Why I’m Scared To Have Kids [+ How I’m Working Through It]

why I'm scared to have kids, afraid to be a mom, fears about motherhood, fears about parenting, #motherhood, #pregnancy

This post is in partnership with Hancock Regional Hospital as part of their empowering women and children site. All thoughts, experiences, and opinions are my own. Be sure to check out their site for additional resources and support.

If you’ve kept up with my recent posts on my fears about pregnancy, and what happened to my body when I went off birth control, it should come as no surprise that having a baby has been on my mind a lot lately.

For months, I thought this post was going to be a laundry list of reasons why I’m scared to have kids.

You know the ones:

I’m afraid having a kid will ruin my career

I’m afraid a child will change my relationship with my partner or friends

I’m scared I’ll never want to have sex again

I’m scared we won’t have the money to give the child the best life

I’m scared I’ll never be cool again

I’m scared I’ll be mom shamed

I’m scared of breastfeeding

I’m scared my body will be ruined

I’m afraid I’ll never feel like “myself” again because this other person will always come first

But as I sat down to write this, I realized something changed. A lot of my fears had disappeared. That’s not to say I’m fearless (we will still get into my fears in just a moment, don’t worry). But I realized that all the fears above aren’t what parenting is all about.

For every reason I’m afraid to have kids, I can find a reason to let it go:

Career & Money:

Yes, of course I value my career as a blogger, but I stumbled into this world and have faith that whatever the next step in my life is, I’ll figure out my career and financial situation as I always have.


And of course I worry about how a child will impact my relationships, but this is something my husband and I talk endlessly about – and we’ve both agreed that each other comes first, not the kid, otherwise we aren’t a team and that’ll be the beginning of the end.

Uncool Factor & Mom Shaming:

If I’m honest, I was never cool. And if I’m even more honest, I’ve been shamed for almost every decision I’ve made in my life so it’s pretty ridiculous to think that being a mom would be any different. My job is to learn to not let shame or other people’s perceptions define me.

My body:

If my body gets me through birthing an actual human being and survives, well then I’m grateful for that simple fact alone and the rest of it I’ll figure out. If I’m not pleased with it, that’s just a reminder that I need to prioritize my self-care. And it’s to be expected that breast-feeding will be a rollercoaster from what everyone has said, so I’ll find support by finding resources likes breast feeding classes or support groups or leaning on my peers and survive that too.

Feeling like myself:

Sure there will be points I will probably lose myself in my child – what mother doesn’t? – but if this happens for an extended period, that’s a reality check that I’m off-balance and need to make a change. I should always know where I end and my child begins, otherwise that’s enmeshment and isn’t good for anyone.


So at the end of the day, am I still afraid of having a baby? Of course.

But my fears have boiled down to only three:

Fear that my baby won’t be healthy.

I know mental health stuff for our future children is probably 100% unavoidable and I’m okay with that. I feel ready to handle that because it’s all I’ve known in my life.  E and I have heavy mental health and substance abuse issues in our personal and family histories. The chances that we will birth a perfectly well-adjusted kid (do they even exist?!) are slim to none. I know the odds are high that our child may abuse substances in their lifetime. We both did. I know if the child is a girl, she will 99% have some sort of mental health ailment to cope with – every woman on both sides of our families have had something going on in the that department. So I can’t list mental health issues as part of this fear because I know it’s probably just our reality. If and when the time comes, we will figure out how to parent and help.

However, physical or cognitive health issues are another story. Which logically I know that I have little to no control over. Of course during pregnancy I’ll do all the things you’re supposed to do like take childbirth preparation classes and take care of myself. But I have friends who did those things and ran every test under the sun, and still had some complications when the baby arrived. That’s life. You prepare and lay the ground work as best you can and the rest is up to the Universe. And even with this knowledge and clarity, I am still afraid sometimes.

I’ll repeat the mistakes of past generations

No one has a perfect family. I get that. Some are more messed up than others. And if you’ve been a reader for a while, you know that I don’t have a relationship with my parents. I’ve written the full story about my parental figure before (read here: A Fatherless Father’s Day) and have only referenced the strained relationship I’ve experienced with my mother. In short though, we haven’t had much of a relationship my “adult” life.

I don’t want to repeat her mistakes. I know that’s something almost every person walking this earth probably says. But I’ve watched her struggles with her own mother – and I know the old adages, “mothers and daughters blah blah,” but I don’t accept that. I don’t accept that this is just the way life is. That the mother-daughter relationship is destined to constant rejection, hatred, and toxicity. I refuse to accept that as the sole possibility for the mother daughter relationship.

I won’t be good enough

I have countless shortcomings which I write about all the time. I know that’s human, but my most “human” self has a short temper, can be selfish, and can fall into depressions where I struggle to take care of myself. I have a history of mental illness and if I escape postpartum depression with my history, I’ll honestly be surprised. The idea of taking care of another person when I still struggle to care of myself at times scares me.

Logically, I know that I always get my needs met and would be able to do that for another, but when I let my mind drift, I think back to my lowest moments and ask, “how can that person take care of another?” Extreme? Yes. Logical? No. But it’s my reality sometimes. I know perfection isn’t a real thing, nor would I ever want to be it, because how isolating would that be?!? I know that movies like “Bad Mom” exist because we are all just people, doing the best that we can. But I have a tendency to over analyze and be so overly critical with myself that it paralyzes me. I take on any negative message people say about me as a definition of my self and I’m working on letting that go.

Why I’m Choosing To Walk Through These Fears

Parenting isn’t meant to be easy. That’s why there are countless support groups from car seat and sleep safety to positive parenting and everything in between. But we are choosing this path because we are excited for the challenge. Throughout our entire relationship, the thing we both are usually most grateful for, is that we push each other to grow and become our best selves. We look at parenting as another step in the self actualization journey.

A long time ago I had an epiphany – children innately love and need their parents (or whomever fills that parental role in their life) unconditionally for who they are, the good and the bad. It’s survivalism. However it’s not innate for parents, to unconditionally love their children for who they are because they don’t need the child to survive.

In my experience, many parents who choose to stick around view their children as an extension of themselves. And many unhealthy parents turn to their children as a source of unconditional love, support and adoration as a result. When a child removes those things – does the parent still give love unconditionally? Probably not in many cases.

Parents can be selfish in wanting a child to meet their emotional needs and heal their wounds – but that’s not the child’s job. The child’s job is to figure out who they are, learn independence, and learn how to cope with themselves, the world, and others in order to become their own person with their own mission in life. In the process of self actualization and individuating, it’s inevitable for children to create distance and test their parents as they explore who they are. It’s a parents job to not be hurt by that withdrawal, but instead to create a safe space of unconditional love or support.

Realizing all of that made my entire view of bringing children into this world shift. I no longer wanted to have a kid at 25 because I wanted a mini-me I could dress up and be silly with. Instead, I wanted to have a child so I could meet this person that is supposed to be in my life for some reason. A person who I will have the opportunity to watch grow and blossom and unfold into their own unique person. My fears began to disappear because I realized it’s not about me. It’s my job to set boundaries, to protect, and provide unconditional love so they feel their absolute safest and securest to find themselves and give back to society.

… but then again I don’t have kids yet so I have no idea what I’m talking about and this all may change some day haha! #TheConfusedMillennial


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  • Samantha @ Samantha Rose Says
    December 14, 2017 at 11:42 am

    It’s funny for me to read this post today, as last night I had a random, fleeting thought about how afraid I am to have kids someday. Many of your reasons ring true with me as well, but I think at the end of the day, I’m the most nervous about being responsible for somebody else, forever. I feel like when a lot of my friends talk about having babies, they think of them as just that – babies. In other words, they don’t think about the full fledged human that baby will eventually become. I know it sounds weird, but that’s overwhelming for me 😂 Thanks for bringing light to this subject!

    • [email protected] Confused Millennial
      December 14, 2017 at 12:05 pm

      I don’t think it’s weird at all! Especially all the trouble they can get into during the teen years! AHH! I think that it’s important though to realize it’s not forever, it’s just until they are 18. That’s kind of a point I was trying to make at the end that maybe got swallowed by some other stuff. You raise them and then they are their own person, not yours any more, ya know?

      • Samantha @ Samantha Rose Says
        December 14, 2017 at 12:39 pm

        Oh of course! Not technically responsible forever, but I just meant like a forever attachment. Like I picture how many times a week I still call my mom at 26 and I’m like “damn, could I handle an adult me of my own?” But I totally agree. All you can do is raise them to the best of your ability and they’ll become exactly who they are meant to be.

  • Nichole Pricha Stockman
    December 14, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Another post that really hit me! I LOVE that you mention that your husband and your relationship comes first. I think this is an important aspect and something I’ve talked to a close aunt of mine with. That often times parents are toooo much apart of a child’s life that it hinders their relationship and they don’t know what to do once their children are grown up.

    • [email protected] Confused Millennial
      December 14, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      Yes totally! It’s really just like the oxygen mask on an airplane IMO. You take care of yourself first (And in this case you and your partner are a single unit) and then another. Otherwise the relationship can totally suffocate.

  • Larissa Joassaint
    December 14, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Wow. Thank you for sharing such a personal and vulnerable post. I’m currently not at the point in my life where having my own kids is a topic of conversation, but I work with young kids on the daily. I go through periods where I can’t wait to have my own, and then I go through periods where I can’t even fathom having a child. Two of my cousins recently gave birth, and I learned so much about the realities of giving birth, and some of the struggles that come with it. It is a scary thought, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be worth it – that’s what I have to remind myself!

  • Bella B @ xoxoBella
    December 14, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    I love that you shared all of this, I think you will be a awesome mom and I cant wait for you to get to that point. Having kids is scary and I don’t think anyone is really ready.. but you just go with the flow and enjoy it.

  • Carissa Link
    December 14, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    I’ve been following your blog for a while, and it’s strange to have moments where I feel like I’m reading about myself?? Haha, no but seriously – from family history, both living in the sunshine state, down to specifics like this – we creepily have a lot in common. Anyway! You literally had me at “we’ve both agreed that each other comes first, not the kid”. That concept is so backwards today, it’s scary! I tend to think so logically off the deep-end, my husband is usually the one who has to “ground” me over fears like this. And it really sounds like you and your husband make a superb team supporting one another with what life throws at you! 🙂

  • Ash Neverson
    December 14, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    I really admire how brave you were, sharing this.

  • Jenny
    December 14, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    These are definitely real fears and some I have myself as well. Like Bella said, I think you’re going to be a wonderful mom <3

  • Beth_Daily_Dog_Tag
    December 14, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    I’m sure if you choose to become a parent, you’ll be an awesome one. One thing that I wish my husband and I would have considered more seriously was adopting or fostering a child.

  • Kelsie Kleinmeyer
    December 14, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    I don’t know if you ever read my post on 9 Reasons I’m Afraid to Have a Baby, but you totally should! I listed a lot of these and worked through them, and then I wrote follow up posts about how they turned out! Being a mom is the Best!

  • Amanda Schreiber
    December 14, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    I read this article and the linked article about fears with pregnancy, I feel all these fears 100% with you. I have my whole life! I love children and want them, but I have so many fears and people say I’m “selfish” or “I’ll understand when I grow up”. But these posts make me feel just a little more normal! So thank you!

  • Chelsea
    December 14, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    Omg soooooo much truth to this. I’m terrified to have kids!!!!! Literally, all I think about is how I don’t want my body to change. I value my free time. I feel like no time will ever be the right time!!!

  • Stephanie
    December 15, 2017 at 12:01 am

    This post resonated so much with me. I’ve never really wanted to kids but as I’ve gotten older I’ve really addressed the fears I would have if I ever fell pregnant. It’s always nice to see that other people share the same fears especially since my family seems to push that I’m being selfish in my fears.

  • Whitney S.
    December 15, 2017 at 12:11 am

    I’m kind of scared to have kids…mostly because I have a genetic disorder which can cause growth in tumors outside and inside my body. I don’t really want to grow anymore tumors (I did during puberty and grew tons on my arm), and finally had surgery 6 years ago to remove them. I mean it isn’t a guarantee I will grow any, but I’m so scared because they are ugly and can be disfiguring 😐

  • Lecy | A Simpler Grace
    December 15, 2017 at 3:48 am

    I think everyone has fears about having children. It’s nice to know you aren’t alone in these feelings.

  • Johanne
    December 15, 2017 at 5:54 am

    Yes, yes and yes toall the fears above. I would love to have kids, but I’m also scared that I’ll never ever have money anymore, that my body will be forever ruined and that everything changes. And the last fear is probably truer than anything else. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I hope! It’s what Chelsea says: it feels like no tieme will ever be the right time!

  • Melissa Cruz
    December 15, 2017 at 7:33 am

    I still don’t think too much about it. But these are all so real and true! When I think about having kids right now the money it’s the biggest issue.

  • mckenna bleu
    December 15, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Thanks for sharing this. It is very scary but so many people do it every day. The actual giving birth party is the scariest part to me.

  • Taylor Smith
    December 15, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Great read, Rach. I totally understand!

  • Tiffany Khyla
    December 15, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Thank you so much for being candid about this. I actually have a lot of the same fears, but I haven’t been brave enough to share most of them. Even though it sounds so vain, I’m very worried about how a child will affect my body, and hearing the horror stories from people who have gone through it, it make a me so nervous. More than anything though, I’m worried about how it would affect my relationship with (future) husband. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  • Kyla Matton Osborne
    December 15, 2017 at 10:39 am

    It’s good that you’re exploring your fears and that you’ve reached a point where you feel you’ve worked through some of them. I think few people are even half as self-aware. Best of luck!

  • Lily Ayala
    December 15, 2017 at 10:48 am

    I think these are all legitimate fears and totally understandable. I don’t have kids yet, but have been trying for years for them, and I fear a lot of the same things you do.

  • Marette Flora @ Floradise
    December 15, 2017 at 11:20 am

    You are not alone in having these fears so it’s great that you are writing about them and working through them, as well as finding support.

  • Kristen Jones
    December 15, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    You have such a beautiful heart and you are going to be an AMAZING mother when that time comes. I’m in the same boat with you on some of these fears. It’s so scary thinking that we’re able to bring another human being into this world that we’re responsible for. But the great thing is that were ARE responsible for them. Responsible for giving them the best life that we can give them, while learning from past mistakes so we don’t repeat the cycle. Thank you for sharing your heart. <3

  • Anna Hubbard
    December 15, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    As someone who wants a kid at some point (but definitely not for like another 10 years), I definitely appreciate seeing someone else being a bit apprehensive/worrisome about the idea of motherhood. I have no doubts that you’re going to be an amazing mom some day!!

  • Becky @ Disney in your Day
    December 15, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    It sounds like you’re going to be an amazing mom. I struggle with a lot of fears and my husband and I have come to the conclusion that having kids is probably not for us. I’m very torn about it. Some days I know it’s the right choice, and sometimes I wonder.

  • Courtney Drew
    December 15, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    All of these fears and thoughts have crossed my mind too! I think its only natural as we have never had kids and we aren’t quite at that stage of life yet but I think the majority of me is excited about all of the unknowns and the future!

    Xo Courtney Drew

  • Alix Maza
    December 15, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing this! I’ve definitely had a few (mostly all) these fears also!

  • Bibi Camilo
    December 16, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    this was such an amazing post to read! I feel the same way, but all the mothers in my life always tell me not to be as apprehensive as I usually am! Thank you sharing this, nice to know I’m not alone

  • Cristina
    December 16, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    Thank you, Rachel for opening up about this topic. Most of people only talk about how amazing it is, but all the fears you wrote about are my fears as well. Is so relieving to see that someone else shared the same fears as you about motherhood.

  • Theresa Dickerson
    December 16, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    Wow! All of the things are so honest and true. Even though I am very young to be considerding kids, it is a scary thought to have to sacrafice so much for a tiny human. Maybe it isn’t sacrafice..who knows. So many unknowns in motherhood. I am glad you shared this. Thank you for your honesty and helping other young women feel like they’re not alone.

  • Jasmine Maria
    December 17, 2017 at 11:25 am

    I don’t blame you for being scared of having kids. I was too.

  • TheBlondeLifestyle
    December 17, 2017 at 11:31 am

    These are things I’ve been thinking about a lot as well as I’m starting to get older. The thought of having children is scary for sure, but there are just as many benefits as disadvantages!

  • Erica @ Coming up Roses
    December 17, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    I read your point on being never cool/shamed for everything for whatever reason and I’m here like YAAAAAS that is so true girl – if we’re honest about it, this just happens in general. We’ve both experienced it. And it’ll continue to happen – not letting it be the defining factor is SO IMPORTANT.

    This post is phenomenal. My sentiments exactly. This makes me feel better about my OWN fears about being pregnant girl!

  • Audrey Knizek
    December 17, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    I can relate to many of your fears, just as I related to your previous posts about pregnancy and birth control. Selfishly, my biggest fear is my body. I worry about how taxing pregnancy and post-pregnancy is on the body and that I’ll never look like myself again.

  • Michelle @ She's Not So Basic
    December 18, 2017 at 10:12 am

    I so enjoyed reading about your shift in perception about parenting and how you were able to find reasons to let your fears go. Super inspiring for some other problem areas in my own life! And also, judging by the countless hours you spent on the phone with me over the summer listening to me cry and trying to console me as well as that last paragraph in this post… I already know you are going to be a great mom and you don’t have to fear repeating mistakes of past generations <33

    • [email protected] Confused Millennial
      December 18, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      Aweeeeee! you are sooo sweet! thank you so much <3 <3 <3 We are going to figure all of this life stuff out, I just know it haha

  • Christina @ Hugs and Lattes
    December 18, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    This is such a healthy way to shift perspective. For every fear we have, there can be a positive mindset! I’m with you in the same boat of not wanting to have kids, but the more my friends have babies and the more I spend time with my husband, the more my mindset shifts!

  • Cameron
    December 18, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    While I don’t want kids, I really appreciate how open and honest you’re being about the whole process. Having a kid is 100% scary, and it’s important to work through that fear and be mentally/emotionally ready for everything, rather than just brush it under the rug.

  • Mary Leigh
    December 18, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    This is a really great way to change perspective – to focus on the positives rather than the fears. We’re expecting our second, and I think I can honestly say that no one is every truly ready for kids. They definitely change your life in so many ways, but they also enhance it in so many ways you wouldn’t expect. In everything, of course, there is a balance. We still make time for one another and still have fun – we just do it differently these days. (And if you decide to have kids, you’ll for sure be good enough.) <3

  • Paige Rankin
    December 19, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    I enjoy reading your view point on this. Sometimes it feels like no one else is worried about this b/c everyone is always so excited to have kids!

    xoxo, Paige

  • Carly Ned
    December 19, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    This is such an excellent post, Rachel. Definitely something I think we all struggle with.

  • Kaylee and Shaguna
    December 19, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    Honestly, I share so many of these feelings. I think my two biggest ones are a fear of losing my career and losing myself.

  • Elana
    December 21, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    This is such an interesting post and something people don’t talk about very much. Thank you for being so open about your experiences and helping people feel like they are not alone.

  • Megan Nichole @ LaziMILLENNIAL
    December 29, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Lol @ your disclaimer at the end. As someone who stumbled into parenthood unexpectedly at age 26, I can absolutely relate to this post. I’m glad you’re able to process these emotions and the way that they change before becoming a mom! But you’re 100% correct – it will ALL work out!

    • [email protected] Confused Millennial
      January 2, 2018 at 4:58 pm

      HAHA I felt like I had to put that in there because I really don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to parenting haha! Thanks for the encouraging words <3 I'm excited to become a mom some day and working through all of this has been kind of fun lol

  • Ashley Bee
    January 7, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    I go through the saaame fears in my head. At this point it’s mostly money–I want to make sure I can provide a good life for them. I’m still a few years away from that.

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