re you waiting to start a family because you’re afraid it’s not the right time? Do you think you might not have what it takes to be a parent?
Well, you’re in the majority. Most would-be or soon-to-be parents feel crippled with anxiety with the mere thought of caring for a helpless infant. And there’s a good reason.
There’s really nothing that can prepare you for the experience until you’re in it. But there are a few things you can do to overcome the fear of being a parent.
- Understand your worries will change
There’s no way to sugar coat it. Parents do deal with their fair share of anxiety around their children’s wellbeing. But it may not be exactly what you think. The things you’re worried about now may not even be on your radar when your child arrives. For example, many parents worry about their ability to hold and carry their delicate infants. But then, when the child arrives, it becomes second nature very quickly. You will worry as a parent, but the entire experience is probably different than you’re imagining, so don’t get too much in your head about it.
- Understand the risks
The reason we worry about benign parents is that we tend to think about worst-case scenarios. And the more you think about those things, the more likely they seem to become. But that’s all an illusion. The facts are still the facts, and the worst-case scenarios are very rare. If you’re worried about something specific happening, look up the stats to figure out whether it’s probable. Remember that there’s a huge gap between possible and probable, and it doesn’t make sense to worry about something that is improbable.
- Talk to other parents
Another reason you may be worried about becoming a parent is because of a fear of inadequacy. When you tune in to social media, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. All the Pinterest parents out there seem to be rocking it, and that’s a ton of pressure. But if you can talk to a few parents who seem to have it all together, they’ll probably tell you that they feel like they don’t. No one has it all figured out, regardless of how it may look on social media.
- Help out a new mom
If you’re really worried about caring for an infant, ask a new mom friend or family member if you can spend the day helping out. She’ll probably appreciate the help (as long as you’re contributing), and you’ll get some hands-on experience with a baby. This can give you a window into what parenthood is like in those early days. It’s not all sunshine and roses, but we get through it, especially when we have help.
- Let go of what you cannot control
If you decide you really do want to be a parent, try to set your focus on the things you can actually control. Think about what you can do to ease your worries about things that are most concerning to you, and then let go and do your best. When we’re hyper-focused on what can go wrong, it takes away from the things that are going right.
Thoughts of being a parent can be scary, but in reality, most parents are taking it day by day. And they’ll probably tell you that the rewards far outweigh the worries.