It dawned on me recently that there are some benefits to being a pessimist. I have been called a pessimist many times in my life. Someone who perhaps always thinks or fears the worst. And while this isn’t a trait I’m particularly proud of, or something I want to be, it’s something I’ve learned to accept. It’s just the way I am. And whilst sometimes I wish I could view the world through other people’s more optimistic and enthusiastic eyes, I actually think there are some benefits to being a bit of a pessimist. In fact I’d say that being pessimistic about becoming a mum, helped better prepare me for motherhood.
We only tried for Miss Belle for a couple of months, and whilst I wanted a baby, and was broody, the thought of being pregnant, giving birth and actually having a screaming thing to look after all day and night, terrified me beyond belief. The first thing I said to my husband when I saw the positive test wasn’t “yes!” or “wow, amazing, how exciting!”. It was “Shiiiiiiiittttt!”.
Then as pregnancy went along, I was anxious throughout. Having always been an anxious person anyway and after bad things had happened to people I was close to, I often feared the worst.
It was one of the reasons we went on a hypnobirthing course as well as NCT and the NHS midwife led classes. I wanted to be prepared in all directions. Anything that could help me get through the labour without dying, was a must.
I was pretty sure I either wouldn’t be able to breastfeed, or I’d hate it. Though now I realise that’s because I only seemed to hear the scare stories about how horrific it was and how everyone had to switch to formula.
When I left work, as much as I was so glad I was leaving to have a baby and get the hell out of defending the NHS, I actually said jokingly that I was probably going to hate being a mum, and be begging to come back from my maternity leave early. I worried so much that I would have a baby who wouldn’t sleep and would cry all the time.
Here’s the truth:
My pregnancy was fine
Yes I had horrendous nausea to start with and a dizzy spell once on the bus, but that’s what being pregnant is like isn’t it? I had a day of changed patterns of movements which I immediately got checked out and fortunately everything was fine with the baby.
Not a true “hypnobirth,” but drug free and unassisted. Probably the “easiest/smoothest” of a lot of my friends.
At the time it felt horrific but I know that was the hormones and although it was SO hard at the start, with that wonderful thing called hindsight, what I went through wasn’t a patch on what some go through. I fed my daughter for 18 months.
Ahh the thing I stressed about the most. Yes here we were just plain lucky (sorry). We didn’t do anything differently to many of my friends, but generally other than if she’s unwell or teething, Miss Belle is a good sleeper. She had a wobble last year for a few months when she was learning to talk, but I’m sure it was just developmental, and she’s turned the corner again. (**Crosses fingers I haven’t just jinxed that.**)
Being a mum
Well here’s the shocking truth…actually, it’s ok. I’m OK at it! In fact the other week I wrote about how I am rocking motherhood. Some days are obviously harder than others. Yes, I do sometimes get bored. Some days I tell Matt I’m not cut out for being a stay at home mum. I loose my rag and shout more than I want to. Some days I despair when yet another meal is thrown on the floor. But, other days we play, dance, meet friends, go to classes, and I end the day thinking “today was a good day”.
So yes, I’ve always been a pessimist. Maybe I shouldn’t have been. Maybe all of the above is just one big fluke? Who knows. But, for me, being pessimistic about becoming a mum helped me adjust to my new role more easily. I did not go into it wearing rose tinted glasses. I expected the worst. And it’s been so much more wonderful than I ever imagined.
And it is with this pessimistic look that I think about having a second child. In my heart I know it’ll be lovely, and I want a bigger family. In my head I tell myself it’ll probably be horrendous.… that way, anything more than that will be a bonus!
Am I alone? Were you pessimistic about becoming a mum?
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