Parenting Fears

Dear Sara,

I am pregnant for the first time and I’m very anxious about taking care of my new baby. I am an only child and my parents had me late in life. I have not been around little babies and don’t have any idea of how to take care of this new life I am carrying. Everybody says it will come naturally but I’m not so sure. I wish my Mom could come back and help me but she’s been gone for five years now. I cry at night missing her. How can I learn to be a good Mom?

Dear Charlotte,

Hospitals often have classes on how to care for a new baby. Next time you go for a check up let your doctor know that you are having anxiety about taking care of a new baby and he or she can let you know when and where classes will be held.

There has to be a first time for being a Mom and it’s kind of “on the job training.” It’s not really real until you are experiencing it for yourself. It’s scary and new and often frustrating when you have to keep getting up in the middle of the night but that baby will be so special to you, it will all be worth it.

You seem to have had a special relationship with your own Mom. Think about how you and she interacted and how this will be possible with your own baby. She may not be with you physically but she is in your heart and on your mind. Think about how proud she would be of you for having this special baby. You can do this.
Good luck.


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  2. There’s lots of good books out there!

    • Congratulations! Your life is about to change in the most beautiful way. We were all nervous and clueless with our first child, so you are in good company. Do you have friends or relatives around the same age as you who’ve had children and can share their experiences and answer questions for you? My daughter has a cousin a couple of years older than her who she admires because her two children have turned out so well. They are loving, smart, well-balanced children, and her cousin is always happy to offer suggestions. In fact, I think she’s flattered that my daughter turns to her for advice. They’ve become even closer now that they are both moms.

  3. I’m guy so… FWIW, right? :)
    I recommend a few things:
    1. Is there a mother friend or a trusted woman (at your church, for example) that you feel is a great mom? I would ask for her time. Buy her lunch every so often and ask for her insights. (This approach would also be great with your mother-in-law, if this applies to you.)
    2. Obviously, there are plenty of books and websites out there. What I would do is set aside a weekend or two just to peruse websites and book reviews (e.g., on Amazon). Find a website/forum/book or two that seems to match who your are and that goes with your intuition.
    3. While your mom is not with you (I’m very sorry about your loss), as Sara said, your memories can be a great resource. Have a journal handy and jot down notes as you think about your childhood and upbringing. Where did your mom get it right? Where could you do better? With children (in most cases), “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” if you will. So, if you valued your childhood, then how your mother raised you, may also be very effective in raising your child.
    Lastly, know this: For most any parenting topic, you will find two or two dozen different views on how-to, all based on their backgrounds, how they were raised, their economic situation, etc.
    So, read and learn as much as you can but don’t take anything as gospel. It can get overwhelming at times, but you will raise your child one day at a time. Take it all in and just use your best judgement based on your intuition. Yes, you will makes mistakes, learn from them, allow yourself this. However, you WILL be a great mother – believe it!
    I wish you all the best!

  4. Face your fears by playing a game I call “What if.” Think of a scenario that you are afraid might happen, and then play through in your mind how your will respond to it. Continue responding to your answers until you are satisfied that you can handle the problem. This will give you the confidence to be there for your baby whatever might happen. It will help you set up your network of everyone you need to help you….friends, other new mothers, your baby’s doctor, relatives, the man in your life. And read, read, read about child raising, and then do what feels right for you and your child. Every child is different, and will bring you different challenges and joys.

  5. Terri Curtis says:

    Since you are already anxious,I would suggest that you be prepared for possible blues after you deliver. I experienced that after my first baby and had no clue what that was all about. If you do, please don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your OB to discuss options to help you cope.
    New babies are very demanding. Be sure to take the classes that are offered. Your whole life will change because of this little baby. I wasn’t prepared. It took me around 6 weeks to get over the depression. That’s when I totally bonded to my daughter and I totally took on the motherly role. I had to get help from my medical doctor though. My mother, friends, as good as they were, just wasn’t enough to get me through it. Just be aware and be prepared to get help if you need it.

  6. Ellen Preckel says:

    Well said, Sarah!
    Congratulations, Charlotte, and I’ll bet you’ll be a great mom because you are trying to be sure of that already!
    I volunteer at a pregnancy center and we have *tons* of classes for pregnant moms AND dads, as well as parenting classes through early teen years… maybe see if there is anything like that near you?
    Are there any new or new-ish moms in any church or group you go to? How about older moms you like who you could ask questions and talk to?
    You’ve got this, you’ll be great!

  7. A lot of churches have young mother groups. Some of them also have programs where each Mom takes turns volunteering to help watch other’s children, to give everyone a little break. Some even offer daycare programs. It can be an invaluable resource, and gives you a great opportunity to make new friends.

  8. Find an experienced mom or grandmothers that have had their children turn out well, and consult them and share your concerns. The professionals will only talk a bit about how to take care of the physical things like: lack of milk in the early days, how to use hot and cold packs in the very early stages of breastfeeding, how to take care of colic, etc but the real care is for the whole being.

    It is common to “overdue” and try to be perfect with the firstborn child. This is often amplified when the child is an only child or born to a mother later in life. The child is often protected to much, to the point of even not allowing the child to pick itself up when it falls, or such, which in the end makes the child dependent and less ready for the tumbles of life. But, Nature has built in many counter balances and they work. All will be fine. It is good that you care about this now and are asking, this says you will do fine in the exciting days ahead.

    Do know that, God is on your side. He designed you and your little one and HE will help you succeed! He wants you to raise the child right… the best even more than you do. God is the source of wisdom and He does give it when we ask.

    God is love, and you have expressed love for your little one. This love will lead you in the wonderful days ahead.

    God’s best,
    Pamela (Mother of 8 ages 6-22)

  9. You already know how to be a good mom. You learned it from your own mother, whom you still miss. You will replicate her love for you in the ways you love your own baby. Don’t worry, your mom is with you all the time.

  10. You could volunteer in the nursery at church or perhaps at a day care center for a few months. There’s nothing like “hands on” experience. Try to trust yourself and know that your Mom and God are helping you – you will do fine, Charlotte. Enjoy your baby – they grow up pretty fast! ;+)

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