When You're Not Excited About Having a Baby
I know I'm taking a big risk. In a world where so many women can't have children or have lost babies they so desperately wanted, saying that you're not excited about a surprise pregnancy is insensitive at best and mean at worst. And yet, I know I'm not alone in feeling overwhelmed and even a little annoyed by an unexpected addition to my seemingly complete family. But ohmygosh can we talk about how crummy I feel about that? How crummy you might have felt about that? How do we have conversations around something that reaches so deeply into people, struggling with different manifestations of hurt and disappointment? I think the only way is by being real and loving each other exactly where we are.
So today, I share exactly where I am. I'm having a surprise third baby, and I'm not that excited about it.
Two of my sisters have lost babies, and I've wept with them like their hurt was my own. I have dear friends who desired another child so deeply, and when they never got it, it was confusing and devastating. I've anxiously waited with other friends who've gone through the relentless process of fostering and adoption, some who still are. Those realities take residence in people I love, and because I love them, their pain matters to me deeply.
Meanwhile, I'm sad about something they want, and it makes me feel slimy. On bad days, I even feel like I'm not worthy to be a mom again. And even though I preach authenticity and vulnerability until my face is blue, this disappointment doesn't feel like something I can casually mention to an old friend in the aisle at CostCo. So I smile and act excited and feel like a fraud.
Of course I’ll love the baby. I already do. Welcoming it into our family and loving it as recklessly and deeply as I do my first two isn’t the issue. But people seem to think that’s the answer when they hear I’m less than excited. “Oh, you’ll love that baby so much, don’t you worry.” I’m not worried. Not about that. What I am worried about? I feel like I'm losing who I am all over again. My boys are almost 6 and 4, and I’ve just started to feel like myself, like I can do this mom thing without disappearing. Now I'm back at the beginning, and I'm terrified. Even though I already love this baby, I'm absolutely terrified.
I don’t have an answer. I don’t even know the questions to ask. But here’s what I do know.
1. Jesus doesn’t judge how I feel.
I’m grateful for my faith because I’m in relationship with a God who knows me deeply and loves me always. He’s not scared of my fear, and He doesn't leave me in my isolation. He's okay if I sit with Him just to be mad, just like He welcomes those who are mad for the opposite reason. He's big enough, and I'm so grateful for that.
2. I’m still a good mom.
I’m here to tell you that if you’ve ever felt this way about your baby, you are 100% not alone, 100% not a terrible person, and 100% still a fantastic mother. I can say this to you because it’s always easier to speak truth to people other than ourselves. But it’s good to remember that those words are true of me, too, even when my feelings say otherwise.
3. It’s going to be okay.
I know it will. Hope is powerful, and I hold to mine tightly. Just like I pray for hope for those who are hurting in all the ways people hurt. Eventually, it's going to be okay. We have not been abandoned.
Thank you for letting me be honest and for showing me grace. Even though it's awkward to be real, being awkward together will get us closer than being fake ever will.
So may we awkwardly and authentically love each other well.
(And may this baby be the best sleeper ever born on Planet Earth, amen.)