After carrying a baby for nine months, women can’t be faulted for becoming overjoyed with the birth of their son or daughter and hoping for a little break when they can truly appreciate the miracle of motherhood. Unfortunately, that dream-like scenario doesn’t always come true in real life.
Instead of being jubilant while dressing their newborns in cute, tiny outfits and showing them off happily all day, new moms end up feeling tired, frustrate and sometimes unattractive. And it’s not like they don’t realize their babies are tiny miracles, it’s just that the immense changes that come with having a baby are hard to accept and adapt to when you’re feeling particularly emotional.
While TV, magazines and even other women paint a perfect picture of motherhood, real life isn’t quite as rosy when you have to deal with a certain degree of isolation, manage a new set of emotions and learn how to interact with others and the world in a new role, a combination of factors which can understandably leave a woman feeling a little lost and inadequate.
And it is completely natural to feel that way. While parental duties are shared nowadays, women have a harder time getting back to their normal lives, and the fact that the first few weeks and months are almost exclusively dedicated to their babies can leave women with momentary feelings of regret about taking on motherhood, especially when faced with all of the changes it brought to their lives.
On the other hand, and in spite of all of the stress that having a newborn baby brings into the picture, these women also feel stir crazy and a little bored with the routine of the first months of motherhood, and they often even wish they could just go on with their lives, only to realize immediately that they really wouldn’t be ready and they would not do it if given the chance.
If this wasn’t troubling enough, then there is the problem of sleepless nights. Of course every parent has them, because babies need feeding and changing every few hours, after all, but that isn’t the only reason they stay up all night. Some mothers can’t help being afraid of losing such a tiny and fragile miracle, and so they watch their babies through the night, both because they are beautiful as well as because they are afraid of what could happen if they looked away, even for one second. This lack of sleep, however, does not help them rein their emotions in, which is why they tend to be overwhelmed by conflicting feelings which change almost literally every second.
That is why new moms and dads need to be honest with themselves and each other, and share their real experiences among themselves and other expecting parents – because unattainable expectations only lead to heightened frustration. And like anyone who has gone through the experience knows, that is no help for someone who is already in a vulnerable state.
The truth is, the first few weeks of motherhood are tough, but they are also wonderful. As long as your baby is fed, clothed and loved, you are doing as well as can be expected, so you should pat yourself in the back instead of beating yourself up.