For some unknown reason, many mothers promote the idea that motherhood is easy. They may only talk about how wonderful and rewarding the entire experience is emphasizing how easily they bonded with their newborns and encountered little to no issues with transitioning from career women to stay-at-home moms. The problem is that these accounts lead to many misconceptions about motherhood. Not to mention that many new moms might feel they are doing something wrong if things don’t come naturally to them. But this is not the full picture. All mothers struggle and have moments when they feel overwhelmed-- whether they acknowledge it publicly or not. So, to better prepare for motherhood, consider some of the most common misconceptions you have before becoming a mother.
No. 1 You’ll bond with your baby instantly
While this might be the case for some, many new moms don’t experience this. The major problem is that women who don’t bond instantly with their babies often think there’s something wrong with them. This leads them to feel embarrassed to share their reality with others. But you can learn to cope with your emotions because you’re not alone. Many women feel disconnected from their babies at first. Bonding with your little one can take up to a few months. And this is perfectly normal. After all, you need to get to know someone to bond with them, which takes time. Nevertheless, you should consult a healthcare professional if it’s not improving. This way, you can rule out or treat postpartum depression.
No. 2 Everything comes naturally
Many women are under the false impression that some innate instincts kick in once they give birth. Sorry to disappoint you, but this is not the case. You’ll probably feel the instinct to protect your child, but that’s about it. You will likely have to learn the rest. If you’ve had the opportunity to care for younger siblings or observe other moms care for their babies, you’re lucky. These experiences contribute to social learning. Thus, you’ll likely know how to nurture your child when you become a mother.
Unfortunately, many women don’t encounter such learning opportunities. Therefore, they have to learn everything from scratch. Of course, it’s not impossible, just a bit harder. Remember that you’ll be sleep-deprived, which makes learning new things more difficult. It’s a good idea to start reading books and watching videos before giving birth. You can also seek help from other mothers or health professionals.
No. 3 This will be the happiest time of your life
Yes, becoming a mother will bring joy to your life. But it will also bring a lot of stress and exhaustion. That is particularly true during the first few years when your little one is entirely dependent on you. Even if you’re not a first-time mom, this period is challenging. No amount of experience can help you avoid all those sleepless nights. At the same time, if it were all bad, many women/couples would stop after having one child. Try to cherish those happy moments and prepare for the challenging ones.
No. 4 You’ll lose all the baby weight in no time
Many women have the misconception that they will instantly lose all the baby weight after giving birth. This idea may come from seeing photos of all those celebrities who look better than ever after having babies. It’s important to remember that many of these women have personal trainers and nutritionists who help them get back into shape. They may also have more support in place to help with the baby and house chores. Thus, they have a lot more time to focus on losing weight. That doesn’t mean you have to be wealthy to get back into shape after giving birth. Focus on eating healthy and staying active.
Focusing on your health during pregnancy makes it easier to lose weight once your baby arrives. Physical activities are beneficial during pregnancy as long as you seek counsel through your medical provider. It would be wise to hire a moving company instead of doing heavy lifting or delaying that marathon you were planning on running next quarter, but you can still find ways to move and care for your body. Also, keep in mind that your body may never fully return to its original state but you can still embrace new, beautiful parts of your body.
No. 5 Once you have a baby, nothing else matters
Before becoming a mother, you may believe that you have to dedicate yourself entirely to your child. Yes, that sweet baby depends on you, but this doesn’t mean that nothing else matters. First of all, you must make time for yourself; otherwise, you risk parental burnout. Plus, being happy and healthy will help you take better care of your child.
Don’t forget about your partner and your loved ones. Having a baby often puts a strain on marriages or relationships. The main reason for this is that new moms tend to focus solely on their babies. That can lead to partners feeling left out. They might feel disconnected from the child because you don’t let them pitch in.
On the other hand, they might feel disconnected from you if you don’t make time for them. And the same might be true for family and friends. So, ask someone to care for your child every once in a while and go out with your partner, friends, or family. That will also improve your mood and mental state.
No. 6 You won’t miss your pre-mom life
Once you become a mother, you lose part of your freedom. That’s the reality of the situation. That tiny human will monopolize your time. You will no longer be able to be spontaneous when it comes to meeting up with friends. You have to schedule everything well in advance. If you forget to take care of an errand, you’ll likely have to ask someone else to do it. Furthermore, if there are no close relatives in the picture to whom you could entrust your child, planning adult-only holidays might be impossible.
No. 7 You can do it all on your own
That couldn’t be further from the truth. Feeding, bathing, changing, soothing, and playing with a baby is a lot of work. Apart from this, you must also clean the house, cook, go shopping, etc. It’s nearly impossible for one human to do all this without getting sick or going crazy. Rely on your loved ones for help or hire help. Don’t be embarrassed. Nobody expects you to do it all on your own, not even if you’re a single mom.
Furthermore, if it all becomes too overwhelming, you should seek help from a mental health professional.
No. 8 You are not allowed to complain
As previously mentioned, this is the main cause of many misconceptions about motherhood. Women feel judged if they complain. And unfortunately, this is often the case. That’s why they only talk about the good stuff. But keeping all the rest bottled up inside can cause more harm than good. So, it’s time to change people’s mindsets. You’ll probably face some resistance at first, but your emotional and mental health is more important than any of that.
All these common misconceptions you have before becoming a mother often make it look too easy. But the truth is that it’s both challenging and wonderful. Of course, every mom’s experience is unique, but that doesn’t mean they don’t struggle. So, you should never be embarrassed to complain or ask for help. As the saying goes, you need a village to raise a child.
Author Bio: Hailey Floyd has been a content writer for two years. She has a son and a daughter who keep her busy the rest of the time. But they are also the reason why Hailey started focusing on writing about motherhood. She desires to provide comfort and help new moms deal with various challenges.