10 Myths About New Moms Debunked
10 Myths About New Moms Debunked
My twinkies are 4 years, 8 months, 1 week & 5 days old.
1) All new moms are ecstatic from day 1 and suffer no depression, only elation.
False! Postpartum anxiety and true Postpartum Depression and worse is very real. It has nothing to do with loving or not loving the child, it’s an emotional, hormonal, psychological issue (can be one or all of these things involved) that isn’t helped by hormonal fluctuations, which can mess with brain chemistry, combined with a new emotional and physical overload, and the changes and challenges that the baby brings along with it.
These women usually feel very guilty because they expect that they should be elated right off the bat with everything about being a new mommy, which isn’t true for 10-20% of women who give birth and have true postpartum mood disorders including PPD, which we could round off to 15%, and it is still a lot. Some other women who have the lesser form, which will account for many more women we never know about, because not all women talk about it and admit to it. Some don’t go for help. This means that exact numbers can’t be shown, but A LOT of women suffer, so it’s likely a higher number. PPD can start right away or take months to develop. It’s no indicator of love, though some of those who never experienced it may say that. NOT true.
2) Working mothers are selfish.
False. While I prefer to stay home, that is my choice. If I had no choice I’d have no choice like many do not no matter what they personally wanted to do. We have those women who are choiceless in the matter, and we also women that feel happiest and most personally fulfilled while having both a career and a family. Who is anybody to judge? I have spoken to many women who say that they just can’t be just a mom 24/7 and can’t picture how I did it with two at one time. They do admire me for it because they say it is definitely the hardest job there is. I never got put down for it that I can ever recall, though maybe one sly comment has escaped my mind.
I do love being a stay at home mom, and It’s my choice and such, though I will surely admit, not in the first few years at all really but now, there are certain days where I wished I could be somewhere else for just a day. Moms are human beings here. Working mothers should never feel bad and some don’t have any choice. Some women feel isolated and grumpy at home all of the time. Better to be a happy which means a better mom when you are with your kids, than to be in a place you aren’t totally happy in. Kids can always sense that.
3) New moms should be back into their skinny jeans and looking normal after a few week’s time.
Though it does happen for a select few, this is false for most, and should not be expected. Celebrities have personal trainers, dieticians and chefs, and also above all things they have plenty of cash for plastic surgery. Just like magazines, you don’t know what you can believe or what you can’t believe when it comes to celebs. There are real women who get ‘lucky’ but it depends on a few things. Being fit before pregnancy helps at any age, not gaining too much excess weight, being active after the pregnancy, breastfeeding helps the uterus contract and calories to be burned, whether or not you are taking certain action like belly binding and smart eating postpartum.
It takes 9 months to make a baby, you should give yourself that long before looking in the mirror harshly at yourself, though as a woman I know it is hard. The vast majority of women have excess weight to lose and muscles to tone back up after birthing a baby. It isn’t an overnight process for 99.999999% of women. I will say that not a one woman walks out of a hospital with a 6 pack. It just can’t happen! That takes time. (I’d put money on that one!)
4) Relationships are stronger after a baby is born.
This is true and false. I totally believe that a child tests a relationship to its limit. If you don’t have a good one before it will only get worse. I have been there on both ends of the spectrum. Babies with an idiot and babies with my soul mate, so this I know. A baby will never help save a bad relationship, and it will not cure what ails a relationship. A baby brings extra stress, sleepless nights, and there needs to be teamwork in order to make everybody feel happy, sane and rested enough to walk around with 1/2 a brain in their heads for a little while. The 1st baby definitely is hardest to adjust to with your partner, however, adding on kids does add stress in other ways. Sibling jealousy and financial woes, etc.
A very good, stable relationship is needed to weather the storms when a new baby rolls in, however, in a positive and happy relationship a baby means a bond to never be broken, a symbol of undying love, and it does bring a lot of joy into a relationship. It is the absolutely the most incredible thing you will ever create and experience together, but to think that a baby will make a relationship stronger if it’s not strong, or that it will keep somebody with you, or make you happy if you aren’t, is just a fallacy. There has to be a lot of love and commitment between partners to grow up a happy family.
5) Mother’s need to breastfeed to be good moms.
While human milk is optimum and what our breasts are meant to do, sometimes you just can’t do it. It could be from medications you are on, a physical problem with the breasts themselves or milk supply. Any number of reasons. And some women try and just can’t keep up with the demand. I have been there. Some may just choose not to, and that should be OK to, though some feel harshly about that. It isn’t their baby and body and they shouldn’t, but it can be a tough topic.
It is not EVER something for a woman to feel bad and guilty about regardless of her personal reason. Breastfeeding doesn’t work for everybody. Most important is a strong bond regardless, between mother and child, a healthy environment and a whole lot of love. There can be pressure to breastfeed but if it doesn’t work out or you just feel like you can’t do it, it is nobody’s right to judge you. Many a healthy baby has grown up wonderful and perfect being bottle fed. I will admit I didn’t even begin to try with twins. I admire those who can do it, but I did not feel like a failure for it.
6) New moms should have it all together right off the bat.
False! You’ll make many mistakes and so will your partner. Even if you have been there done that, there is a lot we tend to forget between babies and each experience, though certain things are the same, is a unique one- including how you feel postpartum. Life situations can change, you may have more or less stressors going on in the background, the child themselves may be different – better or worse sleeper, colicky, etc. Don’t expect that you will EVER be an expert on motherhood. No one is perfect. A new mom should never expect that of herself or of her partner. Expecting perfection will only lead to disappointment.
Do not place so much pressure on yourself and those around you. You are still a good parent if you just do the best that you can. Motherhood is damn hard work! (And dads feel the changes and pressures of a new child as well. Cut him so slack to.) Tension between couples about their parenting skills and blame placing can lead to divorce, and nobody wants to see that happen.
7) Moms will be dying to get back to their old sex life right away.
For some loons like me this may be true, ha, ha. That is probably because my husband barely ever touches me while I am pregnant. Some men are sadly just like that. (Built up stress perhaps?) But there is always some fear about the first time after the birth of a child on the part of the woman. It is hard to know what to expect. Will it hurt? Will sex feel the same? If I am still carrying some weight around or have some stretch marks what will my husband think of my body? These are all normal thoughts that go through a new mom’s mind and then some.
You may not feel like having sex for awhile after your baby is born, though you should try and wait till at least the 6 week mark, some women wish to wait longer. The hormones from pregnancy are still leaving your body and messing with your mind making you feel unattractive. This all can cause a lack of sexual desire, coupled with flat out exhaustion and stained spit-up on jammies, feeling sexy and sexual may be the last thing on your list of things to feel. Don’t worry, you are normal. Things WILL go back to normal once a nice routine sets in place and you are feeling more in control of everything. Oh, and sex will still be sex. 5 kids vaginally and all is damn, damn, damn good here, so no worries. And your partner should be understanding while they wait.
8 ) A new mom can spoil her baby in the first few months.
Wrong!! My doctor says 6+ months, but some believe it is a tad sooner, some later and some you will hear on both extreme sides of the coin. Babies can always be spoiled or babies can never be spoiled. No matter what you want to believe, babies can not be spoiled in the first few months of life, at least! They need their needs met, they need attention when they cry. Doing CIO aka ‘cry it out’ or anything like it should never be tried during this critical time in a newborn’s development. They need you when they need you, and it is your most important job to be there for them when they do. There is no amount of affection or attention that will spoil a newborn baby and make your life hell for the rest of your life. That comes later – don’t believe your friend or your mother in law or whomever is telling you something different.
9) Moms should love everything about motherhood straight away.
Nope! Being a mom has many rewards, but it is also damn hard work. People expect moms to fall instantly in love with being a mom, and everything to just be so, and it is not often true. There may be some disappointment that the fantasy vs. the reality that was in your mind and has now come to pass are two completely and totally different things. You may feel sad about your relationship, not having enough one on one time together any longer. You may have expected this perfect experience with little crying, sleeping through the night by 6 weeks of age and everything running textbook smoothly, however, there are always unexpected bumps and challenges along the way. Motherhood isn’t a daydream it is an adventure!
A woman should never feel bad about herself for her feelings, and should always know she is not alone. Sometimes you feel like you are just holding on for the ride, but time helps in many ways, and hormones will level out soon as well. Hang in there!
10) New moms should never need any help. Her and/ or her & her partner should be able to do it all.
Heck no. Everybody raises up the white flag of surrender sometimes. A mother (and father) do need some downtime. Some time to unwind and regroup. Without this you can totally overloaded and overwhelm yourself, which isn’t good. You have to relieve each other from parental duties at least for a short amount of time so you don’t forget about YOU and your life before baby. Then you have to start setting up some time to spend together so you don’t forget about ‘you guys’ as a couple. That is HUGE! I think without that time, whenever you can get it, a relationship just gets lost ,and it is SO sad.
It may be hard at first, but as time goes on you need this as part of your lifestyle- your regular routine. And like they say it takes a village to raise a child, there is no reason that you should feel bad for calling on the help of a trusted loved one. You don’t need to put the pressure on yourself to do it ALL and be super woman. Lean on others when you need to, and allow people to help out when help is offered. Even just a long hot bath without interruption, a gym class to release happy endorphins, or simply time to run to the store by yourself, is very therapeutic for a new mother.
So those are 10 new mom myths debunked! I hope you have a wonderful experience, and just in case anything goes array (and it will) that you never feel badly about it. Be the best mom you can be, and do not let this world we live in, and the people who surround you, make you feel like anything but the best mom to your child or children.