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Experts Corner

Family Counseling

Fears of Being a Bad Mother
by Eileen Paris, Ph.D., M.F.C.C. and Thomas Paris, Ph.D., M.F.C.C.

Eileen Paris and Tom ParisQ. I'm having dreams that I'm going to be a bad mother. The closer I get to my due date, the more I worry. My husband thinks this is normal, but I'm truly worried that I'll be a bad mother. Are these fears normal?

A. Your husband is right. Every expectant mother (and father) feels a mixture of anxiety and anticipation preparing to welcome a brand new baby into their lives. The reality of the responsibility of caring for the helplessness and dependant needs of an infant as the due date approaches can intensify and at times feel overwhelming. We all long to be good parents for our children. And, we were all children that were raised by parents or other caregivers, receiving good things as well as some bumps and bruises. We would suggest that you examine any fears you have more closely. Are you afraid of repeating a behavior that you encountered as a child? Or, is there a specific concern, like breastfeeding that you are nervous about? Look for books on these topics, support groups, search the web, talk to other parents, or appropriate professionals. It is important to know that a combination of natural instincts and reaching out for support and guidance for the parts of parenting in which we are less confident or knowledgeable will make us "good enough" parents.

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