Um, I'm Not Qualified to Be a Mother
Being Pregnant First Baby Fears

Um, I'm Not Qualified to Be a Mother

By Emily Haswell

People say moms become moms when they become pregnant, and dads become dads when the baby is born. Well, then call me daddy because I am still me, and that scares me. How can I be someone’s mom when I cry when I throw up from morning sickness? When I am often too lazy to cook and still don’t do the dishes for several days in a row on occasion?

I always wanted children in that vague way that I think most people do.

When I was in my early 20s and dreamed of motherhood, it was my face and body holding the baby, but it wasn’t me. It was a person who had her shit together. The kind of person who vacuums regularly and doesn’t still eat Reese Puffs for breakfast most mornings.

Don’t get me wrong; I teared up when I first heard my baby’s heartbeat; I get misty in the baby section of Target. I am excited, and I am confident that I will be head over heels in love with my baby when they make their arrival sometime in April of 2022. But then what? I love my dog, but I still often (Ok, always) make my husband take him on his early morning walks. I cuddle him all day long, but when he poops on his puppy pad, I pretend I do not see until my husband sighs loudly and cleans it up himself.

Essentially I’m more of an affectionate aunt or a cool babysitter.

That’s the level of responsibility I can currently handle. But, in six months, I have to be someone’s mom, and that scares the shit out of me. How can I be the mom? I would make an excellent father or fun uncle, but mom?? I am not who 22 year old me dreamed of because 22 year old me fully believed I would become a different person.

Sure, I’ve changed and even improved since the days when I didn’t know how to bake a potato and spent my rent money on booze and outfits from Forever 21 to enjoy that booze in. From the outside, my life has all the trappings of stability. But it’s still me in here, and I can’t wrap my head around how I go from this to mommy.

Intellectually I know that a lot of the pressure I am feeling comes from unrealistic societal norms that we place on motherhood.

I married a good man that is not planning on leaving me to rear the children on my own Mad Men-style. Still, I can’t escape that sneaking suspicion that I will not live up to the mom title.

Maybe everyone on the precipice of parenthood feels this way; it would be weird not to, right? It’s a huge responsibility, arguably the most enormous responsibility I will ever undertake, and a total shift in lifestyle. I want to be a good mom. I want my kids to live in a clean house with an emotionally stable mother who cooks consistently and never oversleeps. But the real me cries frequently, is often lazy about housework, and values sleep above all else.

I wish I could wrap this up in a neat bow and say that I had a long talk with the woman crowned the world’s best mom (god, I bet she would be insufferable.)

She told me all the secrets to motherhood, and now I feel completely at ease and am planning on having a drug-free water birth because I don’t even care about my own pain anymore! But I can’t. All I can say to the baby currently making me puke and cry is that I promise to try my absolute best, I promise to love you, and I promise that you should go ask your father because mommy is trying to take a quick nap.

What about you?

Did the idea of becoming a mom scare the shit out of you while you were pregnant? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

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