The fear of being a mother is one of the psychological phenomena that goes unnoticed, even though it is experienced by many women. It is not something to be taken lightly, since it corresponds to motherhood, a fact that transforms the day-to-day life of those who are going to have a baby and who, therefore, think about this whole process through a strong emotional involvement.
In this article we will see why the fear of motherhood can appear and what can be done to overcome it .
Fear of motherhood: possible causes
Fear of becoming a mother is relatively common in women who value the possibility of becoming pregnant for the first time or who are already pregnant. In the latter case, the emotional impact of receiving news of pregnancy can lead to serious suffering even if they had already planned to get pregnant. Ambiguity and ambivalence in feelings is something very characteristic when the fear of motherhood is present.
Below are some of the most important key ideas to assess what may be the causes of this fear, in each case.
1. Is it a wanted pregnancy?
Some women confuse the fear of being a mother with the simple fact of not wanting to be a mother. Due to the traces of the machismo that has prevailed for centuries in practically all cultures, there is a tendency to overlook women’s will in terms of their own ability to conceive, assuming that motherhood is a phase of life that they will have to go through , when this is not the case at all.
Not wanting to have children is, of course, something totally legitimate, and the social pressure that can lead to seeing the refusal to have a baby as a problem should not be seen as an individual problem, but as a collective, communitarian one .
2. Fear of medical complications
Many women are afraid at the thought of the danger of childbirth. While it is fortunate that in most developed countries it is possible to give birth under very safe medical conditions, there are times when this is not possible (either because of where you live or because of other material conditions). On the other hand, this danger may also be overestimated.
In addition, in many cases a double fear is perceived: to die oneself, and to have the baby die .
3. The fear of not being prepared
It is also very frequent, within the cases of the fear of being a mother, that motherhood is seen as a task that requires many skills and competences at the same time, without leaving time to “train” in them without exposing the newborn to risks or dangers. The new role of mother is seen as a total transformation that requires adopting some totally different habits , something that is not easy to do or plan.
4. The fear of passing on problems
Beyond the possible imagined inability to be a mother, there are also those who fear creating a new life, since they assume that they will possibly have an unhappy existence because of the fact that they were born from whom they were born, inheriting a whole series of problems.
How to overcome the fear of being a mother?
As we have seen, the fear of being a mother is not based on the unwillingness to be a mother, but on the fear of creating big problems from a pregnancy, even though there is something in motherhood that is seductive or even despite wanting to have a baby. In other words, there is a duality: you want to have a son or daughter, but there are a series of obstacles that can harm the woman who suffers it or the baby that is coming, or both, and that are almost inherent to the process of becoming a mother.
Each case is unique, and the intensity of this fear can vary greatly . For those women who feel especially badly with this anguish, it is advisable to go to a mental health professional, but for the rest, it may be enough to try to apply some very basic and simple principles that we will see below.
1. Find out about health coverage
It’s a very basic first step that can avoid a lot of worry. Seeing how medical teams can address the needs and potential problems that arise during motherhood is a relief. On many occasions, it is preferable not to do this so as not to have to think about the pregnancy (as it produces anxiety), but if this first obstacle is overcome, much of the fear will go away.
2. Assessing the material conditions in which one lives
If there are reasons to think that motherhood is materially unviable due to lack of resources, it is advisable to postpone the pregnancy, but to do so it is important to ask for third party opinions, because the fear of motherhood can greatly bias our point of view .
3. Starting to learn to be a mother
It is true that taking care of a baby is a responsibility, but it is not a task reserved only for an intellectual or physical elite: with the proper learning process, this maternal or paternal role can be performed well .
The simple fact of getting involved and learning during the previous months makes us feel more prepared and the fear of being a mother goes away, while at the same time it increases self-esteem.