I am hopeful and my fears lay quietly in the background as I’m taking my pre-natal vitamins just in case!

 

 

Flickr/Ali Leila

Amanda

Amanda is an aero-medical evacuation pilot in the United States Army, and is getting ready to transition to the civilian world and experience all the adventure that a giant change in lifestyle holds. Although Amanda is a “Carolina Girl” at heart, she has spent much of her adult life living in Israel, Germany, and Alabama. Amanda is passionate about faith, travel, food, old books, and healthy living.

She currently lives in Hawaii with her husband, also a pilot, and they spend most weekends bashing about the beautiful beaches and hiking trails and soaking up the endless summer. Amanda believes in love because, as a disinterested skeptic, she was proven wrong by a really amazing man.
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