Has Motherhood Changed You?
Motherhood – while we can’t say that it’ll catch you off-guard, what with nine months of carrying a bub, but you may find yourself in experiences you would never had expected! You might also begin to compare your life with what you’ve read about or seen in TV, only to find that it’s much different in real life. Read on…
Welcome to motherhood!
Now that you’re a mom, you certainly have a lot on your plate, don’t you? Exhaustion and stress don’t help and neither does postpartum depression, if you happen to have it. Who’s controlling this ship, you may wonder?
As with any transition, this one also takes some getting used to, although it may sometimes leave you feeling utterly inadequate as a new mom. This is one area which does not discriminate based on financial or social statuses, for you may have the perfect life and have everything you want and need, and yet still feel the uncontrollable tide of emotions, good and bad, upon entering motherhood. New mothers typically report experiencing the full range of emotions – from elation, joy, pride, spiritual expansion, jealousy, anger, guilt, and frustration. For many, it’s part and parcel of the whole postpartum experience.
Relationship with others
Your relationships with friends and even your significant other, will probably change. Your new status a mom will present to you new priorities. While you may welcome these, you may still feel somewhat isolated at times, from certain aspects of life that you enjoyed before the baby’s arrival.
A sense of ambivalence during the first months of your baby’s life is not a sign that you are inefficient or unworthy of being a mother. On the contrary, it is a sign that you are deeply aware of the significance of this experience and that you are allowing your love for this child to change and deepen your sense of who you really are. However, your expectations of motherhood may not match with reality.
The images that you might have had of motherhood, garnered from the media for instance, had you believing that nearly every minute spent with your bundle of joy would be peaceful, joyful, and fulfilling. Still, if you really think about it, how could it be so?
Caring for a little baby is never easy. For one, babies tend to cry. A lot! Sometimes, they are even inconsolable. That alone may leave you exasperated and overwhelmed.
Other than that, motherhood can be an emotionally and physically draining job, and at times, downright tiring. It is likely to come as a shock when you find that you were not prepared for just how demanding your infant can be.
Monotony might creep up too, and you’ll find yourself constantly frustrated by the repetitive nature of the tasks (for as soon as you have diapered, clothed, and fed your baby, it is time to repeat the cycle). If you are a working woman, then you might miss social interactions you enjoyed at the office or the intellectual stimulation of your job. No matter how much you love your child, it is perfectly normal to admit you are not necessarily enamored by the role of a new mom, but…
On the other hand…
You may find yourself so enthralled with your little one that your love for the baby begins to eclipse your love for your husband! You might find that your needs to be touched and caressed seem to be satisfied by interactions with your baby. However, that’s just you, for your husband will still long for the intimacy you once enjoyed.
You might realize that finding time for an adult conversation or for a romantic night requires too much effort and energy from your end. What you must realize is that unless hubby and you make some effort to keep the romance alive, the arrival of a baby can mark the end of a passionate companionship. At this point, as far-fetched as it may sound, remember that one of the greatest gifts you can give your children is the model of a successful marriage, one in which both partners listen, respond to, and support one another. Although it might seem difficult to imagine this now, it is really in your child’s best interest for you to set aside time without your child and nurture your relationship with your hubby!
Your happiness matters! You may have to work to stay connected to other aspects of your ‘individuality’ and things that have always meant something to you.
It is so easy for a new mother to get swept away by this new role and to somewhat lose herself in the process. Therefore, it is essential that you make it a point to carve out some time for the activities that meant a lot to you prior to motherhood. By reserving a bit of time for enjoyable and rejuvenating activities, you will find it easier to share yourself with your child during the rest of the time.
One suggestion is to reserve one evening a week where one of the parents can have time for himself/herself, in complete solitude. The other spouse is then responsible for all baby-related duties. This also ensures that both you and your husband get quality time with your child as well as some very vital, personal time.
Mind your health
The best gift you can give to everyone around you (especially your children and your husband) is the gift of caring for yourself so that you are always in good health. How else can you care for your family?
While most new mothers will stop at nothing to ensure that their children’s needs are met, many behave as if they can deny their own needs indefinitely and it won’t be of any consequence! The reality of motherhood is that you can only share as much love and nurturing as you yourself are receiving, not only from your family, but from yourself.
It is essential that all mothers ask for help and support on a regular basis in order to replenish themselves and to build up their reserves of energy to be in the peak of health and wellbeing.
Have a great journey ahead!