28 May 2009

Becoming a mom...a new idea

Friends and family who have known me for a long time were a little surprised at the recent announcement that my husband Chris and I are planning to expand our family by one.

To tell you the truth, I'm a little surprised myself.

In a journal entry I wrote:

"I once told Chris that whatever other people have that 'clicks' on in regards to being a parent that I don't have it. But recently...I can't say that I feel my biological clock ticking... It isn't really that 'longing' for a baby that I've heard other women talk about (in fact I still think that me attempting to have a biological child is still not a great idea)...but what I have been feeling is the desire to raise a child, to have the experience of being a mom and certainly allow Chris the opportunity to be a dad.

"I'm not exactly sure when all of this started, but if I had to narrow it down it was the first time I saw Chris holding [our niece] Amelia. There was something so right about seeing him cradling that little tiny girl...perhaps that was the moment when that little thing inside of me clicked (albeit very quietly.)

"Spending time with my nieces has definitely made me feel more maternal. And watching my sister-in-law and brother-in-law work together to navigate the ever changing waters of parenthood has been very enlightening.

"[For] the longest time, the thought of being a parent terrified me...How do you parent a child from a place of extreme fear? I lived my life in fear - unwilling to see my own potential. Afraid of failure. Afraid of not being good enough to take care of a child. I said to Chris on more than one occasion, 'How could I possibly be a mom? I can hardly take care of you, me and the cats!'"

In a follow up to the above entry I wrote:

"I am clinging to the story that I would not make a good mom. It's been my story - my suffering - for a long time. I want to let go of this clinging to suffering. I want to release it and be free of it and tell myself a new story - the story of me as a competent, confident, capable woman who is a good wife, a strong human being who could - if she chose to - raise a family.

"I don't know where I heard it, but the phrase 'A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.'

"I don't want to be afraid anymore."

I shared these journal entries with Chris when I finally told him of my change of heart and now here we are...


  1. Jennifer,
    I'm so happy for you and Chris and excited to hear more as you go through this amazing journey. You will be a fabulous mom! You're the one who brings me soup at the office when I'm sick... you've got the maternal instincts! I can’t wait to meet your plus one!


  2. Dear Jenn,

    You're an amazing person and will be an incredible mom. Savour the journey!


  3. Someone once told me to enjoy EVERY minute of my experience raising a child. He was so right. I have heeded that advice and it has not steered me wrong. Be present for every moment; you will learn a lot about yourself but more importantly you will know what it takes to bring another separate, individual human being to a place they can contribute to our existence in the here and now and become a citizen of the world.

    All my love!

  4. Thanks for all of the kind and loving sentiments, Ladies. It helps to know that there is a wonderful support network out there for Chris and me and our Little One.

  5. Please continue your journey and walking through the fear. Becoming a mother wasn't something I yearned to do, but after having my daughter I realize now that it was the ONLY thing I've every really wanted. It is a most amazing experience and I consider it a spiritual path. I am so very lucky that I was able to carry a pregnancy (which I wanted) and have a child in my mid-40s. She is all I could ever have wanted.

    One thing I have learned about dealing with fear: you must continually bring yourself into the present moment. I do not let myself imagine terrible things, because that way lies insanity, and I lose the joy of the moment.

  6. Hi Jennifer, do you know of any books that help a woman who fears becoming a mother? I am 40 and my partner would like kids, but I keep putting it off and I know I really need to act soon to have any chance of that. I read "Mothering Without a Map" which was great in helping me feel that I could do a good job of it despite being raised by a mother that I feel didn't do a very good job, but I still feel like you did: that I can barely cope with looking after myself and my partner. I keep delaying because I want to be healthier by taking supplements for at least 4 months prior to conception, which I have read makes a huge difference, especially if you are older like myself, but it's the other fears that prevent me from getting started with that. When I think about becoming a mother, I am afraid of the pain of childbirth, of having post-natal depression. of being so tired, stressed and in tears; of it impacting negatively on my relationship; of having no life; of being home all day and being bored and lonely; of having to ask for money, of never being able to travel again, of my child(ren) growing up and saying I wasn't a good mother, of not being able to raise them to feel confident and happy to be alive... A therapist I have started seeing thinks it is understandable I feel this way because my mother experienced motherhood as stressful and apparently unrewarding. Sometimes I see mothers with young children and I feel a pang of sadness that I may never have that and some people have said they think I would make a good mother, but most times when I see mothers and babies I don't get that warm fuzzy feeling that I think most women do - I just feel fear at the prospect. Any comments that you think might be helpful would be greatly appreciated.