Confession: Pregnancy Scares Me

 I’m not going to lie, I have always been a “scared” person. What I mean by that is, I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop, constantly preparing for the worst. I think I have probably struggled with this my whole life, but it wasn’t until I became more comfortable in my own skin that I acknowledged it. My husband knows this about me and instead of telling me I am crazy (I admit, I am slightly neurotic), he listens and helps calm my fears – this is a big reason that we work so well together.
Recently, I have found myself on edge more than I had been, and it took awhile to realize how flat-out-scared I am of everything we have coming up. I think I have good reason to be scared: I am 27 weeks pregnant with our first child. When it comes to being scared of something, my defense mechanism is very similar to a tactic that my two dogs use: if you don’t look at it, it doesn’t exist. 
Katie PregnancyBeing scared of pregnancy/parenthood started long ago, but I would say that true terror set in when we got our positive pregnancy test in December. Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled and elated to see two unmistakably solid pink lines. But coming off of a very early miscarriage the month before that, and after 15 long months of trying, including almost a year of various fertility treatments (more on that at a later time), I was terrified of losing this baby. To top it off, I spotted blood from weeks four through ten. No matter how much my doctor reassured me that my numbers were great, that the spotting was coming from south of my cervix and that our baby was growing at a healthy rate (even measuring a few days early), I was terrified. Those six weeks were hell. Between morning sickness, early pregnancy fatigue, and that pit in my stomach  from fearing today would be the day the spotting got worse – it was awful. Being the fear-based planner that I am, I started planning a vacation for March, with my rationale being that if I lost the baby, then I would have something to look forward to. Thankfully, the vacation wasn’t needed.  I stopped spotting at ten weeks, and 17 weeks later, Baby R is still going strong. 
I thought for sure once we got past the first trimester and I started feeling the baby move, that I would be a lot calmer about my pregnancy. Oh, how I should have known better. I am to a certain extent more calm, but when I go more than an hour without feeling him move now, the little demons in my head start chirping that there is something wrong. I am so excited for our baby to get here, and I love him so much already, but at the same time that love and excitement scares me. In keeping with my avoidance tactics, I have put off a lot of the big decisions and purchases – making such decisions and purchases would make it very real. 
Now that I am almost done with our second trimester (side note – how is that even possible!?), I find myself thinking ahead to the whole labor and delivery thing. This scares the living daylights out of me. So much so, that I am full-on pretending that it is not happening. I know women have done it every day for thousands of years, but how exactly you get something the size of a watermelon out of something the size of a lemon is beyond me. Every once in awhile I will look down at my rapidly expanding waistline and realize that he has to come out somehow, and then I have a panic attack. I quickly push it out of my head and go back to living in sweet denial. I won’t let women tell me about their birthing experience, I won’t read the chapter on labor and delivery in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, I’m not attending any classes and I’m not writing a birth plan. I figure the less I know, the less anxious I will be about the experience. If I start researching it, I am going to come across things that have a .001% chance of happening and I am going to convince myself I am that .001%. 
And these are just my fears about pregnancy and delivery. I won’t even get into what I am scared of once he is here. One thing I have come to realize though over the past 6+ months is, there’s not going to be a magic moment that will make me not scared anymore. For the rest of my life, I will always be worried about the well-being of this little person growing inside me. It’s very humbling to realize and accept this, but at the same time, I simply cannot wait.
Please tell me I’m not the only terrified mom out there!  Can any of you relate??
Katie Ripke
Katie is a mama of two rambunctious, sweet, cuddly and highly energetic boys. Growing up in Mount Vernon, Iowa, she briefly left the area to attend college at the University of Northern Iowa, had a brief stint living in Chicago before settling down in Lisbon with her husband Bryan. Katie has been in the marketing field for over 10 years and is currently a marketing manager for an area health care organization. When she is not balancing life as a working mom, Katie enjoys binging on Netflix/Hulu, learning about all things boy and squeezing in a workout from time to time. Her current addictions include coffee, LaCroix, and cookies.


  1. You are not alone…I was scared silly about a lot of things the first time I was pregnant! And then a lot of different things the second time. And still different things 3-5 years later. You are right… the being scared/worried thing never goes away, but you do get a little more used to it. It becomes a little less panic-inducing. Mostly. I comfort myself with the belief that this is all as nature intended, and if all the other moms out there survive it, I will too!

    Good luck and congrats!!!

  2. I find for me the best way to combat fear is with information. Perhaps some child birth education would help? If you think you’ll go overboard with internet searches (easy to do), maybe in-person classes would be a better format for you. We went with the Bradley Method classes, which is for couples. It was extremely informative and presented birth in a non scary sort of way. It helped me to feel prepared for all possibilities and to know what was happening every step of the way so there were no surprises. I had a fabulous labor and deliver and love to talk about it, because it seems so many people just want to tell you horror stories when your pregnant.

    Also, perhaps you’d want to consider a doula? Tonight at Panera in the Sycamore Mall there’s a Meet the Iowa City Doulas event –

  3. Katie – I was exactly at your spot a little over 2 years ago. We had been trying for 1.5 years and I had to go and see an infertility specialist. In fact, I didn’t find out that I was pregnant until I was 9 weeks along because I was not letting myself believe that the “signs” of pregnancy could be real. I also did not let myself really enjoy my pregnancy until I was 20 weeks and knew that a baby could survive on its own around 22 or 23 weeks.

    We did attend a few classes at the hospital and it did help some but I also zoned out when I felt like I was getting information overload that would make me more upset and fearful. I do not do well with medical things in general so most of the things surrounding labor and delivery were very scary.

    I have no idea where you are at with your spiritual journey but I do know for me that this was one thing in life that was completely out of my control and it made me trust God like never before. We prayed before I went into the hospital and several times while I was in labor. We also had a doula and I trusted the doctors and nurses as they do this every day and want the best for you and your family.

    We now have a healthy 17 month old boy and each day I am learning how to be a better parent. It is a blessing even when you have no idea what you are doing. 🙂

    Best wishes and you will be blessed!

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  5. You are definitely not the only one out there with a strong fear of the unknown! I will be 26 weeks tomorrow. It is my second child, and somehow my anxiety about this pregnancy has been even greater than with my first.
    It sounds like you might have an anxiety disorder (I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and this post sounds like something I could have written about my experience). It might be a good idea to talk to a counselor. Talk therapy can be extremely beneficial for your overall mental health, which will likely be put under strain once your baby is here (mine certainly has been!).
    I hope that you can have some peace of mind about your pregnancy and enjoy it. There are a thousand different things to worry about, and worrying about them will not change them. This is a lesson I’m still trying to learn. I wish you the best of luck!


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