Every once in a while, I become absolutely terrified at the idea of becoming a parent. Last night was one of those nights when I awoke in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, only to then be inexplicably seized by the fear that perhaps I am a fool to want to do this. Perhaps I would be messing up a perfectly good life by having a child. Perhaps I will be a terrible mother. Perhaps it won't at all be what I thought. Perhaps I would be happier without children. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. . .
Admittedly, I have a log of baggage about this topic. I grew up believing that my mother was tied to a marriage that didn't suit her because of a lack of education and thus career options, and because she believed her children were better off growing up in a two parent home, no matter how dysfunctional the primary relationship within it. It is therefore not surprising that I've spent the last 15 years voraciously pursuing my career, and married a man who everyone believed was so utterly different from me that it could never possibly work. . .and yet it does, because we are wildly in love with one another even a decade later. It has taken me the better part of a decade and a half to realize that I am NOT my mother, and that my assumptions about why she stayed in her marriage are also probably not true.
But, even as I've come to recognize that my life, my career and my marriage can be whatever I want them to be, even as I've realized that I am really not my mother, I am still afraid sometimes. I grew up believing that she was trapped by us. It seems unlikely this was true. . .it is far more likely that she was trapped by her own inability to make her own needs known to all of us who loved her. (And I definitely don't have THAT problem!)
Yet the fear persists sometimes that I will feel trapped by my choices, and that I will be a poor parent because of it. Does everyone have secret fears that they will be inadequate as parents, that they might have regrets, that having a family won't be everything they hope, or am I just hopelessly scarred by my own journey into this?