Motherhood requires immense sacrifice from women. We are morally obligated to allow our child(ren) to feed from us and sometimes, sicken our bodies for nine months. Once our children arrive in the world, we cease all functional living to nourish and coo over them for six to nine weeks or more. For the next 18 to 21 years, mothers bear the brunt of the rearing. We raise, foster, teach, discipline, and prepare our kids for the cruel world awaiting them.
Most women sacrifice their peace of mind to provide; their clothes might not be the latest designer digs, but their children are usually well-dressed and well-mannered. Date nights are replaced with parent-teacher conferences. Afternoons are spent teaching ABCs and instilling values and principles that will remain with their children long after they’ve reached puberty. Moms protect their children against those that wish them harm and plan vacations to Disney World, even when they would prefer to spend two weeks in the Bahamas instead. Being a mother is difficult and the burdens of motherhood are challenging.
Those are just a few reasons that I’m terrified of becoming a mom.
I grew up with a superwoman. Though MTV’s Teen Mom has given the world a distorted view of young mothers, my Wonder Woman was married with two children before 21 and she still put our needs and wants before her own. She deferred her dreams to cultivate ours and worked long, thankless hours to provide us with unforgettable Christmases and birthdays., My mom is amazing. She always knew what remedy to give to cure our sickness and prepared meals that still make me salivate. Even now, I can count on her for a wise word when I need it or a reminder that I can’t force my will in life. Mom is one of my sheros and I credit her for a lot of my successes.
I thought that maternal instincts were natural and that I would develop them in due time. Well, I’m 23, an aunt of three and that hasn’t happened. I can’t change a diaper, cut vegetables or twist pigtails. Couple this lack of skills with the rise of postpartum depression in women and the hundreds of children that are reported missing every year and it’s easy to see why I’m scared of having children and shouldering the responsibilities of parenthood.
At the same time that I’m dreading motherhood, I’m optimistic that I’ll inherit at least 50 percent of my mother’s wits. I’ve named my future children, imagined their proms and graduations and dreamed of their chocolate complexions and dimples. I want to meet the challenges of procreating, but I know that the fear will hold me back until I disavow it and stand in strength and confidence about my mothering abilities. It is inevitable that I will step fully into the role when it’s time.
But right now, today, I’m terrified of motherhood.
What is the one thing you’re afraid of? Do you think you’ll be able to overcome it?