Scanning the rows of pregnancy tests, I was trying to decide which one to buy.
But all I could think of is meeting my friend’s 6-month-old baby just a week before. When my friend handed her baby to me, the baby started crying. Nothing I did calmed him down.
How can I be a mom? I wondered.
I grabbed a test and went to pay, feeling like everyone was staring at me. Like they knew.
I was shaking in my boots. Literally. I had never been so nervous in my life. Wondering what the answer to the test would be, I thought about how it would change our lives forever. I thought about what I would do if the test was positive.
It wasn’t long before I had my answer…
We were pregnant.
It was a good thing and all, but secretly, I was terrified. I had no clue how to take care of a baby. I wasn’t very good with kids. You know those people who meet kids and instantly connect with them? Yeah, that was never me.
So from the early weeks of pregnancy all the way to the birth, I was nervous, scared, and a little bit excited all at the same time. If that sounds normal to you, it is.
What I didn’t expect, is people always asking me if I was excited. For 9 months, it was the default question said by nearly everyone: “Are you excited?” It went right along with the series of questions that usually went something like this:
“When are you due?”
“Do you know what it is?”
“Is this your first?”
“Are you excited?”
BAM—the four question series that everyone asks the pregnant lady. I honestly never really knew how to answer “Are you excited?” There were many days when I felt excited, but there were also days when I felt nervous, scared, happy, curious, and of course, ridiculously unsure of myself.
I. Knew. Nothing.
But when the question came up, I politely lied and just said, “Yes.”
“Yes, I’m excited. I’m thrilled. Can’t wait.”
Lies, lies, lies.
I hid behind the word yes, and prayed they didn’t ask another single question. I said yes because I didn’t want to tell a complete stranger the real truth, which involved a slightly more in-depth question and answer session.
Because what kind of mother would I be if I admitted that I was only excited sometimes? Or maybe I wasn’t even sure if I was excited? Funny enough, I did contemplate answering in the most ridiculous way possible.
I wondered what would happen if I said crazy stuff like…
“I hate babies.”
“I’m really depressed about it actually.”
“I’m as far from excited as you can get.”
Nah. Ha. Ha. That WOULD be ridiculous, and it would probably scare people too! Or maybe even make them contemplate calling a social worker on my behalf. I dreamed of responding to the dreaded excited question with those phrases, thinking about what people would say in response. I never responded that way, figuring those were just the pregnancy hormones talking. Instead when asked, I simply responded to the default question with a default answer.
“Yes, I am excited.”
So I guess what I am saying is, please stop asking pregnant women, “Are you excited?” Some moms are excited; others, don’t know what to feel. That’s okay. It’s normal.
If only one person asked, “Are you excited?” it would probably be fine. But when it’s asked all the time with every new conversation, day in and day out, the pressure builds. The question starts to create a pressure around pregnancy and new motherhood—one of the biggest life changes ever. It can make a mom question and wonder if she is excited enough. It can even make a mom feel tired of being excited at all.
Maybe there’s a better question to ask…
“How is your pregnancy going?”
“How do you feel about being a mom?”
“What do you think about pregnancy the most?”
Or maybe skip the questions altogether, and simply say…
“You are going to be an amazing mom to that baby.”
“And by the way, you look amazing!”
Because while every mom feels different about her pregnancy, every mom needs a little bit lot of encouragement and support. Every mom needs someone to tell her she’s gonna rock this motherhood thing. Every mom needs someone to tell her that she looks really awesome and fabulous and glowing and maybe even throw in a “darn amazing” every now and again.
Some moms are filled with more self-doubt and mixed emotions than you’ll ever know. Even the smallest compliment can help a mom feel less nervous, less scared and less unsure about a new baby that is soon to arrive.
Heck…a compliment might even help a mom feel pretty darn excited.
And that would be amazing.
Want more on motherhood?
- Why Every Great Mom Fills Her Cup First
- Making Peace with Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom
- Best Essential Oil Uses for Tired and Stressed Moms
What do you think of the phrase, “Are you excited?” I’d love to hear your thoughts! Let’s chat in the comments.
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