The Unexpected Child

Why Negative Thinking Is Normal

It's not just a surprise pregnancy that makes women feel conflicted. "Almost every mom-to-be has mixed feelings about having a baby," says Lucy Puryear, MD, author of Understanding Your Moods When You're Expecting. She told us the negative emotions women normally experience when they're pregnant -- but are afraid to talk about.

"I hate being pregnant!" Morning sickness, fatigue, and other uncomfortable symptoms can make some women resent those nine months. But you shouldn't feel guilty. "Just because you don't like everything that goes along with your pregnancy, that doesn't mean you aren't really excited to be a mother," says Dr. Puryear.

"Will I be a good mom?" It's not just first-time moms who worry whether they're up to the job of raising a child. Even if you planned to have more kids, it's still normal to wonder whether you can handle a bigger family once you do get pregnant again.

"I don't look like myself." Freaking out about your expanding stomach doesn't mean you're vain, says Dr. Puryear: "We're used to having control over our body, and it can be hard for some women to give up a little of that control during pregnancy."

"What if my labor is a nightmare?" Most women are nervous enough about giving birth (How painful will it be? What if something goes wrong?), but friends, family, and even strangers can send your anxiety level into overdrive. "As you get closer to your due date, people feel the need to tell you the worst delivery-room tales!" says Dr. Puryear. It's mystifying and rude -- and irrelevant. You never know what giving birth will be like for you until it happens. Remember that most of the time, everything goes well.

Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the February 2008 issue of Parents magazine.

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