The Selfish Fear

This is a very difficult, extremely sensitive topic to blog about. I’m almost ashamed to write it. It’s something I’ve been thinking about, pondering over, dwelling on for the last couple of years.

I talk a lot of smack when it comes to the gender I want my first child to be. I go back and forth between wanting a boy or a girl first, but I really want twins being both genders. I’d pay money for that outcome… Oh yea, I’ve researched this. I also talk a lot of smack when it comes to deciding “when” to have a baby… As if it’s all in my hands. But the more I discussed it with friends and family, the more I’d hear the phrase “healthy baby.” That’s what everyone really wants and what so many people take for granted.–I for sure sound like one of them.

I always just assumed I’d have healthy babies, and that I’ll get pregnant whenever I want to. That had never been a question, a thought that crossed my mind. But we don’t always choose those things do we?

A couple of years ago a friend of mine had a baby. She was completely healthy the entire pregnancy, she exercised often, ate well and was healthy before and during her pregnancy. There were complications during delivery and her baby has brain damage.

One of my best friends told me she wanted to have a baby last year. I didn’t understand the rush but was excited that she and her husband were ready to try. She told me when she found out she was pregnant but a few weeks later she miscarried. Miscarriage–I never really knew what that meant until I was married. A woman I worked with had recently had a miscarriage. I remember talking to her about it an a painfully casual way. I’m sure I wasn’t nearly as sincere or respectful as I should have been. I just didn’t understand the “big deal”. I didn’t understand that feeling of a loss and had no idea what it was like to lose something that was wanted so badly.. A child. I still can’t begin to understand how that must feel, I can only imagine, and it scares me.

My best friend conceived again, but a few months into the pregnancy she found out her baby had a rare disease. And wouldn’t live long after birth–If he even lived that long. My heart went out to her. I was completely taken aback and I learned a lot from her in her journey. She and her husband grew so much spiritually and I admired their strength.

Since then I’ve been noticing more women I’m close to expressing their challenges with fertility problems, miscarriages, and children with disabilities or special needs. I’ve never been more frightened to have a child.

I’ve heard women express their frustrations with others about how hard it is on them, and how difficult it is hearing stories of other women who easily conceive, or have the “oops” story, while they themselves have been trying for months, even years with no luck!

I’m scared that will be me. I’m terrified that when I finally AM ready to be a mother I won’t be able to. Wost of all, I’m scared I’ll have a child with a disability, mostly because I’m scared I won’t be able to handle a situation like that, and I worry my fears will give me exactly what I’m afraid of.

I’ve gone as far researching embryonic procedures that allow couples to see if their child will have disabilities before implantation (yea, it’s that bad).

It’s hard for me now to keep from being jealous of my happily spawning friends when as far as I know I’m perfectly capable of having my own (just not trying to). I can only imagine how green I’d turn when I’m trying to have one and can’t. I don’t know if I could deal with that, if I could be as strong as many of the women I’ve read about… As many of you have been.

Call me stupid, call me selfish, call me whatever you want but I’m being more honest than ever when I say that I’m scared and I don’t know if I’d be able to handle it.

I’m entering this in Scribbit’s October Write Away Contest

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  1. I know exactly how you feel. My best friend and sister in law concieve within the first month of being off birth control every time. We have been trying for our second for 8 months and just thinking about them makes me so mad I want to hit things.

    And I totally understand about the miscarriage and birth defect thing. I have had 2 miscarriages since we started trying for our second and there truly is no way to describe it to someone that hasn’t had one. I pray you never have to know what it feels like. But one of the best things about being sealed in the temple is that I will be with both those babies in heaven if i live up to my promises I made.

    But even if everything scares you, somehow you get through it. If you have a miscarriage, or your baby has a rare disease, or even the fact everyone can get pregnant and you can’t, you put one foot in front of the other and you get by. It’s hard, but it gets easier. And all that truly matters is how you handle yourself and how you feel. Not what everyone else thinks or what they say. If you look above it, that’s all that matters.

    (Sorry if I rambled, I just needed to say this “out loud”, if that makes sense… feel free to delete this if you want to. I won’t be offended in the least)

  2. Of course you could handle it if it came to that. And do you know why? Because what else can you do? You dig deep and discover strength and character you didn’t know you had. You learn all the ways a special needs child can teach YOU about the beauty of God and his most perfect little ones. You would face the challenge of infertility with knowledge, sacrifice and faith.

    When I married my husband, I KNEW I would be taking on fertility challenges as part of the deal. I figured he was worth it. And he is. I was also kinda naive’ and life had always gone along easily for me (though I didn’t know that until I had a ‘real’ trial to compare it to).

    As it turns out, we did pay money (and a heck of a lot of it) for your dream outcome- boy/girl twins. Our twin girl had serious complications post delivery and was without oxygen for 12 minutes. The nurse came in and gave the Dr. the ‘no’ sign (meaning this baby won’t make it). My sweet husband cried to the Lord from the hospital roof and told him how much we wanted her- that we’d take her in any form he was willing to give her to us even if that meant she would have special challenges. The Lord let us keep her. Today she is almost 9 and beautiful, healthy and whole. A miracle living in our own home.

    Don’t let fear get the best of you. You are capable of more than you think you are. I hope you never have to find out just how much more but even if you did- it’s worth it. My 3 little hard-to-get munchkins are the light of my life and worth every minute of challenge, fear, effort and expense to get them here. You would do no less. And do you know why? Because what other option is there?

  3. This is one of the things I really like about visiting you here.. your honesty.. no matter how painful…. because your saying what many of us are thinking, feeling, or doing….

    It all happens in good time… and you just have to have faith it will work out… as for havng a baby with a disability… thats every womnas fear… even if never said out loud… and you just have to remember that Heavenly Father will not give you anything you cant handle… I know easier said than done… but I personally feel these types of situations are total faith ones… as you cant control the outcome.. you can only hope and pray.

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  4. I admire your honesty and your ability to think about these things beforehand…

    I was very much like you only 1 1/2 years ago. To have babies, not to have babies. I always thought I was pregnant when I would take a pill late or forget. A year ago we decided to start “trying” with no success a year later. It is now a trial of faith and patience for me…friends having baby #2, everybody at church ALWAYS asking when we are gonna start having babies, etc. (Which I don’t think is their business & is really annoying but don’t know how to say what I wanna say without sounding really angry and rude)

    I never thought I would have a hard time concieving; I was devestated a few days ago when I found out I would have to wait another year if I wanted my insurance to cover fertility treatment. Through all this I have been learning so much about myself and what is important in my life. I think its awesome that you are being so through in your own personal growth, development, and maturity. It is that foundation that allows you to endure all from fertility issues to special needs children. I have no doubt that you will weather it just fine.

  5. I think most women have this fear, Jenn, but are too afraid to talk about it. I know I did. I got pregnant only a few months after we started trying, but I’m not out of the woods. There is such a thing as secondary infertility! Several women I know have experienced this; no problems with conceiving the first child, and years before the second one comes along.

    Also, I worry about having a baby with special needs. All mothers do! It would certainly be hard, but I know that if God sends me a special spirit, He will provide a way for me to manage. I try to keep that in the corner of my mind all the time.

    And about BG twins…well, you know I am one, and I think about having them myself all the time. But, my mom had an extremely difficult time with us and got severe post-partum depression. We kind of broke the bank and we were extremely exhausting. And having had one newborn, I can’t ever imagine having two. It would require a lot of support from friends and family. Also, her pregnancy was high-risk and we were born 8 weeks premature. I had underdeveloped lungs and had to stay in the NICU for a week. My brother was a little better off but he also had complications. Eventually we were able to play together and entertain each other, but until that point, my parents had a rough time with us!

  6. I totally understand your fears. I’ve had them before and during both of my pregnancies. Not everything turned out perfectly but I did recieve perfect blessings from both pregnancies. My oldest is allergic to so many different foods and he also has asthma. It makes life challenging but we’ve adapted. My youngest was born prematurly and he’s developed different food allergies. We had to adapt even more. Just remember God only gives us what we can handle. He knows your fears, strengths and weaknesses even if you don’t. Just trust him and everything will be perfect in the end. Even if it doesn’t seem that way at first. Prayers for peace being sent your way!

  7. I normally don’t comment on my own posts, but I wanted to tell all of you thank you, especially those who have commented on this post. I was really worried about publishing this post thinking I’d get reamed by anonymous commenters but you have all been so sweet and are really understanding! I’m glad I can be honest and speak my mind with you.

  8. Boy I know how that goes. My husband and I are waiting on kids because of some health problems he’s having (fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue), and I’m worried that when we can finally start having kids, we’ll have other problems. Meanwhile, I can think of about five people off the bat that are pregnant or have had a baby recently, and it can be downright maddening.
    I don’t know how we’ll get through this, but we will somehow.

  9. I don’t think it’s a selfish fear at all. I think it’s really a sign of how big-hearted you are that you’re thinking about these things at all.

    I’ve always wanted kids, but don’t have a husband or even a serious boyfriend, and I’m not interested in being a single mom.

    I too have fears about having kids because my mother has bipolar disorder, and I worry that I might pass it on to my kids.

    But my sister has two beautiful daughters.

    Her oldest got cancer at age 5, and my sister (a single mom at the time) handled it like a champ. I think when mothers are faced with these situations, they just naturally adapt. My niece is now 15, tall and gorgeous, by the way.

  10. My hub and I waited 9 years before starting to try. I’ve suffered 1 ectopic pregnancy and 1 miscarriage. I, like you, always thought when we were ready, we’d have no trouble. Turns out, the Lord really wants me to learn how to have faith (not fear) and this is the vehicle he’s using to bring this message to me.

    We’ve always prayed and followed him, but even so the nagging doubt enters in every now and then “did we wait too long?”. I just have to remember we’ve followed His timing for us.

    Worrying about it, fearing the worst doesn’t make it happen, doesn’t make it easier, doesn’t make it go away. But the Lord? He always helps us through, in spite of ourselves. That’s the lesson I’m learning anyway. He only wants our happiness.

  11. I have two healthy sons and two with some disabilities. I too, before giving birth, thought of all the what if’s? Most dealing with my insecurities in being able to “handle” it. You know what? I’ve discovered that I’m much stronger than I’ve suspected. I’m on my own with 4 boys and we are just fine. But, for you…My advice is don’t borrow trouble that hasn’t come yet. Live your life to the fullest! If you become pregnant don’t let your fears touch the beautiful life growing inside you. Cherish every minute of every milestone of growth it achieves. I wish you only the best on your journey into this.

  12. It’s a fear that will always be there–all the more so once (if) it actually happens to you. But you have to remind yourself that the issues and outcomes of a past pregnancy do not necessarily have any bearing on the next pregnancy.
    Every positive pregnancy test fills me with hope and fear all at once…but the fears will squelch the joys if I let them. So I’ve learned to “let go and let God”, and take what comes. Yes, the painful times are hard, but they are no reason to give up. If you’d given up walking the first time you fell, you never would have gotten very far. ☺

  13. So since I’m rambly tonight… I have a confession to make. I was terrified of having an ugly baby. I too was nervous about disabilities or losing the child. But an ugly baby REALLY made me nervous.
    Wow…when I say it out loud it really makes me sound conceited!

    So when I had my son, he was adorable, and he still is… but he was born with special needs. In the scope of things, they are minor and manageable. I found out after my son was born that I have genetic disorder, and I passed it on to my son. I now have a 50/50 chance of a child getting it.
    So meeting with genetic counselors, and just recently I was asked if I wanted to terminate this pregnancy…. I was appalled. After going through what I have I wouldn’t trade my little babybug for the WORLD! I would never abort, or change him in anyway. I am lucky and blessed to have him in my life, and the same with this next child. Whatever maybe, this summer will find out what side of the odds he/she falls on.

    I have to go to a lot of group meeting with other parents, and I have to say I have never met such special spirits in my life. It truly is amazing when you FEEL it radiating from someone. We all adjust and make do with the situation. You will too if you are in that situation. You will be amazed what you will research and find out just to MAKE SURE you are educated enough on whatever subject. I know you would be right there making sure all was good for your baby.

    Your honesty is refreshing, and thought provoking. I enjoy it very much, so thanks for baring your soul to the world.

    FYI I found the link to one of my posts about my son’s surgery….

  14. You honestly have no idea what you are capable of… Amazing things! My 3rd pregnancy was the experience that showed me. I was surprised with twins (never wished for that, even joked that my friend could adopt one)…weeks later diagnosed with TTTS. Your fears are normal and by some crazy chance you have something abnormal, so be it.

    I didn’t think we’d ever have both boys with us in this life, but we do. The ride was horrible but the reward was great!

  15. my baby was born 6 weeks early and has kidney disease i had no idea anything was wrong the whole time i was pregnant when he was born they told me he would need a transplant now he is four months old and has not had a transplant and is doing great i love him more than life itself and would do it all over again. i to did not think my baby would have anything wrong i didnt drink didnt smoke took prenatal vitamins everyday. i dont know why it happened it also took me and my husband 6 years to have him and my husband had to get surgery to get me pregnant it was a long hard road but i am finally a mother with a beutiful baby and even though he has problems it was worth it. dont be scared to try and have a baby whatever happens was just meant to be. your better of to try than to not have tried at all, even if you dont succeed. you can email me at

  16. I think you end up handling what you are given. I had an eventful pregnancy. I got pregnant while on birth control. I bled off and on through the whole thing. My doctor told me I was paranoid when I called at 25 weeks complaining of a strange discharged. I delivered a 1 lb miracle. I never thought I could be patient loving and caring enough to love, honor and respect him like he deserves.

    Tyler has cerbral palsy. As a direct result of his traumatic birth he suffered brain bleeds and developed hydrocephalus. He is legally blind. All things that I couldn’t predict that this would happen. No one could.

    Being a mom means you give up whatever selfish thoughts you have of yourself. Your heart walks around outside of your body. Watching and hoping that things are ok!

    You do your best.

  17. A woman I worked with had recently had a miscarriage. I remember talking to her about it an a painfully casual way. I’m sure I wasn’t nearly as sincere or respectful as I should have been. I just didn’t understand the “big deal”.

    I am baffled why you don’t or didn’t understand the “big deal” about miscarriage. It is a very painful thing I have gone through twice. I just lost a 20 week old baby girl on 04/02/2009, and let me tell you it is a big deal. It is a big deal to know that at 33 years old I have now lost two children. Yes they were never born, but to be pregnant, get attached to a child, have expectations of holding a crying baby in your arms, to only have a silent still baby to hold is heart wrenching. To hear a strong healthy heartbeat one day and the very next be told that heart beat is no longer there is more painful than words can ever express. The complete and sheer emptiness I feel on a daily basis is a big deal to me. The fact that if I ever get pregnant again I will be scared out of my mind and can no longer rely on of the fact that at 5 months gestation my baby will more than likely be ok, as I am “out of the woods”. Obviously I wasn’t. Babies at 20 weeks are babies, they have arms, legs, and perfect little hands and feet like my baby girl did. The big deal of having to return baby items, not because you are dissatisfied with a product, but because your baby is gone is a hard pill to swallow.

    Having people ask you what happened casually and then get shocked at the grim details of delivering a baby that is no longer alive, or even worse insinuated you must have done something to cause the miscarriage is even more insulting and painful. What is the even better conversation is “What is wrong with you?”. The guilt you have already is more guilt than one could handle, to have another person add to that guilt does nothing to ease the pain. The best one is when are you going to try again, like if I make a replacement child, it will make the pain easier for losing the other one. They are not cars, you can not trade them in.

    I wish people would think before they asked and said things to people like me.

    I am a mother of none who has been pregnant twice, so this issue is a big deal to me.

    In terms of having a child with special needs. A child is a child, and yes there are challenges, but if you aren’t prepared to handle it, it should be something to consider before getting pregnant. My brother has autism and I wouldn’t trade him for all of the money in the world. He is college educated (autism doesn’t automatically mean low IQ), gainfully employed, and yeah he doesn’t understand sarcasm well, but he can tell a joke with the best of them. He is a great person.

    You can’t plan a perfect child, and you shouldn’t want to, because even the most perfect child in the world, has their own issues and concerns to deal with.

  18. You know this is something I really didn’t worry about until after I’d had a couple kids. Strange but so often you kind of take the whole miraculous process for granted and that everything will be okay and then when it doesn’t work quite right it surprises you.

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