The Mixed Feelings Of Pregnancy

K5TwNo1467902804Finding ourselves pregnant is a momentous occasion. It is a time when we realise that our lives are going to change radically but we can’t know exactly how, particularly with our first child. Even when we planned our pregnancy, it can still take us by surprise. It is exciting to know that we will have a baby. Knowing that we will meet our own child in less than nine months time can be both wonderful and surreal. We have a hope and an investment in the future was not there before.

Feeling excited or pleased is what we tend to expect when we find out we are going to have a baby but the reality for many of us is that it can also come with other feelings too. At any point in life, facing the unknown can be scary and it is no different with having children.

Our life experiences lead us to have expectations of what is to come and it is inevitable that some of us (if not all of us) have our concerns or doubts at times.

Mixed feelings about having a baby are normal. Click To Tweet

Mixed feelings about having a baby are completely normal. Many of the women I interviewed spoke of moments when, during their pregnancies, they felt daunted or worried about having a baby. Maybe it was concern about managing a baby, about coping financially or about being good enough as a mother.

Very little of life is black and white including our feelings about motherhood. Click To Tweet

Having mixed feelings is a part of life. We are all have complex feelings around many of our life experiences. There is rarely a situation where we can be absolute about anything. For example, if asked, I would say that I love my job as counsellor which is true much of the time. But, there are moments that I find it challenging and others when I doubt myself. There is a maturity in accepting the complexities of what life has to offer us. Very little of living is black and white.

As a part of pregnancy some of us can experience those mixed feelings with concern. Some of my mothers feared that it might mean that they wouldn’t love their babies or even want them. Some thought it was a sign that they were not ready.

But motherhood is no different to any other part of life. And in fact, being able to recognise and hold on to conflicting emotions simultaneously is a skill that helps rather than hinders, particularly when raising a child. Motherhood is full of contradictory feelings that, with time, we learn to contend with. With a child in our charge we can feel more powerful and more vulnerable. We can feel more enlivened and connected to life but also more detached and tired. We can feel great love and at the same time great frustration. Our children can be a joy and a sorrow (and of course everything in-between).

So if you are pregnant and you are experiencing mixed emotions or if you look back on your pregnancy and feel bad for having complex feelings, then know that you are not alone. Of course, if these feelings are bothering you sharing them with a trusted person who listens and respects you will be of benefit. Or, writing down your feelings with a mind to where your fears may have originated from can help too.

I would love to hear how you feel about being pregnant or felt during your pregnancy. What mixed feelings do you (or did you) have? If you leave a comment below I will reply as soon as I can. Thanks for reading. Kirsten

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60 thoughts on “The Mixed Feelings Of Pregnancy

    1. I do think that sometimes the second time can be more worrying because we know what is coming and we wonder how we will manage to do it again but with a toddler in the mix. Thanks for sharing your feelings, Lucy.

  1. Pregnancy was a very difficult time for me, mainly because I had lost fifteen babies to miscarriage and our second son to stillbirth at full term. I was convinced that I would lose our babies, even going as far as refusing to buy a single item of clothing for them the whole 9 months, and in all honesty I hated every moment of being pregnant because it was utterly terrifying. I feel bad looking back that I didn’t enjoy any of it, but I tell myself that it was understandable. #sharewithme
    five little doves recently posted…Jord Wooden Watches, Frankie series – reviewMy Profile

    1. Hi Laura, Anything traumatic impacts us deeply and having to go through the miscarriages over and over was bound to have a huge impact. I imagine that you didn’t feel safe enough to have allow yourself to have hope or enjoy it in case you lost another baby. The thing about trauma is that it touches other trauma. When we re-experience something similar it brings up the emotions of the past events. Reading your comment, I can’t help but feel that you did really well in very difficult circumstances. Thanks for sharing with us your experiences. Kirsten

  2. I had mixed feelings. I think a lot of it is fear of the unknown. Especially either a first pregnancy, we don’t know what life will be like. It can be hard to imagine it.

    It’s great you’ve posted about this because I think many people will think they’re alone. I know I did! #sharingthebloglove
    Lucy’s Locket recently posted…Why you should wear your babyMy Profile

    1. Hi Lucy, It is impossible to know motherhood before we get there and so it is not surrising that we have mxed feelings. I agree that it is rarely talked about. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Kirsten

    1. Mixed feelings are a part of life and it is no different with our babies. We love them but they change our lives so radically that we are bound to have a whole range of feelings about it. I think getting used to contradictory feelings is part of the motherhood journey. Thank you for sharing, Lizzie. You are certainly not alone.

  3. Currently pregnant with my second child. This one is definitely more of a mixed emotion journey. With baby #1, you have the time and energy to sit and dwell on how life is going to be and everything about the baby. With baby #2, still at 21 weeks pregnant it doesn’t feel like it’s happening. Life is so full, you can’t understand how it can change or even picture adding another little bundle to the equation. Still a beautiful experience. #coolmumclub

    1. Hi Lex, It can be really hard to imagine managing a second child. I certainly felt a bit overwhelmed at the idea and wondered how I would cope with a baby and toddler. It is still exciting but maybe second time round we know more about the challenges ahead which can be both an advantage and disadvantage. Thanks for your comment. Good luck with baby number two. It is surreal because as soon as they arrive it is hard to imagine life without them.

  4. You’re completely right. I lost my Mother during very early pregnancy and that profoundly affected my pregnancy. In one way it was a source of joy during a sad time to know I was growing my child. But it also made me extremely aware of fragility of life so I was continuously fearful something would go wrong, or that my grief would harm my child.

    My husband experienced similar mixed emotions but once our daughter was born. He absolutely loves her, without a doubt. But he found those early days so much harder than he ever thought they would be. He now struggles to consider a second child because of those memories of the early days (which were in reality only a 2 – 3 weeks!).

    #CoolMumClub
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    1. Hi Angela, Our feelings around having our children are so complex and they contain within them all the other things going on in our lives. Losing your mother must have been very hard particularly because in pregnancy and when we have a new child we feel very connected to our mothers. The women I interviewed for my book that experienced this found it tough. You are so right that death connects us with the fragility of life and so does new parenthood, so you had a double dose. Considering a second child can be daunting when the first time was emotionally challenging. It can be hard to separate the two. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Kirsten

  5. I can definitely remember going through a roller coaster of emotions throughout all my pregnancies – especially the third and final one after a traumatic loss.
    Thanks for sharing this resource for new and anxious mums-to-be via #coolmumclub
    MMT recently posted…#coolmumclub Linky week 46My Profile

    1. Hi Sarah, There are the usual ups and downs but then any trauma makes it all the much more intense, understandably. Thank you for sharing your feelings in this time. Kirsten

  6. I think it can be so hard to trust that you are going to be a great Mum and that you will be able to cope and do a brilliant job of loving and providing for a new tiny human, when it is a totally new and unknown experience. I think that all new and expectant mums feel under pressure to feel and behave in very positive and “naturally maternal” way when in fact I know I was often quite anxious and feeling out of control through my pregnancy. Very well written and I’m sure this will bring some real comfort and support to other expectant or new mums reading. x #coolmumclub

    1. I could not agree with your comment more. Your words ‘pressure to feel and behave in very positive and “naturally maternal” way’ is so true. however, we are all human and naturally have a range of feelings and uncertainty and doubts are normal. Thanks for your insightful comment, Rhyming with Wine.

  7. I relate to this post so much. I’m expecting baby no2 in March next year, my son is 18 months and I am completely petrified about the challenges that lay ahead. This second baby is of course loved and wanted, but that doesn’t mean I have all the rose tinted optimism that I possessed first time round. I am tired, and poor.lol! I have no time for my work already and in the midst of a hard day, where all I want to do is curl up and sleep, I wonder how I will cope with 2 children under 2. But, then I realise that although I may feel like I’m not coping, I actually am. It’s hard and relentless, but you keep going. Because there is no other option. The key is to just get on with it as best you can, and if it gets a bit much, the best thing is to remember all things pass. And to be kind to oneself for having all the negative feelings of parenthood, because they are just as significant as the bad. #coolmumclub

    1. I remember wondering how I would ever manage two children when I was pregnant second time round. You are spot on, Lucy, be kind to yourself. Raising children is not easy and evokes in all of us complex emotions. Just because we become mothers doesn’t mean we stop having a range of feelings and love everything. Like you said you are coping, even if it is not comfortable at times. Be picky about what you spend your time on, really consider what is necessary. Having another child is both wonderful and tough but I am sure that you will be amazed at how much you have learned from your first child. Best of luck with baby number two. Kirsten

  8. As a dad, we also go through our own self-doubts. Will I be a good father? Can I support my wife properly? Do pregnant women want to hear what their husbands are going through?

    1. Hi Reuven, Well I can only speak for myself and the women I interviewed and say ‘yes’ to your last question. A fathers journey is just as important but not the focus of this post. Dad’s everywhere play such an important role in their children’s lives and also in supporting their pregnant partners. The world really changes once we have children, for everyone involved.

  9. I had lots of mixed emotions whilst pregnant. I’m so used to being in control. I’m a control freak! So not being in control of my body was really tough for me…At least the idea of it was. I was also so worried that something would go wrong. But as my first pregnancy progressed, many of the worries melted away. I found that I was more relaxed about my body and how I felt about it as I was focussed on making sure I was eating well for the baby and the focus moved from me to them.

    Second time around it was an easier time. I felt more comfortable about pregnancy and laid back!

    Its a funny old time because our hormones are all over the place, but, posts like this must be such a relief to mums to be who find their experiences and mixed emotions are normal. Thanks for sharing! #BloggerClubUK

    1. Hi Jane, I had plenty of mothers that contributed to my book talk about the loss of control in pregnancy being difficult, particularly the first time round. It is very strange to be pregnant and no amount of thought controls the outcome. I am glad to hear that this improved as you went on in the pregnancy. Thank you so much for commenting and giving me a social media tip – always welcome:-) Kirsten

    1. Thank you for those kind words, Catie. It is an unspoken pressure to be all loving which can feel like we shouldn’t have any concerns or worries but such a life change is bound to provoke feelings like being terrified. When I was pregnant for the first time I wondered how I would feel because I had never had anything to do with babies and generally avoided them. It was very surreal.

    1. Do we forget? Probably. Or maybe we just decide it is worth it. The thing is that it is not that uncommon not to enjoy pregnancy but some of us end up feeling bad for it. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  10. Pregnancy brings with it such a change in hormones and a raft of emitions. Mixed feelings about such a lifestyle change is completely understandable and a sign you are really thinking about everytning and not just being swept away with the emotion. #MarvMondays

    1. That is a very good point, Fiona. Sometimes in our over simplistic media and mixed feelings are portrayed as not being committed but actually they are just a part of living a considered life. Thanks for your insightful comment. Kirsten

  11. A great post! I had mixed feelings with my first because I knew I was going to be a young single Mum and I was really nervous of the thought. But, I must admitt I was even more nervous during my second pregnancy.

    #MarvMondays

    1. Single mumdom is bound to make it more nerve wracking. And what you have said about the second time round is something I have heard a lot in the comments. It seems that we have a better idea of what a huge task we are taking on after we have had our first child and so our second brings even more trepidation. You are not alone in that. Thanks so much for commenting.

  12. I had real mixed feelings at the beginning because I had only just started ‘dating’ my other half (though knowing him for years previously) and I was just 17 at the time, but now we have our second and I can’t wait to fulfil my dream of 4! Although I really hated being pregnant. Even looking back at the pictures now it makes me feel really weird and uncomfortable! #Picknmix
    Amie recently posted…Educational Toddler TVMy Profile

    1. Hi Amie, when I interviewed women for my book I found such a huge range of feelings over being pregnant, all mixed, of course. Your experience of not liking being pregnant was echoed by plenty of my mothers. It sounds as if it is all worth it for you as you have plans for four!! That is amazing. Thanks for commenting.

  13. In our home, my Mrs. had the babies. In another time, a life time ago, I tried very hard to have them and was unable. Now I am grateful for our family is beautiful and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. I guess one of the perks of a lesbian couple is morethan just sharing clothes, but it offers another ‘womb with a view.’ That all being said, I thought I couldn’t have children because I was not going to be a good parent. Mostly because of my upbringing. Well isn’t that all ridiculous! Parenthood is hard, and it’s the most wonderful thing out here! #mg
    Lisa Pomerantz recently posted…For richer or poorer…My Profile

    1. Hi Lisa, It is not uncommon to have concerns about our ability to parent and this can be intensified by having a difficult upbringing ourselves. It is wonderful to hear that you have been proved wrong and that you have discovered the joy of raising children, even though it is tough at times. Thanks so much for commenting. Kirsten

    1. I keep hearing this, Charlotte. It seems that for many women the mixed feelings increase because we know the potential challenges of what is to come. Thanks so much for commenting and sharing your experiences.

  14. I’ve had three children but yes, even with my 3rd I had still moments of “Are we doing the right thing?”. I think it’s totally human nature to doubt ourselves , our decisions and our capabilities. It’s just because we want to be able to give our children the very best we can.

    #mg

    1. You are spot on. Jamine. We want so much to do our best for our children and it makes us question ourselves. Recognising that it often comes from a point of caring deeply is really good. Thanks for commenting.

  15. I had mixed feelings too. There were days when wasn’t sure what I was doing. There were days when I completely forgot that I was pregnant. There were days when I was upset because so much was about to change. Even now in a little over one year of being a mother there are times when I’m not sure about what I feel. It’s a momentous change, especially for a mother, and it’s okay to have mixed feelings. It’s pretty normal

    1. I think the way you describe it is very real, Nabanita. there are naturally highs and lows and everything in between. Thanks for your comment.

    1. That is really lovely to hear. It sounds as if you have a confidence in yourself this time despite the concerns about miscarriage. Thanks for sharing how this pregnancy has differed.

  16. I felt quite bad during my pregnancy. I was vomiting, had pain etc. So I don’t think it’s overwhelming and I don’t understand when some woman saying it’s the best time in their life
    #mg

    1. It is really hard if not impossible to enjoy being pregnant when we are struggling so much physically. Plenty of women I interviewed for my book had a similar experience and very few spoke of the ‘blooming’ thing that is supposed to happen. but for those who weren’t symptom ridden it was easier to feel good about being pregnant. Thanks so much for commenting and sharing your experience.

  17. I felt very mixed emotions when pregnant with all 3, and each experience was unique. I felt that I particularly struggled with Aspen as I had never been happier or more terrified. After loosing two pregnancies before Aspen I was so scared something bad was going to happen. I was also the happiest I’d ever been and I was grieving. Even as a new mother I was tor between being overwhelmed and exhausted and being so completely in love with her. Motherhood really is a mix of emotions! Great post! #mg
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…When they don’t want to grow up.My Profile

    1. You are spot on, Mackenzie. Motherhood is such a mix of emotions and it is really normal to feel that way. Your situation with Aspen was intensified by the losses you experienced. Thank you for your comment. Knowing that others mothers feel this mix of feelings is very reassuring to read.

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