It is okay if you are scared to have a baby

I love me some Lane Kim-Van Gerbig. She is zany, passionate, and true through and through. Lane and Zach’s wedding and the twin’s baby shower are two of my favorite Gilmore Girls episodes. As I was writing this post about the fear of becoming a parent, I couldn’t help think about Lane’s conversation with Rory the day she found out she was pregnant.

The Salt Stories: It is okay if you are scared to have a baby... lane gets pregnant.

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The Salt Stories: It is okay if you are scared to have a baby... lane gets pregnant.

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Some quotes that stick out to me…

  • Lane: …This was the kind of throwing up you do when you are going to do something you can’t do.
  • Lane: When I a mom I will be calm and wise and have my act together. I am not calm and not wise and I really, really don’t have my act together.
  • Lane: It’s just one false move, one miss step and I will ruin it. I am still making mistakes Rory…. I can’t make mistakes when I am a mother. I am not the person I need to be to do this. I am not perfect yet, I am so not perfect…
  • Rory: You don’t have to be perfect to have a baby…whose perfect, nobody

Gilmore Girls is filled with storylines of new parents freaking out at the news of their child. Lorelai on finding out about Rory, Jackson on the news of their first-born, oh boy! Luke on finding out about April, Suki on the surprise of their third, Lane on the ultrasound of the twins. We see the freak out normally once a season, and typically there is a bold Gilmore friend near by to offer encouragement and love in these nervous moments. Eventually we see joyful parents welcome their new children into the world, but the road to their arrival is often rocky. Many viewers can relate to Lane’s “I am not perfect yet” concerns.

The Salt Stories: My Gilmore'd Life

I have written about Anna’s arrival into the world, but what about when we first learned of her existence? I’ll take you back.

So there we were, in the bathroom of our one bedroom apartment, 2 months into our newlywed life.  We had bought the cheapest off brand test that morning and were anxiously waiting to find out the results. After buying the test, I headed out to my final interview for my first full-time job. When I got home Stuart asked how the interview went and then quickly asked me if I needed to use the restroom. As we sat in the bathroom I asked Stuart to fetch me a glass of water. I remember telling him that I was afraid I would do it wrong. But lo and behold, before he could come back with the glass of water, the cross line showed up on the test. We were excited out of our minds, beaming. There were two lines on the pregnancy stick.

Then ensued the jumping , smiling, laughing, and hugging. What great news, a new life! IMG_0292

We knew a child was always a possibility, (that’s what you get folks for making whoopee) but didn’t expect a child to come so soon. We had dreamed of raising a family together and now in 8 short months, our first child would be in our arms. As the dust settled on the test and the initial excitement calmed, other feelings started to sneak in alongside of the overwhelming excitement. Feelings of fear, nervousness, and uncertainty.

It was easy to focus on the parts of my life that didn’t feel in place yet. Being in a one bedroom apartment on the second floor, just starting to figure out my career, feeling like a baby still myself, not knowing all the answers to pregnancy, babies, or life, still trying to figure out how to budget our modest incomes, being the first of my friends to have a child, the worries rattled around in my head. It was overwhelming to have so much excitement and fear tied up with the one event, not to mention the constant nausea.

Our culture is ready with reasons why you shouldn’t have kids. They are messy, costly, and affect your priorities. Even large families that are open to the idea of life can struggle with the added responsibility of a little one.

This fear brings with it many questions, are we in the right place in our life? How will a child change the status quo? Am I mature enough? Can our family handle this? Am I going to lose my life? Is our relationship in the right place? Do we have enough money? And the questions go on and on. I was blessed to have people surrounding me and speaking truth into all the questions and lies I cooked up. Especially my typically very practical husband. He easily shrugged of the unchangeable details of our circumstances and simply focused on the joy of a new life. And he kindly encouraged me to do the same.  Here is my attempt to return the favor.

The reality is, its okay if you are scared to have a kid. This means you want to take the job seriously and truly want good things for yourself and the children you bring into the world. You realize that this is going to require you to give of yourself in a new direction and its natural to want to preserve the life you know. It may seem overwhelming to add another responsibility to your full plate. It is okay to feel this way.

A new life requires love, nurturing, and attention; feeling nervous about this is valid.

You may be worried that you have not accomplished all the things you had planned or that you can’t offer your child all the things you want, but know that your life does not end when your child is born. You can continue to work toward the things you want to accomplish and find ways to provide for your child. The truth is, a child will change your life, but not take your life by any means.

It is one of those jump out of the plane moments, you should feel scared, but it is an exhilarating type of fear. It is an adventure that will take you further out of yourself. The inadequacies in us that surface remind us what truly matters in life. What we really want for our children, love, joy, truth, relationships, is not something we offer from our own being, but rather, something we have the opportunity to be a part of, just by showing up.

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There will never be a perfect time to have a child. It will always feel like a big responsibility, because it is. But lean into these nervous moments. It may be difficult, but we can turn these anxious feelings into a positive anticipation for the way life changes with the addition of a new little one. Every challenge of parenthood stretches you to be more generous, patient, and sacrificial. These are always good, albeit hard, traits to develop. Because even when I feel like motherhood has ruined me, I know it is one of the best things to ever happen to me. From the wisdom of those mothers who have gone before me, I know that every season and its accompanying struggles are temporary.

Maybe you are newly pregnant or as far away from it as you can imagine. Wherever you are, know its okay if the idea of having a child scares you. It all comes in baby steps, sometimes smelly, and sleepy baby steps, but often joyful and miraculous as well. No matter your state in life or vocational call, you are made to care for and love others, you got this!

You are in good company with Lane, Jackson, Suki, Lorelai, and this gal.

The last things I would share, is what helped me in that first trimester of questions. The first is the way a helpless child teaches me about God’s love for me. The second is Luke 1:46-55.

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

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