I Feel Like I Don’t Deserve To Be Happy About My Baby

Image via J&J Brusie Photography
Image via J&J Brusie Photography

 

If you're facing an unexpected pregnancy, you may struggle with feelings of self-doubt or guilt about your pregnancy. When I was pregnant with my first, the only thought I had was, “I don't deserve to be happy about this baby …”

An unexpected pregnancy (especially if you happen to be a young mom, like I was at age 21 when I found I was pregnant) carries its own set of unique challenges. Along with completely upsetting everything about your life and your plans, you will most likely face a lot of stereotypes and stigmas.

{ MORE: Why This Teen Faked Her Own Pregnancy } 

To some extent, I expected the rude comments and assumptions that I was going to be a bad mother simply because I was a bit younger than other moms. I even accepted that I might have to work a little harder to reach some of my goals, like getting my dream job or traveling the world. (Sidenote: while the travels haven't happened, the dream job totally has!)

What I didn't expect, however, is how I would question myself as a mother. 

I wasn't with the legions of happily married moms who could post their cute baby bump pictures or announcements; I was in that no-moms-land where people were unsure if they should congratulate me … or feel sorry for me.

I was surprised to discover how deeply I absorbed a lot of the negativity surrounding young motherhood and unplanned pregnancy—quite simply, because there's so much negative attention on young moms and campaigns to prevent unplanned pregnancy, I felt like I had done something horrible by accidentally getting pregnant. 

If getting pregnant was so awful, I worried then that it meant my pregnancy was awful.

And I shouldn't be happy about it. 

{ MORE:  This is NOT What a Young Mom Looks Like }

I struggled with not knowing how to act about my pregnancy—should I hide it? Was I allowed to talk about it? Could I post it on Facebook, or was that too embarrassing? As a young woman with an unplanned pregnancy, I wasn't with the legions of happily married moms who could post their cute baby bump pictures or announcements; I was in that no-moms-land where people were unsure if they should congratulate me … or feel sorry for me. 

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To be completely honest with you, because I was so shocked by my pregnancy (I know, I know, if you have sex you shouldn't be surprised by a pregnancy, but it happens, ok?) and taken aback by others' reactions that I didn't let myself feel happy about my pregnancy. 

For the entire nine months, I struggled with bonding with my baby. I felt no connection to her because I felt like I didn't deserve to feel the things a “real” mom should. I battled feelings of guilt, shame, and depression for failing my first task of motherhood–celebrating my own baby. 

It took sixteen hours of all-natural labor, three hours of pushing, and a few desperate prayers for my daughter to enter into the world at precisely 4:51 on an afternoon in May. 

And I am happy to report that, after giving birth to her and two other “planned” babies, there is absolutely no difference in the love that flooded my heart in that moment. 

I still don't know if I deserve to be a mother to the three most amazing children I could have ever imagined. 

But I'm sure glad I have the chance to try.

What do you think?

I Feel Like I Don’t Deserve To Be Happy About My Baby

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

Tell us what you think!

12 comments

  1. Newmomma2486 says:

    I’m not a single mother. I am married and expecting my first child anytime now.
    I have experienced guilt throughout my whole pregnancy every time I turn around. From my sister who lost twins, to supposed friends who can’t seem to conceive no matter how hard they try (even though they only act differently towards me and not another one of our mutual friends and co workers that is also pregnant.) I’ve been made to feel guilty by my mother in law over how her favorite grand daughter (my step daughter) will feel about it. I even believe my husbands ex wife has been boohooing about it to her mom (even though she too is remarried and has another kid) it’s been getting back to my mother in law as well because she’s began to act very weird around me. It’s been pretty much a constant thing for me dealing with what I can only describe as guilt. I have found myself hiding in oversized clothes, not posting anything about my progress. I don’t hardly talk about it cause I feel more like people just want something to talk or gossip about, not that they genuinely even care or are concerned. I hate it and it honestly depresses me that I’m made to feel so guilty about something I want badly to be happy about but it’s hard when you feel like you have to worry about offending or hurting someone’s feelings just by being around or having your baby bump draw attention. This is a subject I cannot find any kind of advice on at all. This is the closest thing I’ve seen that hits remotely close to home.

  2. Angela says:

    I am 29 years old and am pregnant with my 5th child. I have a 12 year old daughter (unplanned) who is incredibly beautiful and talented. She is a straight A student, participating in gymnastics twice per week, learning to play the violin at school, and is in the presidency of a Young Women’s group at church. She is amazingly independent and reliable! In fact, other (older) moms who have girls her age come to me for advice. I also have a son who is 11 years old (also unplanned) who is (although a little less mature) a very self motivated, straight A student. His teacher can’t sing his praises enough! About 5 years later I married the most wonderful man in the world and was blessed with another little girl (again, unplanned, but welcome) who has been the sunshine in our family! She is 6 years old, beautiful and intelligent. Three years later we planned to get pregnant with number four who is sitting on (what is left of ) my lap right now as I write this. And now I am pregnant with number five! I am 29 years old and incredibly blessed to have 4 beautiful, talented, intelligent, healthy children, and one more on the way! I have never been ashamed to be a mother! Even at the tender age of 16 years old (while in a very unhealthy marriage) I found that motherhood is a beautiful blessing. I’d be lying if I said that it has always been a bowl of peaches or that being a mother that young is a good idea because let’s be honest, being a mom at 16 years old isn’t easy, and in most cases, isn’t a healthy situation for mom or baby. But now, 12 years (and a lot of tears) later, look what I have to show for it! I have it all! Life doesn’t always go as planned, but having a child at a young age isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it hasn’t shattered any of my dreams or goals. And in all reality, because I started so young, I get to enjoy developing my talents and reaching my goals right along side my children. Some of those goals might take a little longer to reach, but because I am young, I have time! I have an amazingly supportive and loving husband who spoils me rotten, a beautiful home, and an amazing life. That life has not come easily, but there are happily ever afters out there….even for young struggling mothers! Sometimes it takes a lot of heartbreak, and it definitely takes a lot of hard work and a determined mind, but if you put your children first, if you love them first, and if you stay close to heaven through prayer, the Lord will guide you and support you through all the tears, and all the joys of being a mom! I have found my happily ever after and am blessed to be a mom! Being ashamed would only be destructive to the joys that are to be had within motherhood. Enjoy your womanhood! Enjoy being strong enough to love that child through all the trials and tears. Stand tall, because you will have to! Your child(ren) will need your strength to face their own trials. It’s time to put your big girl panties on and be a Mother! Good Luck!

  3. Ashley says:

    I’m almost 29 and pregnant with my first. I totally feel this way. This pregnancy was unplanned. Seems the best condoms are not as good as we think. I’m 28 weeks and I still feel this way. I just don’t understand.

  4. gfeld says:

    I can attest to the fact that although some pregnancies occur unplanned, ultimately most will love the child the same way as if they were planned.

  5. Jessica says:

    I am 21 years old as well; and although I got married before I became pregnant, this pregnancy was unplanned as well. I don’t feel bad at all about having a baby at this point in my life, and I don’t think that everything in life should have to be planned out perfectly. Life would be far less exciting if you had to plan for anything to happen.

  6. Dominique says:

    im 21 and this is my first child. it was a very unplanned pregnancy. me and my baby father is not together. I found out I was pregnant at 2 months and then a month later I found out he got another girl pregnant. I was hurt I already was feeling like I didn’t deserve to be a mother. I finally started to feel close to my Angie bell ( real name Angela). I love feeling her move around and everything but, being that im not financially stable I feel like im a failure as a mother.

  7. Kayla says:

    I totally agree with this. Finding out you are pregnant is scary and exciting no matter if it is “planned” or “unplanned” however when I found out I was pregnant at the age of 21, I was terrified. My boyfriend (now fiancé) decided that we did not want to get married right away just because we were pregnant. We knew we loved each other but felt that waiting was best for the both of us in order to settle any questions we may have had. I still wonder sometimes if we made the best decision. We got a lot of outside pressure from family and friends that maybe we weren’t doing the right thing. As I approach my due date in December, it is nice to know that others have gone through the same challenges and I pray this is one of many good decisions for our family to come in the future.

  8. JaMeika says:

    I can honestly say that I know how this woman feels. I’m 22 and pregnant with my first child I don’t have a job even though I’ve been looking actively. I’ll admit I was extremely guilty at first that I had decided to keep my baby knowing that I would not be able to provide the life that I was given but with the help and support of fiancé and my parents I’m getting on track all I can say is to other women who are young and pregnant. Keep your head up don’t let anyone talk down to you and don’t let someone make you feel unfit because your young.

  9. Ashley says:

    This definitely hits home with me. I’m almost 22, with 2 girls of my own. One just turned 2, and the other is approaching 1. When I had my first at 19, it was as unexpected as they come. I was unmarried, living in a camper on my (then boyfriend’s) family’s land. I was told there was no way I could ever conceive, so while I was still playing it safe, I wasn’t as safe as I should have been. When you get pregnant as a teenager, you have all the negative comments in the world. “What kind of life will you bring that child in to? You’re not married, aren’t supporting yourselves, and still a kid yourself. What do you know about raising a child?” Nada. I had to grow up extremely fast, and I felt the exact same, like any time I actually enjoyed being pregnant I should be ashamed of that fact. I got the sympathy looks, I heard the whispers… I remember it all too clearly. After I had my first, I decided to try and prevent something like this from happening again, and lo and behold 6 months later I was pregnant, again unexpectedly. I was able to enjoy it a little more since my husband and I were supporting ourselves, had our own home, and we were managing, but I STILL felt bad for being a young mom. 2 years later, I still have my doubts about being a mother, if I’m doing the right thing, if I’m raising my children right… But I have learned that we all make mistakes, and it’s what we do after the mistakes are made that is the important thing. I’m starting to feel better and better as a mother, and it’s in the moments when my children are calling out for me in the middle of the night because I’M their comfort, or whenever they give me their huge smiles and hugs and kisses that it hits me: I AM a good mom, and people’s opinions on my age be damned.

  10. Krista says:

    i really feel this hit home, im 27 pregnant with my 3rd child and still get the negative emotions comments and such but not from strangers, from my own family, who apparently all think i should have never had kids to begin with all because my husband is a war vet and can no longer work and has to rely on social security, My grandmother wont tell anyone, she acts like im just fat, tells everyone, well she has lost alot of weight but has alot to go….i honestly dont give a shit what strangers think, they dont know me, but when your own family or friends do this kind of bs it really cuts deep and is really hard to get past. Im sorry you ever had to go through anything like that but know you’re certainly not alone, and your babies love you more than anything in the world and dont care what age you are

  11. Nat says:

    As a woman who has had two “unplanned” pregnancies and a “planned” pregnancy that ended in stillbirth…I think our society has a very bad way of thinking we can control something we just can’t. when you realize that 1 in every 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth and thats not counting early miscarriage there really is nothing “planned” and having a baby!

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