It is hard for me to admit this, but one of the first feelings I felt when I realised I was pregnant was regret.
Not because I didn’t want this baby, you understand. This is a very much wanted and planned for child. No, it was simply due to the overwhelming sense that I was completely out of my depth. Why on earth did I think I was capable of raising another human, for God’s sake?? I could barely take care of myself! What if I accidentally kill it? What if it doesn’t like me? Dan is going to realise how useless I am and leave me, isn’t he? These nasty little moments of self doubt crept in pretty much immediately, have persisted ever since and I’m sure will be here to stay for quite some time even after our baby arrives because unfortunately for me (and everyone else who has the misfortune of witnessing of my chronic insecurity), I have social anxiety.
That doesn’t mean I am shy – quite the opposite, in fact. I have never had any issues talking in front of people, meeting strangers or generally socialising with people. In fact, my whole job revolves around dealing with people on a daily basis! What it does mean though, is that I am constantly obsessing about what those people think about me. I pretty much assume that most people don’t like me, think I’m a waste of space, or at the very least are finding my presence somewhat annoying. It makes me do some strange things sometimes, like fail to reply to messages from even my closest friends, turn down great opportunities simply because I’m worried I might cock it up somehow, or not learn to drive until the grand old age of 35 for fear that any instructor will declare me unteachable. I am even assuming right now that if you have actually bothered reading along this far you are probably about to give up because you find me so darn irritating. Yep, it’s not the nicest, and never has that been more of an issue for me than while pregnant! Everyone knows that no-one loves to give unsolicited advice more than to pregnant mums to be or new parents, so as someone who has a very irrational yet very real fear of being judged, it’s been an interesting and challenging time! Here are just a few of the gems that have crossed my odd little mind over the last 8 months….
Does my Midwife hate me??
I’m guessing my Midwife probably doesn’t really have any particularly strong feeling either way about me, because I am merely one of hundreds of pregnant and post natal women that she deals with on a regular basis. And it really makes no difference what she thinks of me, does it? Because this is just a temporary period of my life and in a few months she will be a distant memory, right? Nope. I need her to like me. I can’t really explain why, but like some twisted child I desperately seek her approval and want her to tell me what a good Mummy I am for growing a strong and healthy baby. Unfortunately the first Midwife I saw was not a big fan of me – most likely because I had holiday plans she didn’t approve of, and my urine sample leaked on her which was just fabulous – but thankfully she was just a stand in and my actual Mdwife is very lovely and not in the slightest bit judgey. I still worry that she hates me though. And I got a warm little glow today when she jokingly gave me a ‘gold star’ for having bang on bump measurements. I wish I was joking…
Can I post this to Instagram without becoming a social media pariah??
Me and Insta have an odd relationship as it is, because on the one hand I love to share pics of my outfits with like-minded, stylish ladies, but on the other hand OMG WHAT IF EVERYONE THINKS I’M UGLY/SOOOO UNFASHIONABLE/UP MYSELF/JUST PLAIN WEIRD?? etc. So of course, now that I am carrying an unborn child, that sense of worry each time I hover over the ‘Share’ button is somewhat heightened. We’ve all seen celebs get completely taken to task over their parenting skills or pregnancy choices by keyboard warriors who like to show off their superior baby knowledge and expertise after posting an innocent pic, haven’t we? Of course, I’m not a celeb, so I doubt most people pay the blindest bit of attention, but it doesn’t stop me scrutinising every pic to make sure it is not in any way controversial or likely to cause offence. Will people tell me I shouldn’t be wearing heels? Will they chastise me for buying a new dress when I’ll soon have another mouth to feed? Does my meal look healthy enough for someone gestating a human? Is it pretentious that I have my hand on my belly in every pic? Are they just plain bored of hearing about my bump? The list of possible triggers seems endless and it can make posting a bit of a minefield! Sadly I can’t see this one getting any easier…
You can’t ask that, everyone will think you’re an idiot/bad mum/generally terrible person…!
Part and parcel of becoming parent is having to learn, possibly for the first time in a really long time, a whole new set of skills and knowledge. Learning new things is unfortunately one of the areas where my anxiety really comes into it’s own because as much as I love educating myself, it also makes me feel like a completely inadequate excuse for a person, and I really have to fight to suppress the urge to sneakily go out and learn everything before any kind of class or lesson just so I don’t feel that panic of being put on the spot with a question I don’t know the answer to (seriously, still learning to drive, at 36 years old…) I was pretty terrified before attending our first NCT weekend last week, not only because of the not knowing anything thing, but also the added pressure of trying to make friends as an adult (tell me I’m not the only person who thinks it’s more terrifying than dating?) As it happens, what NCT has taught me is that NO-ONE knows this stuff, and there isn’t really any such thing as a stupid question for a first time parent. Apart from mine, of course, all mine were definitely stupid…!
They do know this is non-alcoholic beer, right?
The pub, once a favourite place of mine, has now become somewhat tainted. Which is really awkward, as it happens, because I work in the pub industry! Not drinking hasn’t been quite the upheaval I thought it would be, but I do still like to socialise with my friends, and on those occasions I like to trick myself into thinking I’m having a beer by drinking a fake one! Unfortunately though, even though I and everyone I care about knows I would never be stupid enough to get hammered while preggers, and even though I shouldn’t give a toss what perfect strangers might think of me and my pre-parenting skills, I still get incredibly paranoid about people assuming what I’m consuming is bad for my unborn child. I suddenly find myself wondering whether that old lady in the corner is giving me side eye, or glancing down at the bottle in my hand on regular occasions to make sure the 0.0% label is pointing outwards for all to see. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that often I feel as though I should apologise to everyone for even daring to be in there. Yes, I know, bonkers.
Will I have to go to Mummy & Baby groups now??
Super Blogger Forever Amber has written about this fear far more eloquently than I ever could, so you should probably just go and read her post to understand my feelings here as I feel she is a bit of a kindred spirit on this, but needless to say, the thought of having to do this scares the shiz out of me. Mummy & Baby groups are basically the amalgamation of all of the above – the fear of being judged by all the far more clever and experienced mummies, the dread that I might ask a stupid question, the complete anxiety of trying to make grown up friends…. Oh, and the very real possibility that my baby, my one and only ally, might promptly fall asleep and leave me sat in a corner on my own singing to myself like an idiot…. all sound like things I really don’t want to experience, thanks. But then of course I chastise myself for being so selfish and not thinking about the needs of my little one so I can’t win really. As it turns out, Amber did go along to a group and she didn’t actually die, so it is entirely possible I am making a drama out of nothing as per usual, but only time will tell on that one…
There are more. There are so many more things that make me feel like a complete and utter basket case, and I’m sure they will only intensify as my child arrives or, God forbid, I choose to procreate again, so I shall leave it there for now. Care to make a crazy girl feel better by letting me in on some of your internal weirdness??