This may be the last weekend before full-fledged parenthood with an “outside” baby. The baby’s due date is March 10th and while everyone keeps on telling us that first pregnancies usually run late, I keep reminding everyone that I was born 8 days ahead of my due date. Babies arrive when they are ready to.
Christine and I are basically as ready as we are going to be for our son to arrive and for parenthood. We both have had a hand in changing diapers and taking care of babies and toddlers whether it was with cousins or nephews in the past. While we understand that the effort involved will be different and more intense we still feel ready in that regard.
Still, we have fears and uncertainties that peek through if you’re really paying attention. For example, I keep calling the hospital bag a “panic bag” indicating the sense of uncertainty and fear I have about labor and the hospital. Some, we have admitted are rational and others are less so and in some cases completely unfounded. Christine and I have sat and discussed these fears. but it doesn’t make them any less present. Still, we know that we have each other to rely upon and are lucky to have a great family and friend support system to get us through the upcoming newborn weeks when we’re most likely to take ourselves and our fears all too seriously.
Here the fears list:
1. Fear for Christine’s or the baby’s health: As much as I joked with Christine during our Childbirth Preparation classes, have no doubt that I expect childbirth to be nerve-racking, to say the least. The realist in me is all to aware of the scary things that can happen to a mother or her baby or both. I feel that when he is born Christine and I will be secretly or not-so-secretly counting all of his fingers and toes and constantly checking in on his breathing.
2. Fear about providing for the baby: Will breastfeeding be an issue? Will we have enough money for the baby even with the new budget? What if one of our income streams shifts? Is coordinating schedules when one of us or both have to work late going to burden our parents or friends as babysitters?
3. Fear the baby won’t like us: Yes, there is a point at which all children dislike their parents, but what if he hates us? Sure, we still have years before the street safety talk, the sex talk, or teaching him how to drive. Sure, we will learn long the way and be ready like we have with all the other changes in our life, but…what if?
4. Fear our relationship will change: We get it. Our relationship is going to change and the baby will be the primary focus especially during the newborn weeks. As much as I hate to admit it, I am worried that we won’t have enough time for each other. Christine and I have spoken about it and discussed how we’ve alway made space for each other when facing big life changes. For example, we survived living over 5 hours away from each other while we were dating and still got engaged and married. Rationally, I know that we will find a place where things feel normal again as we have in the past. Irrationally speaking, I know I’m going to wither away, forgotten, and wizened under the stairs in that cubby like the one Harry Potter lived in.
5. Fear that independence will vanish: Due to either distance from friends, timing, or both, I tend to spend a good amount of time alone when it comes to doing the things I like to do. It’s sort of always been the case for me with the exception of college where I did lots of group activities. Christine and I have gotten used to being able to go out alone for either work activities or to go out after hours for fun. Once the baby arrives this time will be much harder to come by, but we know we will have to make time for our non-parent friends, for each other, and even for our hobbies and alone time. I’ve had acquaintances with children who were able to keep up with dancing, hiking, and even marathons all while they had infants or toddlers. Still a small, though loud, voice in the back of my mind keeps lamenting that I will never dance again and that I’ll be stuck wearing a strap on baby carrier forever. Irrational, yes, but a fear nonetheless.