When I was pregnant with my first baby, I had many doubts about how I will take care of a baby. I had the help, I had people with me. But I was doubtful if I could be successful as a mom.
I asked lots of questions to people, read books and blogs, did as much research as I could to prepare myself for this life-altering event. But nothing could prepare me for the actual experience.
Here are some of the things that no one told me about being a mom.
1. YOU WILL BE EXHAUSTED
It is common knowledge that you will be sleep-deprived and walk like a zombie when you are a new mom.
I knew I would not be able to sleep properly once I had a baby, but I just didn’t know how long this sleep-deprivation would last. If you are a breastfeeding mom, expect your baby to get up every few hours at night for a feed.
After you wean your baby, you can expect to get back to your normal sleeping schedule. I breastfed both my daughters until they were two years old. So, I was sleep deprived for the first two years of their lives. And therefore, I was exhausted a lot.
Once they became older and I started getting my sleep back, I started gaining my energy back.
2. RECOVERING FROM BIRTH IS BITTERSWEET
Giving birth is a wonderful experience and I consider the days I gave birth to my daughters as one of the most memorable days of my life.
The days after giving birth (for the first six weeks) are meant for recovery and to bond with your little one. It is a bittersweet experience. You are sleep-deprived, sore from the stitches, have engorged painful breasts, bleeding, and tired.
But what keeps you going is the little bundle of joy that lies by your side sleeping all the time having no worries about the world.
When you think you have fallen in love and know all about being in love, this baby gives you another level of experience.
You fall in love all over again and this time you experience love on a different spectrum. The love for which you would give anything in the world.
3. FIRST SIX WEEKS ARE HARD
If you are a new mother, adjusting to the new life takes time. The important thing to remember is to take rest and never hesitate to ask for help.
Your body has done a magnificent job and it requires time to heal. Your uterus should shrink back to its normal size, your stitches should heal and you should get accustomed to the role of motherhood.
The time frame to heal may be different for different people. But it takes approximately six weeks for your body to get back to the normal or your “new normal”.
If you have older kids, make sure you have someone to look after them.
Remember to drink lots of water (especially after each time you breastfeed) and have a nutritious diet. Take lots of rest and take your time to adjust to the new routines and your new role.
5. YOU ARE SORE
A woman’s body can do remarkable things. It can grow another person, push them into the world bearing an unimaginable pain, it can sustain the new life by producing milk, and do all these many times over and over again.
Your body changes a lot starting from pregnancy. After giving birth, your body is sore from the stitches, even if it is a vaginal birth or a Caesarian.
Your breasts fill with milk and they are sore, heavy, and hard like a stone in the beginning when it is getting adjusted to the newfound job of milk production and regulating the flow according to demand.
This is something I never knew about, but all of these experiences make me proud of how far I have come and how strong my body and mind are.
6. BABY BLUES
Your body goes through a lot of hormone changes and as a result, you can have mood swings commonly known as “baby blues”.
Approximately, about 70-80% of women experience baby blues. The symptoms of baby blues include anxiety, crying for no apparent reason, mood changes, sadness, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, etc. (Source: americanpregnancy.org).
Baby blues usually hit women after 3-5 days of giving birth and usually lasts up to two weeks. If it doesn’t go away and the symptoms persist, it could be an indication of postpartum depression.
Always ask for help and let your closed ones know how you feel. If needed, seek the help of a therapist.
6. YOUR BABY POOPS ALL THE TIME
Let’s talk about poop. Babies and toddlers poop ALL.THE. TIME. Be ready to clean poop at all times and unexpected times, like…um…at 3 am?
Babies’ intestines are tiny, so whenever you breastfeed them or give them solid food expect a poop-splosion.
It’s funny how they decide to let it go just after two seconds of you changing their diaper into a clean one.
And let’s not talk about the times your toddler gets the brilliant idea of playing with their own poop and decide to be mini-Davincis by smearing it into the walls, their crib, and where not!
7. YOU WON’T BE GOING TO THE BATHROOM ALONE
You know you are a mother when you can’t go to the bathroom without the company.
Get used to the idea of having someone sit on your lap when you are in the toilet because this little human is too sure that mom is not gonna come back after they close the bathroom door.
Be prepared to take a shower with your toddler in the bathroom. Good thing they will forget it soon so no need to be embarrassed.
Though I felt stressed at the time of experiencing all these, I am having a good laugh now thinking about the memories.
If you are a mother going through this now, wait! It is soon going to make a lovely memory when you take the journey down the memory lane.
8. YOUR HOUSE IS NEVER CLEAN
If you are a neat freak or have OCD, just know that your house is not going to be spotless all the time.
It is challenging to clean when you have young kids at home. No matter how many times you pick up the toys or make them do it, there is always a LEGO piece lying around or a headless Barbie in the corner.
Sometimes you pick it up for the thousandth time or just learn to ignore its existence and move on to happier things.
9. YOUR OLD CLOTHES MAY NOT FIT YOU ANYMORE
It is not impossible to fit into your old clothes. But your body changes a lot due to pregnancy and childbirth. Your sizes change and new layers of fat appear.
Understand that it is okay if you can’t go back to your old weight as soon as you pop out the baby or even after many years. Love your body for what it is now and embrace your new size.
For some women, even if you go back to the old weight, your body proportions may be different. Your hips can get bigger and you can become curvier.
Let go of the old clothes if they give you pressure, because, admit it, moms are busy and you are not the only one you need to take care of now.
Of course, you need to exercise and eat healthily but don’t pressurize yourself to look like a supermodel.
10. DON’T HOLD YOUR PEE
You say this to your kids a hundred times, but it’s true for mothers too.
What happens if you hold your pee? Nothing much, you can wet your pants a little when you laugh, sneeze, jump or do some other strenuous activity. I know!
It’s embarrassing, but if you suffer from postpartum incontinence, help is available.
Postpartum urinary incontinence is more common in women who have given vaginal birth.
Even though most cases resolve in the first year after birth, one-third to one-half of women experience incontinence even after five years, to some extent.
Postpartum urinary incontinence occurs due to the weakening of pelvic floor muscles and certain other factors related to pregnancy and childbirth. To increase the strength of the pelvic muscles, Kegel exercises are recommended.
If that doesn’t help, there are other options available. I recommend reading this article to learn more about it.
11. YOU GET MUMMY BRAIN
Research from the Autonomous University of Barcelona shows that the brain of a pregnant woman undergoes long-lasting changes to help them cope with the challenges of motherhood.
These changes help us become more responsive and tend to the needs of our kids. But it also has certain side effects like forgetfulness, being overly emotional, etc.
So if you forget what you ate today for breakfast, can’t focus for long, don’t remember if you took your phone when you are out but finds that you have kept it in your handbag, you are not alone!
12. YOU ALWAYS HAVE COMPANY
Now I don’t know if it’s good or bad. No one wants to be alone and feel lonely. But as an introvert, I need space, a LOT!
So I get frustrated when I am interrupted all the time. Like when I have to answer to their curiosities when all I want is to keep quiet and think, and when I hear fighting and noise all the time.
You are bombarded by constant requests and can never finish a train of thought.
But I love my kids and I won’t have it any other way. And I miss their company when they are not home. I can’t remember how many times I have wanted to wake them up because I wanted them to talk to me. Lol, the irony!
But as a mother, I know better, so I don’t act on such stupid thoughts, but gently plant a kiss on their soft cheeks.
13. YOU CAN NEVER TAKE A DAY OFF
If you are the primary caregiver of your children, you are always on charge. There is no off day and you can’t call in sick.
You are there for them even if you feel like parenting or not, even if you don’t have the “mood” and even if your world is falling upside down.
CONFESSION TIME: IS MOTHERHOOD STILL WORTH ALL THE TROUBLE?
The purpose of this post is not to discourage anyone from becoming a mother.
But only to make mothers realize that the challenges that they go through are normal and moms all over the world face them. Usually, mothers talk about how challenging motherhood is and they end with a sigh, “But it’s still all worth it”. Is it, really?
I don’t know.
I want to be honest here and don’t want to glorify motherhood just because it is hard. I honestly think motherhood is not for everyone. If you feel that you should never become a mother, then don’t.
To be honest, on my hardest days I have wished if I were not a mother. I am not proud to admit this. And there is no doubt about the love I have for my kids. But I have often wondered what makes me feel so.
Am I not cut out to be a mother? Or do I miss a gene that makes me crave for motherhood?
But then I realize, it’s a problem that people experience when they don’t accept change. Change is the only constant in the Universe. Everything changes.
People change, relationships change, everything in nature changes. When we fight against change, we suffer.
I have thought about regrets a lot. And I realize it’s when I miss my old life I don’t feel like being a mother. But then I remind myself I don’t feel always happy about everything else in my life too. Don’t we all have days when we don’t love our life?
But you have other days where you love your life and you never want to die.
So, it’s not always about motherhood. It’s about how you view your life. It’s about embracing change and stop wishing about undoing the change.
Like you dislike so many things about your job, your marriage, and your life in general, you will dislike so many things about motherhood too.
So, all this might be true. But how to live through those difficult moments when you are equally guilty about feeling so?
My favorite mantra is “This too shall pass”. I like to chant this when life gets hard. Everything passes and so does hard times.
You are just going through what you were meant to experience in this lifetime. Wishing for otherwise only makes your life miserable.
And like there are challenges, there are beautiful moments too. I can say that I have never felt lonely after becoming a mother. I know that I am always loved unconditionally, no matter what. I know that I will be missed when I will be gone.
And that’s my reward for enduring the bad moments, showing up as my best version even when my mind is turbulent and guilty.
I could go on and on, but I think this topic is worth another blog post. The guilt we feel should be talked about and embraced as such. So that’s for another day.
What do you think about motherhood? How has your experience been as a new mom? Let me know in the comments below.
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