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Dublin: 2 °C Wednesday 19 February, 2020

Parents Panel: What scared you most about parenthood before you had kids?

Breastfeeding, giving birth and well, just keeping him alive. Here’s what our panel worried about most.

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AS PART OF’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. 

Having your first child can be a daunting prospect. You may have seen siblings, friends or family members making parenthood work - but how on earth will you manage? This week we asked our panel what their biggest worry was about becoming a mum or dad - and how they feel these days.

What scared you most about parenthood before you had kids?

Here’s what they had to say…

Parents Panel All 7

How on earth I'd keep him alive: I suppose it was the fear of the unknown. How would I know how to do anything? How painful would it be? How long would it take to recover? How do you keep a baby alive?! I think for me, in the days leading up to Charlie's birth, there was a fear that I would miss some important sign that signaled it was time to go to the hospital. Was he kicking the same amount as the day before? Was that a contraction? 

- Kait Quinn 

What our 'birth plan' would be: I had heard too many scary stories about births that did not go well, so I was constantly in fear. I did a hypnobirthing class which really helped to relieve my anxiety about natural birthing but elevated my fear of the implications of a C-section... which is how both of my children came into the world in the end. I laugh now at the notion of a 'birth plan'!

- Denise Cahill

shutterstock_396933661Source: Shutterstock

I worried I was too old: The one thing that terrified me when I was pregnant was my age. I thought my days of child rearing were nearly over with my two kids being 14 and 19 at the time. To find out that I was pregnant and single again at the age of 44 was so scary. Would I be able to cope with the sleepless nights? Will I be the oldest mam at the school gates? Will I be mistaken for her granny? Will I be fit to run after her and to play with her? But she is a fit and active three year old who is spoilt rotten by her older siblings and me. She is a blessing.

 - Denise Cumiskey 

How we'd manage with a new arrival: I think my concern was about how life would work with a little one joining us. Me and my wife both worked long hours in stressful roles with hectic schedules and with virtually no support network... how would we cope with with our new addition? But, life soon adjusts - it has to - and nothing is ever the same again. For the better, you understand...

- Ross Boxshall 

If I'd be okay with the breastfeeding: First time around, it was actually breastfeeding that I was dreading the most. I knew that it was the best thing for the baby and I wanted to do it but I was concerned as to how it would feel and how I'd react to it. In the end it was totally fine and natural!

- Marta Lisiecka 

shutterstock_570724186Source: Shutterstock/ Michael Rosolia

How good or bad of a parent I'd be: Karen had grown up around younger siblings etc and was brilliant with babies, so I was never in any doubt about how great a mother she would be. I, on the other hand, had never really been around babies. I was definitely nervous. Once Daniel came along it was a steep learning curve - but one that I managed thanks to help from Karen.

- Ken Hyland

What to expect... from any of it: We were both fairly clueless as to what to expect but had a fair idea as to what "way" we wanted to parent and we just went with that! As with most people, I don't think we fully appreciated the sleepless nights, or the strain it can put on a relationship.  I suppose I was more concerned with things like "will I be a good mother". My own mother died in 2001, so I didn't have her. But my Dad lived with us and he was a great help. 

- Olly Keegan 

I was 18 when I had my first and being so young was definitely what worried me the most before she was born. I was afraid I wasn't mature enough to be a mother, and that I wouldn't manage financially. But it all worked out perfectly in the end. Which was just as well, because I got pregnant with Rosie when Rhiannon was just 6 months old

- Susannah O'Brien

Everything, basically: Would there be unforeseen issues we would have to deal with after? Would the birth go okay? Would there be complications? And then, once the baby was going to be born, would we know what to do, how to soothe it, how to change it, feed it? We had been well warned by friends that the first six weeks are the hardest. They were right, but it prepared us well.  In hindsight, once the baby and mother are healthy, a baby is the easy stage. When they walk, talk and give attitude, now that's a different story.

- Alan Dooley

More Parents Panel: What's your one tip for keeping back-to-school costs low? 

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