“Overcoming My Fear of Having Children,” Liahona, June 2019
Kids were never my thing. I was the youngest in my family, had no experience with babies, and got scared when a toddler looked at me. So of course when I first got married, having kids was a life change I wasn’t too excited to make.
My husband was all for starting a family from day one, but I insisted that we wait. Those first couple months, “Let’s talk about it in a year” could have been my motto.
While this may not be the reason for everyone struggling with the decision to have kids, I knew what was holding me back: fear and selfishness, plain and simple. When I thought of being a mother, my mind wasn’t filled with cute smiles and sweet laughter. Instead, I thought of sleepless nights and limited free time. Not to mention pain and discomfort. I can still remember the first time I heard about giving birth. I decided then and there that I was going to adopt.
My entire life, I had felt uncomfortable around children, so when I thought of having my own, I couldn’t see how it was possible. How would I be able to give everything up for them?
The first eight or nine months of our marriage went by without much change. My husband had this running joke that anytime I asked, “Guess what?” he would reply, “You’re pregnant!” I’d roll my eyes and move on, with plenty of excuses as to why having children was not going to happen any time soon.
Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t feeling pressure to have children. My husband and I had conversations and agreed to take things one step at a time. But in my mind, having children wasn’t going to happen for a long while.
Even still, I knew that Heavenly Father knows more about how my life can and should turn out. Which is why, despite my firm conviction that having children should wait, I continued to pray about the decision both alone and with my husband. We told Heavenly Father our plan but admitted that we would accept a different plan if it was His will. That was an important step in the change of heart that slowly came over me.
That change didn’t happen all at once. In fact, I can’t really remember exactly when it started. But slowly, I had begun to be less averse to the idea of starting a family. I had begun to actually consider it, especially once my excuses were hitting their end. I had wanted to wait until I was done with school—I was about to graduate. I wanted us to know where we would be in the next year—my husband had received a job offer. Slowly but surely, things were starting to fall into place.
I thought it would be scary, running out of the excuses I had held onto for so long. And yet, that’s just it. I wasn’t scared. The fear that I had held inside of me for the past 10 years was no longer there. Or at least, it was accompanied by a peace strong enough to drown it out.
So by the time our first anniversary came around, I just didn’t have any reason to say no to starting a family anymore. The Lord had changed my heart and quieted my fears.
Later, a friend ask me how I knew it was the right time. I had to admit that it wasn’t through any grand feeling of courage or love for children, no burning of the heart. It was just through the absence of fear. It’s like God said to the early Latter-day Saints: “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30). To me, my lack of fear was the answer from the Lord saying, “Yes, you’re ready.”
It was pretty exciting, that first time that I could finally laugh and say yes to my husband’s reply, “You’re pregnant!”
Now here I am with a young baby in my arms. I’m still learning how to be a mom, and I still don’t know what to do around other people’s kids. But I know that no matter what shortcomings I may have when it comes to children, Heavenly Father is rooting for me. He prepared me for this time. I have felt His divine help, even through lingering feelings of doubt and fear. The sleepless nights and lack of free time are small sacrifices for the joy that has come to me and my family. I know that Heavenly Father is aware of our fears and our circumstances. And if we seek His help, He can help us overcome them and move forward in faith.