You have so much time during pregnancy and once your baby comes to develop a bond. You don’t have to be fully in love, fully excited or fully on board right away (looking for the video? Just scroll to the bottom!)
So you’re pregnant but you’re not exactly over-the-moon happy. You’re especially not as excited as you thought you would be. And to make matters worse, there’s a lot of self-judgement and questioning that comes with that. (“Why am I not thrilled? What’s wrong with me? Am I already a terrible mother?”)
You’re probably being especially critical of yourself, too. Not only are you not as happy as you thought you’d be, but now you’re also disappointed in yourself for not being super pumped.
That’s not a fun cycle…
As a mental health therapist for moms, I can say that this is one of the most common concerns I hear from women in early pregnancy. Seriously, I hear this all. the. time. It’s so normal. It’s so common. So let’s take a breather and dive into this.
What do my feelings mean?
First off, your feelings may be a surprise to you—especially if you planned your pregnancy—but they don’t mean anything. That’s right. Just because you’re not shouting from the rooftops doesn’t mean you’re bad and it certainly doesn’t mean anything bad about you.
Sure, you’re not ecstatic about your personal news at this moment however your feelings now say nothing about how you’ll be as a mother. So if this lackluster reaction has you convinced that you’re going to fail as a parent or that there’s something wrong with you, that’s not true at all.
Identify the expectation that has been placed on you.
You’re feeling the mom guilt before your baby is even out of the womb. This is therefore a great time to examine that whole issue. Think about the expectations that have been placed on you that now have you feeling shame, guilt and self-criticism.
What does society assume of pregnant women? That you should be overjoyed. That you should be just so over-the-moon and giddy with planning your baby nursery. And if you don’t live up to that standard… what then?
Maybe you also haven’t heard other women voice these exact same feelings. Why? Probably out of fear of judgement… We tend to keep silent when we’re ashamed of whether or not our feelings make us “wrong” or “bad.”
But, like I said, this issue is way more common that you know. I hear this little “confessions” so many times over. None of these women are broken. None of them are doomed mothers.
Take a moment to think about how you are feeling.
Try to stop worrying about what you’re not feeling and focus on what you are feeling. Some women feel stressed or nervous about the things that could go wrong. Maybe they heard of struggles from their friends and are worried of experiencing those same things. You might be wondering if everything is going to go according to plan. You might feel scared, numb… or even just indifferent.
Notice what’s coming up for you and what your concerns are. Keep in mind: you’re allowed to feel the way you feel. When you learn to stop judging yourself for those feelings, you can begin to process them.
You have months and months in your journey towards becoming a mother: Trust that excitement will build.
When you become pregnant, there’s a shift in your thinking. You know you’re pregnant but it can be hard to really identify with that. You don’t feel pregnant. It can be a hard change to fully understand or accept. Because you’re not yet connecting to that change, you don’t immediately feel the joy that you expected. That makes complete sense. There’s just a disconnect right now. And that’s okay!
I encourage women to recognize that there are still months and months in their journey to becoming a mother.
You have so much time during pregnancy and once your baby comes to develop a bond. You don’t have to be fully in love, fully excited or fully on board right away. Trust that energy and excitement will build! Right now, just experience your pregnancy and the resultant feelings as this phase of your life unfolds.
And remember: you’re not wrong, you’re not broken, this doesn’t indicate anything about you as a mom. This is so normal!