25 Things That Scare Me About Having a Baby

How can something so tiny fill me with so much fear?
How can something so tiny fill me with so much fear?

Whelp. It’s official.

I’m pregnant. Like actually, for-real, now-into-the-second-trimester pregnant.

We found out on our fall trip to Germany and Italy (obviously, the best places on earth for beer, wine, soft cheese and cured meats is an ideal place to learn you’re expecting), and it’s been a rollercoaster ever since. I’m currently 17 weeks in, and while the initial shock and onslaught of overwhelm tears have mostly subsided…

Becoming a parent is by far the scariest thing I have ever done.

Anyone who is having a kid or plans on having a kid and isn’t a little scared hasn’t really thought this through. Getting pregnant in the first place can be anxiety-inducing, and often heartbreaking (something I learned first-hand last fall). Pregnancy and childbirth are scary as hell, too. And then after that, you have a kid. Forever. 

Here’s just a handful of the things constantly running through my head these days. Just writing it all down made me feel better.

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1. Getting my head wrapped around the idea of having a kid.

For pretty much my entire life, “getting pregnant” would’ve been one of the worst things ever. And my parents learning that factoid? Heart attack city! But after you get married, it becomes the only thing your parents want. And you’re supposed to really want it, too. For me, it’s like holy shit this is exciting and holy shit this is a lot to think about.

In less than six months, my entire life will be turned upside down. It’ll all be new. It’s scary. It’s exciting. It’s scary.

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2. Feeling like I’m not ready.

The other day at the gym, I casually mentioned after class that I am with child. A few of my fellow gym goers, most in their early to mid-20s, were like, “I don’t think I’ll ever feel prepared for a kid!” I was like, yeah, I’m 33. Married. Own a house. Make a decent income. Have health insurance and literally drive a station wagon… and I STILL don’t feel prepared! 

My head tells me, you’re not ready for a child, you selfish mess of a human being! But my gut says it’s never the right time, and I’m not getting any younger, and don’t-worry-about-it-Molly-you’re-going-to-be-great. So, bombs away!

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3. Not being as excited as I “should” be.

I didn’t cry tears of excitement when I saw two blue lines. I did cry a lot, later, because holy shit we’re having a baby and life as we know it is over!  But there have been so many times when I totally forget that I’m pregnant, or don’t seem to have a strong connection with the baby. Sometimes I feel like I’m broken because I haven’t even thought of what will go in the nursery. I don’t know about strollers or carseats or anything. And at this exact moment, I don’t even care.

However, I’ve had glimmers of excitement. Like when we had our first sonogram and heard the baby’s heartbeat. I cried then, and not because I was scared. It was happy tears! This gives me lots of hope that once this is really real and really happening, I will be excited. And that makes me feel a lot less guilty and a lot more normal. Also, my husband could power all of Las Vegas with his excitement, so I think between the two of us, we’re good.

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4. What’s going to happen to my career?

I work from home. For myself. This one-woman company I’m running doesn’t have sick days, or maternity leave or daycare. So how is this little bundle of joy going to change things? I just don’t know. What I do know is that it’s next to impossible to get anything done with a 14-week old puppy in your house, and you don’t even have to feed them every two hours using your actual body. So will I have time to work? Where will I find the energy? How do we afford childcare? Is my career on hold? I just don’t know and it’s freaking me out.

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5. What’s going to happen to my life?

I stopped going out a few nights a week years ago. I go to bed early, I get up early. My lifestyle is very baby-friendly. But the thing is, I do things when I want and how I want. Yoga at noon? Why not!

When this baby comes, that’s over. I’m on someone else’s watch, and that someone else can’t walk, talk, or even stop him/herself from pooping in their pants. Want to go out to lunch today? Too bad, I have an earache and am just going to cry about it for the next few days until you figure it out. Enjoy! 

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6. My dog 🙁

Everyone says when you have a kid, your dog goes from being your fur baby to being just a big pain-in-the-ass, D-O-G, dog. I get it. But you see, my dog is literally my bestie and she’s already helped me so much during this pregnancy. She slept by me every day for the first 3 months as I shoveled crackers and Coke into my nauseated face. She encourages me to go on walks, even when it’s really cold. And she’s become super-protective of me and this little human I’m schlepping around.

I can barely even stand to think about how this will change everything for us. I’m trying to be optimistic, but it’s what I’ve cried over more than anything else.

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7. The size of our house.

I know babies don’t need that much space, but I still worry about the size of our two-bedroom, one-bathroom place. Yes, I realize people deal with a lot less (heck, I think my grandparents had nearly a dozen kids in a two-bedroom with a bunk bed-filled attic), but just because it’s been done before doesn’t mean I don’t get to stress out about it!

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8. My body.

I saw myself in the mirror yesterday and for the first time was like who is that? My body will be different forever. And I know it’s because of this baby I’m going to love more than anything in the whole world… but still.

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9. Stretch marks.

Let me take you back to Stillwater Junior High School, circa 1996.

I was in Ms. Madsen’s health class and we were “learning” about how babies are made. Anyhow, one day she asked the class why we might not want to have a baby at this stage in our lives (8th grade). After my classmates chimed in with the normal answers (expensive, big responsibility, embarrassing, can’t hangout with your friends as much, blah-blah-blah), I raised my hand and said, “I don’t want stretch marks.”

Ms. Madsen audibly scoffed at me, then proceeded to tear me a new one in front of the class. This is serious, Molly. This is not a joke! 

Well excuse me for thinking of one of the actual ramifications that might persuade a shallow 14-year-old to not get pregnant.

Two decades later, here I am. 33 and pregnant. And guess what? I still don’t want stretch marks, and neither does anyone else I know! Riddle me this, Ms. Madsen: if stretch marks aren’t scary, why are women swapping strategies for not getting them like hotdish recipes in a Lutheran church basement? We know they happen, but we still don’t want them. So shame on you for shaming me!

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10. Wearing a bikini while pregnant.

I actually can’t decide if I’m scared or excited about this one. I’ve never cared for my belly, and when it’s just a big basketball, maybe I’ll actually feel confident in my skin. Who knows, but this is a fear I am definitely planning on facing in the next few months!

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11. Pre-natal yoga

I’m not sure if my fear of “things geared specifically toward pregnant women” is founded. I am sure it’s mostly me being judgmental. But it’s just the truth: I fear going to pre-natal yoga (or birthing classes or anything like it!). I feel like the class is going to be too soft, touchy-feely, and heavy on phrases that make me want to hurl, like warrior mama. I don’t know… there’s just something off-putting to me about it. So obviously I am going to take a class and tell you how it goes!

I’ll probably love it.

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12. Mommy-hazing.

You know what I’m talking about. It’s when moms tell you all the negative, scary shit that happened to them while pregnant, while giving birth or the crazy, messed up thing that’s happening now that they have kids. I don’t know why people do this, but I do not like it at all. As if anyone needs more things to freak out about while pregnant!

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13. Becoming a mommy-hazer.

But what if I start mommy hazing?!?!?!

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14. Becoming a “Mommy Blogger.”

There is nothing wrong with being a mommy blogger, but I just never wanted to do it. Will I have other things to write about during the first few years I am a mom? I’m not sure!

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15. Letting myself go.

I spent my first trimester wearing dog hair covered yoga pants and a frumpy sweatshirt most days. Is this my new normal? Now that I’m feeling better, I’ve been trying to shower, do my hair and makeup, and get dressed. It’s not easy. And it’s not going to get easier with a baby. Will I let myself go? Will I even care? Am I destined for a makeover show in a decade? We’ll see.

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16. Giving birth.

Scary AF. No explanation needed.

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17. Getting an epidural.

Oh boy… what would it feel like to not feel my legs?!?! I don’t know if I’d like that!

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18. Not getting an epidural.

I don’t think I like this either. Ring of fire!

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19. Post-birth recovery.

I accidentally read this post and was like, no way. Read if you dare!

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20. Unsolicited advice & judgement.

Apparently, everyone knows everything about being pregnant, childbirth, breast feeding, child rearing and more. I can’t wait for them to bestow their knowledge on me!

Wait, wait. Just kidding.

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21. Lack of Sleep.

Last week, I had to get up at 1am, 3am, 5am and 6am to let a whining puppy outside to pee. Dude, I almost lost my damn mind after one measly night. I’m trying to imagine that exact night happening over and over, a la Groundhog’s Day, and it is not pretty.

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22. Not feeling connected to the baby.

What if this happens? I know it does happen… so what if it happens to me? Staying optimistic that it won’t.

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23. Postpartum Depression

And if this happens to me, I hope and pray I know when to tell people what’s up, when to ask for help, and when to ask that I be left alone.

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24. Breastfeeding in public.

I vow to do this at some point if I am able to breast feed. I’ll probably have to anyhow. I’m not contrarian by nature, so I certainly would never whip out my boob in the rotunda at the Mall of America (that’s so not me), but in a back booth at a restaurant? Or discretely on a park bench? I mean, Hey Eleanor! Let’s feed this kid.

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25. Driving a Mini-van

I worried about this one until last week when my husband showed me a photo of a black Town & Country he said he wouldn’t mind driving. Crisis averted!

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Who am I kidding? I could do way more than 25 of these.

Pooping on the table (I know it’ll happen), paying for everything, and simply thinking about the health of my child. I couldn’t even bear to give that last one a number, it’s just too hard to think about. And then there is the scariest thing of all– and the thing that makes it extra terrifying is that it’s the only thing that 100-percent is going to happen. Right this second, centimeters below my elasticky belly band, there’s a tiny human who I will worry about every day, for the rest of my life.

I will love this person more than anyone or anything, ever, in the history of the world. Josh and I are responsible for helping shape this person. We’re going to make mistakes, and this kid is going to make mistakes and do dumb stuff that makes me want to pull out my hair because I thought I taught you better than that! This scares the ever-loving shit out of me.

But I can’t change any of this, so why spend any additional time worrying about it.

Instead, I’m trying to focus on the good stuff:

  • I’m having a kid with the coolest guy I know. He’s going to be the best dad. He’ll take the kids to Home Depot and show them how to build stuff and fix stuff. He’ll teach them how to swim and ski (waterski and downhill!) and will probably let them get a lot dirtier than I will. A kid needs that parent.
  • I am not worried about being a good mom. I won’t be perfect, and that’s okay. I know when this baby arrives, I am going to love him or her so much that all this other fear [mostly] washes away.
  • Lastly, there’s the thing I’m the most excited about: teaching my kid my awesome dance moves. When they’re old enough to think my belting out of Bruno Mars songs paired with my mom moves are embarrassing, I’m not going to stop. That’s my job as a mom.

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Having kids is some scary, but amazing business. Here’s a few other posts about it: The first (and only) time I ever changed a diaper, what it’s like to have a baby in a foreign country, and some straight-talk from an amazing midwife. Oh– and if you don’t want to have a baby, here’s why you still might want to quit taking hormonal birth control.

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Comments (26)

  • Libby 1 year ago Reply

    Congratulations, Molly! I can honestly tell you that every one of your fears was totally on my list (and it’s very refreshing to see them being addressed openly), and every single one of those issues turned out so much better than I feared. Most important to remember: you’ll still be you. You’ll probably find you’re more patient, caring, resilient, and capable than you ever realized. You’ll be great. xo

    molly mogren katt 1 year ago Reply

    That’s the thing I’ve learned doing all of this Hey Eleanor stuff– literally everything is worse in your head than it is in reality. When you’re in the moment, you don’t have time to think about the millions of ways things could go wrong. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Brianna Hansen 1 year ago Reply

    Congrats, Molly! We’ve never met but I do love your blog and I’m excited for you. I have a 3 mo. old and am navigating life back at work, my relationship with my husband, my mom living with us for childcare, and trying to still be me (and figure out who that is now!), but at the end of the day you have this amazing little person that makes all the crazy worth it. Embrace all the feels, good and bad, as it’s part of the motherhood journey. Cheers. 🙂

    molly mogren katt 1 year ago Reply

    Thanks for your kind words! Good luck navigating these new waters– I’ll be there shortly.

  • Craig Domres 1 year ago Reply

    Congrats Molly and Josh! I was driven to comment after reading #6, concerning your dog. I can tell you, my experience was that I became closer with Indiana (our dog) as our family grew. It was great to watch Indiana and Moira (my daughter) interact and figure each other out. The act of explaining to a young child the role of a dog in your life and why it’s important to be nice to him, to take good care of him, take him for walks, and say "hi" when he greets you at the door has strengthened my bond with the dog.

    So, while I was tempted to say little, because everybody handles parenthood differently and every kid and family is different, I thought it prudent to tell you this. It may turn out that the things you are worried about actually turn out better in the long run.

    Tell Josh I said hello and congratulations as well!

    Josh Katt 1 year ago Reply

    Hey Craig!
    That is some really awesome feedback, thanks much!
    And thanks for the congratulations,
    Josh

    molly mogren katt 1 year ago Reply

    This is the happiest thing I’ve read all day 🙂 Fur babies and regular babies can be friends! Thank you!

  • Meg 1 year ago Reply

    Yes. All true. I’m only 9 weeks in, but this is by far the scariest thing I’ve ever done. One of the hardest things for me is to try to be aware of reality while not letting all the information convince me that EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE, OH GOD. There’s a certain amount of delusion necessary to preserve one’s sanity. Congrats, and I’ll be looking forward to following a long behind you!

    molly mogren katt 1 year ago Reply

    Ah, congrats! I keep telling myself "so many people do this… it can’t be all that bad, right?" I’m trying to read as little as possible. Some might say that’s downright irresponsible. I say it’s the way to go.

  • Liz 1 year ago Reply

    Wow, congratulations!! Thank you for keeping it real – I don’t yet have kids but identify with each and every one of your fears whenever I think about our eventual (well, hopefully) parenthood. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one! Looking forward to following along and sending good energies for the rest of your pregnancy – and then parenthood, of course!

    molly mogren katt 1 year ago Reply

    There is so much to think about, and I am doing my darnedest to not think about most of it. Head in the sand, I say!

  • Steph Davis 1 year ago Reply

    Yes! all of that. I am at 24 weeks and just meet my week old niece, I am just trying not to think of all that happened for her to get here that I will have to do in 4 months!
    Congrats!

    molly mogren katt 1 year ago Reply

    hahaha, my brother and sister-in-law had a baby about a month ago and while i’m curious, I’m also kind of plugging my ears and saying lalalalalalalala!

  • Carly 1 year ago Reply

    You and Josh are going to be great. There’s no right or wrong way to feel or prepare for becoming parents, so do whatever feels the least overwhelming and anxiety-inducing. I say that realizing that everything is probably overwhelming and anxiety-inducing right now, so it’s also ok to not deal with it for awhile too—you have time to prepare at your own pace. Plus, even if you don’t have everything you’re told you need to have a baby, you’ll be fine. You live in a city with a Target (or 10). You can go there and get what you need.

    Can’t wait to meet the little one!

    molly mogren katt 1 year ago Reply

    Good point… there is always Target. Thanks for the encouragement 😉

  • Diane Donley 1 year ago Reply

    Molly…you have a great Mom…and YOU WILL be a great Mom too! Congratulations!

  • Jackie Stone Friedland 1 year ago Reply

    The epidural comments had me busting a gut…all of the GIF’s were spot on too! There is definitely no one way to prepare for a baby…just do what comes naturally and enjoy it! Congrats!

    molly mogren katt 1 year ago Reply

    I’m just going to wing it! (bad idea? i dunno… I think it might be kinda smart…)

  • Ashley 1 year ago Reply

    Congratulations!!!!

  • As another 33 year-old woman that’s currently 25 weeks pregnant with her first baby (after also experiencing a miscarriage last year), I could have written just about 99% of this. PREACH, MOMMY.

    molly mogren katt 1 year ago Reply

    High-five from across the internet!

  • Heather Liedl 1 year ago Reply

    What an adventure so far, huh?! Congratulations to you and Josh. Thank you for mentioning the part about mourning life as you know it – I felt so guilty about doing that, even though we wanted a baby and intentionally got pregnant. It also brought up 100 relationship fears that sent me into many panic days. Then, we got to feel those movements around weeks 21 and our hearts started softening and have freaking grew to double. Last thing I’ll add, I’m now 5 days past my due date and we honestly started and finished practically EVERYTHING in the last 2-3 weeks (nursery, car seat, etc.). In fact, I’m just looking into day care today…for May/June. I’m such a procrastinator but everything falls into place and works, I swear. Best wishes on everything!

    P.S., #19, nope – I don’t dare. I learned my reading lesson after a stillbirth story that still haunts me. So wise of you to pick and choose what you read at this point.

    molly mogren katt 1 year ago Reply

    Oh yes, the relationship fears! That’s a whole post all on its own.

    It’s funny, Josh keeps saying things like "the baby doesn’t even need a room until they’re like 6 months old!"… meaning that he thinks we don’t even have to start thinking about that for another 10 months or so. Hahahaa… no.

    Congrats to the two of you, and best of luck with your delivery. I say best not to think about it until you have to… like when they tell you to push. xoxo

  • Cindy 1 year ago Reply

    I had the same fears! Having a baby is terrifying and so, so weird. But also amazing. I feel like I’m the same just with another layer. Birth was so scary and more painful than I could have imagined, but I have a hard time remembering the pain. I legit wanted to quit, rewind, and go back home about halfway through, but surprise! That’s not an option. After I had an epidural (which I resisted for a solid 2 hours because I’m terrified of needles) I told the nurse that I felt "fucking amazing." Then we talked about recipes and she asked for a card to my blog for her teenaged son who loves food blogs. Then, I had a baby. It was a crazy experience.
    The best piece of advice from my birthing class was not to be alone for long stretches for the first 2 weeks post-partum. Like, just have someone around, not like up in your face, but just there emotionally. I forgot pretty much everything else. Since I live in Portland it was very earth-mother-yoga-baby-you-should-breastfeed-until-he’s-five, but that’s not me, so I took things with a grain of salt. Okay, ending the unsolicited advice.

    Congratulations! You’ll do amazingly. I think having fears is a huge part of being a decent parent (and person, in general).

  • Jenny Jordan 1 year ago Reply

    Almost 16 weeks pregnant here. I love this so much. I’ve always had anxiety around major life changes (especially getting married) and this new addition is no exception! Just like you, I have glimmers of excitement, but a lot of the time, I forget that I’m pregnant…and it just feels like I am punished from my favorite things (namely, wine and sushi)! It’s very refreshing to read this and know that I am far from alone and in good company. Thanks and congrats, Molly! I will be following closely!

    molly mogren katt 1 year ago Reply

    You are definitely not alone. Anyone who says they aren’t freaked out is a liar or delusional (IMHO). PS on the sushi: I figure you can at least have those naughty rolls with tempura stuff. Congrats to you, too!

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