After years of being told by doctors that I wouldn’t conceive or carry a child of my own, I’m happy to say that, at 34 years old, I’m 7 months pregnant. We found out in December that we’re having a girl. My entire life has been twisted and turned upside down. Change is not something that is or ever has been easy for me. Now, everything is going to be different than I’d planned. I get it. Life is always what happens when we’re busy making other plans. While it will be amazing to be a mom (something I thought I’d never get to experience), I’m also terrified on so many levels. My dreams are haunted with a variety of insecurities, driven by hormones and a brain preparing to launch into “mom mode”.
People are well meaning in their advice when it comes to mom worries. I get a lot of “worrying is normal when you’re a mom and a sign of being a good parent.” I hate that my brain ruminates on certain things almost to the point of obsession. I feel insane sometimes with worry, and rather than feel normal, I’m scared, uncertain, afraid. Underneath the worries of how I’ll care for my daughter financially, how I’ll make sure she has medical care, a good education, opportunities I never had, etc., are the worries of raising a mentally sound daughter in a world that is harsh, cruel, and mean. How do I raise her up to love herself and value herself if I still have a difficult time with that for myself? How do I help her socialize when I mistrust the world so much? How do I give her a good, healthy example, let her be true to who she is, and protect her from the evils of the world without overly protecting her or, worse, alienating her? How do I stay true to my beliefs while instilling in her that she can discover her own way, her own path?
There was so much violence and anger in my childhood that I worry it will spill out of me and onto her in some way, even though I’m not a violent or angry person generally. I’ve been known to spiral out of control with rage, sadness, or desperation, though it’s been a couple of years since I’ve had an episode. I worry that certain milestones in her life will trigger certain things within my mind and will influence my actions somehow. I worry that she will inherit a genetic disposition toward anxiety, depression, addiction, or other mental illnesses that run in my family. These are all things I take so seriously.
My greatest hope is that she will never have to endure the things I had to endure. I hope that no evil person takes advantage of her sweet soul to gain access to her body. I hope that she will never know physical, emotional, or mental manipulation or violation. Ever. I also hope that she will be better, do better, and want better for her life than I ever thought myself deserving of. I try desperately not to project too much onto a little life that I haven’t met yet, but it helps to think of how loved, cherished, and protected she will be. This little girl is coming into a world where there are no preconceived notions of who she should be. Rather we’re all anxiously awaiting to see who she WILL be so we can help her to cultivate the best version of herself.
I know without hesitation that she will have my love. The overwhelming love already bubbles up into my throat and into the tears that flow down my face at times. Recently a friend told me, “She already has more than you ever had as a child.” That made me cry because of the truth involved. I was not loved by my parents. I was used, abused, hated, resented, degraded, and treated like an inconvenience the majority of the time. This little girl will not experience or know that feeling. Not with me protecting her, guiding her, and loving her daily the best way I know how.
In the end, no matter what my insecurities or fears may be, I know that by trying my best, she will know happiness. I know that I will sometimes fail to reach my own expectations. I know that I am imperfect and sometimes (oftentimes) a mess. All I can do is try my best to be a person that my daughter can be proud to call “Mom”.
Somehow I know that it will be good enough, that I will be good enough and strong enough to deserve this rare and precious gift of love.