10 fears about mothering and pregnancy

While leafing through the family photo albums my Mom so generously left at my house for an undetermined amount of time, I was able to put 10 fears to rest that have been lurking in the back of my mind regarding mothering and pregnancy. I thought I’d share them with you today, so that you can see how I’ve managed to overcome them one by one.

1. I’m too young to have that kind of responsibility

Well, my dad was practically a minor. Just look at him:

OK, he was actually 28 or 29, but seriously folks–does he look a day over 16?

2. My house will become overrun with child paraphenalia

Not necessary! I slept in a cardboard box.

I was bathed in a trash can.

I guess I don’t need a ton of stuff for my future babies–I mean, they don’t even know the difference between their fingers and their toes, much less between a fancy bathing apparatus and a brown trash can. My parents kept their house very free from self-multiplying plastic objects, and I find that inspiring and relieving. Phew!

3. My schedule will be chained to the sleep schedule of my child

My parents simply put us to bed wherever we happened to be. Like at a concert. Hey, they were musicians, and we had to adapt.

There’s my Dad running the mixing board. I think this was in Japan, and I’m looking a little spaced out. Apparently they kept a blanket by the mixing board, and when it was my bedtime simply put me down on the blanket where I peacefully entered dreamland. Children are more adaptable than I would have imagined–and they can adapt to me as much as I can adapt to them.

4. My house will become an uncontrollable mess

Well, if I follow my Mom’s philosophy I will simply put my children to work. I mean, all day long I worked the family’s farm . . .

. . . and then I got home, tied my tresses up in a bandanna, and got ready to give the house a good shake down. My Mom didn’t take any excuses–here she is saying “Alright Jenna, don’t come back until all the curtains are laundered and pressed!”

She didn’t even care that I had just laundered and pressed them, like, two days ago!

While the house was my responsibility, the birth of my sister Erica fulfilled the vacancy for groundskeeper and chauffeur.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah Dad–just take the dang picture and let me finish washing the car.”

I’m so glad to know that I too can simply train my children to do all my work for me, while I sit on the couch issuing orders, drinking coffee and nibbling on scones.

5. I will become frumpy and hideous

This picture of my Mom was taken when I was almost 2 years old.

Yes, my Mom is a classy broad. Here she is again with her two sisters (she’s on the left), around the same time:

That classy lady second from the left is my grandmother:

I have inherited genes that indicate frumpyness may not be in the cards for me. Or if it is, my extended family will whip me into shape so as not to disgrace their name. I have historical evidence for this claim: Aunt Jessie was put on frump alert many years ago, and was immediately forced to the nearest beauty salon to fix the issue.

She tried to resist, but she was no match for her determined mother, the one wielding the cane. It’s nice to know that I have the kind of family who stamps out frumpery and beautifies you even against your own will.

6. If I have daughters, they will steal my shoes and clothes at the earliest opportunity


OK, well, that may happen. But nobody seems particularly upset about the arrangement, as I see it.


7. It’s so hard to travel with children that we will never go anywhere

Well, here are my parents in San Francisco . . .

. . . and in New York City . . .

. . . and my Mom in Japan, with me in the stroller and Erica on the way.

These are just a few pictures of the many I could have included showing them in places like Florida and Niagara Falls, with small children in tow. Being in a band, travel was part of their life menu. And if they could do it, dang it, so can I!

8. My children will yell and scream

Well, my childhood pictures prove that it’s possible to have a 100% fuss-free kid. I am always smiling, always cheerful, with a surprising maturity for my young years. My good attitude from birth forward created a very peaceful home environment.

Yes, I was a perfect child and I expect no less from my future children. Calm, wise beyond their years, and zero whining.

Hey wait! How did that picture sneak in there!

Someone’s gonna get fired over that slip-up.

9. Once you have them, they’re with you all the time

If I choose to follow my parents’ example, I can simple pack my child up (with packing peanuts for safety–don’t worry) and ship them off to the nearest baby store, Attn: Returns Department.

As long as you print off your certified baby return label, it should be easy as pie. Then, when you feel like having that baby again, you simply go to the pick-up counter and retrieve him or her. Couldn’t be more simple.

10. Baby stress will cause untold marital tension

My Dad once said that having kids has provided them with the funniest moments in their life. They have never laughed together more than over one of us and our ridiculousness. Instead of driving them apart, raising us three girls has brought them closer.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for doing such a great job and providing a solid photographic record that I can return to for inspiration, encouragement, and ideas.


Now it’s time to talk about the one fear I haven’t been able to shake or disprove. It’s something I’m really having a hard time even thinking about. It may be the source of regret, frustration, and physical discomforts untold:

The fear of not being able to sleep on my stomach.

I mean, I’ve been doing it practically since I was born.

And I don’t think there’s any way of getting around it . . . unless I buy a special mattress with a hole in it. I just have to decide if this final concern is a ‘make it or break it’ moment in our child-bearing plans. Wish me luck as I try to make a wise choice.

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41 Responses to 10 fears about mothering and pregnancy

  1. Circe says:

    these are such beautiful pictures, I especially love the picture of you with the packing peanuts. You’re so lucky to have a book full of such great memories.

  2. Corinne says:

    I absolutely love ALL of this :) What a great post!!

  3. Wendi says:

    I’m glad that your sister came along and took over the grounds keeping. You seem to have had your hands full with the housework!

  4. Wendy says:

    This is so cute! I love the babies in the boxes — Dave was not the only baby put in a box! FYI I slept on my stomach until about the last couple of months. The key is multiple pillows and a careful balancing act.

  5. photobyholly says:

    What great pictures!! What I learned, is that there are a million and one things to worry about before having children, and when you actually have them, it’s really not that bad! You just go with the flow, do what YOU feel is right, and most of all, just ENJOY your time with them! The most important thing to a child is the love and attention of their parents. All that fancy baby stuff is NOT necessary!

  6. Veronica says:

    LOL! I love how you pulled these photos together with a theme (overcoming your fears)–just fantastic! So funny! I was laughing out loud as soon as I saw that cardboard box! ahahahahahaha!

  7. Sydney says:

    So great! You’re a wonderfully witty writer and had me cracking up. Have a great Wednesday!

  8. Twinky Satterthwaite says:

    Wonderful! You always make me laugh!!
    Now as your mother, I cannot resist:

    Topic 1: Yes, even when I met him, I thought he was 16, and then discovered he was already through grad school and a year older than I!!
    Topic 2: Not only is all the baby paraphernalia NOT a requirement, neither is the perfect humongoid house–your first bed was on the dresser inside the walk-in closet of a one-bedrrom apartment. As for the baths, they WERE normally in the tub where you could play, but when diaper rash hit, a quick little “bottom bath” was the ticket in those great wasteabaskets that we still have and use!!
    Topic 3: Yep, you indeed slept through concerts… bedtime was 7pm (just about when Sandi Patti started singing for 3500 (?) students at KC83, and I set up your little bed next to the mixer where you slept … like a baby!)), and until you hit Jr High, you slept 12 hours a night!
    Topic 4: Ah yes, you did such a great job on those drapes!! Doing REAL jobs with REAL stuff with Dad is always so much more fun than those fakes toys…
    Topic 5: Frumpiness is not in the Menn gene pool! Sorry girls, you are naturally and nurturally destined to be classy whether by default, choice, or imposition!! And there is the whole 3rd floor (and more!) in Norwalk from which to choose your anti-frumpiness weapons!!
    Topic 6: …hmmmm!! It seems you have given TO ME more clothes than I have given you!! BTW, in the picture, Erica is wearing my wedding shoes which I STILL have AND wear 30 years later!
    Topic 7: Indeed! Kids should be expected to rise into the adult world, not the vice-versa which seems to be the unhealthy tendency of parenting these days!!!!
    Topic 8: Fussy kids? What is that??
    Topic 9: Return?? Not on your life!! You 3 girls have been the most wonderful blessing ever!!
    Topic 10: No marital stress needed (for the most part) when mom and dad are on the same page, or are willing to defer to and support one another when there is a difference of opinion. It helps to marry someone with whom you already share the same basic child-rearing values (among others….). There is a lot more to deciding whom you marry than just whether he/she is “hot”!! The external factors will come and go, but your basic values are foundational. When kids are raised in a home with a solid foundation of shared values, there is consistency, security, and the fertile soil for mature and responsible adults to develop and carry on into the future. Like YOU!! =)

    Topic “last”: I have always loved sleeping on my tummy. Take heart: it wasn’t until we lived in Zaragoza that I switched definitively to my side. Probably arthritis in the spine, that when I would lie on my stomach longer than 10 minutes, my back would tighten up and hurt so I had to roll over. Obviously, in (later) pregnancy, sleeping on your side is a necessity both for comfort and for health (blood circulation), but I successfully returned to the face-down sleeping position.

    Yes, my dear, take heart!! AND, May you be blessed to take this road sooner than later!! =)

    • Jenna says:

      What?? You mean I was supposed to marry Adam for more reasons than his hotness? I’m confused . . .

      • Twinky Satterthwaite says:

        Yahahahahaha!!! I know you better than that!!

        Ammendment to Topic 2: that metastasizing plastic paraphernalia didn’t happen …until Playmobil!! Remember the lines of Playmobil people you would make??

  9. I peruse a lot of blogs, most of them food/baking-related but every now and then, I’ll randomly come across a post that motivates me and fuels my daydreams for the day. This is totally that post. I can tell that you had such a cool, happy childhood and family.

    The mixing board and the sisters + grandma photos are especially awesome. Mad style.

  10. I have never read a better post. I loved this so muh. Too funny!! All of the pictures are just fabulous. Your parents have got to be one the sweetest couples ever!!!

    Thanks for giving us such a perfect peak at your childhood and for squashing all of of fears about raising children in the process!

    happy Wednesday

  11. Camille says:

    Such a happy, delightful post! I love, love the picture of you sleeping in the box. Wish I would have thought of that! My kids are 2 and 4 and neither one had a crib. We had an older pack n play and they just slept in that (the 2 year old is still in it). No muss, no fuss!

  12. Joanne says:

    There are some wonderful photos in that group.
    As for sleeping on your tummy, it’s not good for your back anyway. :)

  13. Christina says:

    I love, love, love this post. I have the same fears and I love how you put each one to rest with tales from your own childhood. Terrific post!

  14. brightbakes says:

    A beautiful, beautiful post. Good job.
    cathy b. @ brightbakes

  15. Emma says:

    Wow, what a gorgeous (& adventurous) fam!!! You def have some hottie genes there…
    I LOVE seeing old photos (esp of babies).

    All the best,

  16. Carrie says:

    oooooo… babies… Jenna, we need to talk… ;)

    Seriously, though, great timing. I started thinking today about how nice and quiet (and moderately under control) our life is right now, and how that will all go out the window when the children come. I mean, if I can take care of three beautiful, obedient children who can be returned to their Mom and Dad at the end of the day, why chance it by having my own? But you’ve got me thinking again… about tiny fingers wrapped around your (/my) husband’s thumb…

    It was fun and enlightening to read your mom’s perspective in her comment. :)

  17. Heidi says:

    This is the best post ever. The end.

  18. vesselina says:

    oh the sweet little munchkin you were. The last picture with your booty up in the air is a particular favorite of mine. Glorious.

  19. ingrid says:

    LOL, Too, too funny. I started reading this at work but had to stop because I didn’t want to get in trouble. I kept giggling as I read.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting!

  20. alongtheohio says:

    What GREAT family photos! I loved reading this post :) You & Erica look sooooo much like your mother! Beautiful ladies.
    I totally identify with some of your fears…especially the one that you won’t be able to go places and the sleep stuff. But like you, I have seen other people who tote their kiddos along & all is well. In fact, I’m observing (as our friends/families raise their young’uns) that parents who live life WITH their babies instead of AROUND them tend to raise much less annoying/demanding little punks. And I say this with love ;)

    Now…what of the pregnancy part? You see, my biggest fears revolve around that part of the “baby” thing. I fear all those body-changes and the whole labor thing…

    • Jenna says:

      Yeah, I’m with you on the pregnancy and body changes part. Thankfully I’m getting a preview through my sister Heidi (we have the same body type), so that’s been a comfort.

  21. Jen says:

    Ah, Jenna, great blog! I love all the old pictures. And how nice to know that there’s a “Returns Department” out there somewhere.

  22. claire says:

    ohh my gaaa! you were such a cutie! i am LOVING this post… seeing your mom (so skinny) give me hope!

  23. Deborah says:

    This was seriously so funny!!!

  24. Janine says:

    Thanks for popping into my blog and the great comment. It looks to me like you are going to be such a great mommy when the time comes. I love how calm and balanced your folks seemed to be. I tell you what, if you just get that one right all the rest is so much easier to handle. What a great attitude to be able to laugh our way through parenting looking out and savoring all the great moments.

  25. Hannah says:

    Such a great post… I love it!! Because I am a few weeks away from giving birth, I will tell you that sleeping on your stomach does become impossible at some point in pregnancy but it is short-lived… and the amazement of having a real live little baby growing inside you does make up for it! :-)

  26. Mads says:

    This is one of the best posts I’ve seen on the internets and it made me tear up. What a cute and happy family!
    Good luck in whatever you decide :)

  27. Sarah says:

    aww, how cute & funny. i love your mom’s comments too!

  28. jenny says:

    Wow, this is a great post. :) Even though child bearing years are a LONG ways away (for me at least) – it’s still nice to read your list. I love your writing! I’m so glad I came across your blog :D

  29. linda says:

    I love this post! See! I knew kids were a breeze! ;)

  30. HappyTummy says:

    totally just randomly stumbled across your blog, and this post. love it!! as a new mom myself, i chuckled through the whole thing :)

  31. This post was absolutely hilarious! And if you’re anything like your mom and her sisters, it appears you will be gorgeous and back to the perfect body just months after giving birth. I can only dream. :D

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