For most women the idea of becoming a mother for the first time is very exciting. The truth is though; motherhood is a major change and a big learning experience for any person no matter how prepared they might think they are.
With pregnancy, a woman spends a lot of time planning, dreaming and fantasizing about what life will be like with the little one around. She revels in the joy of sharing her news with family and friends. She also gets to pick out new clothing as her baby bump grows. Pregnancy can be the perfect time for a woman to pamper herself by taking a scented bath or massaging a luxurious lotion onto her belly. Let's not forget that this is also the one time in her life that she can enjoy seeing her weight increase.
During pregnancy many mothers and fathers-to-be even find joy in giving the baby bump a nickname, like peanut or pumpkin. In addition to all the excitement and fun, a woman will learn so much about her own body and the development of the baby as the pregnancy progresses. How often have you heard a woman comment about her breasts during pregnancy? Some finally get the cleavage that they always wanted. Of course, pregnancy doesn’t last forever and the daydreaming of what will be ends when baby actually arrives. While most women do anticipate there being lot of demands with motherhood, some later admit that there are challenges that they just weren’t ready for.
Every mother’s experience is just a little different than the other mothers, but here are some of the biggest challenges new moms admit they weren’t exactly prepared for.
For years childcare experts have talked about the closeness and intimacy of breastfeeding. They have reported that it strengthens maternal affection. Some studies have even suggested the action of a baby suckling changes how a mother’s brain behaves. Apparently, a mother gets a huge rush of oxytocin in the brain. This kind of surge is known to enhance feelings of trust and love according to scientists. However, breastfeeding does not come naturally to everyone.
For many mothers nursing a baby does not come that easy and it can take weeks to get it right. A lot of new mothers feel a great deal of pressure to feel natural and be good at breastfeeding, so when things don’t go exactly as they envision, it can lead to stress. Lactation experts say being “relaxed” is half the battle. If a mother is tense and frustrated with breastfeeding it won’t do the baby any good. If a mother is really struggling with nursing, she can get help from a lactation consultant.
14 Hating Him
Pregnancy often brings a couple closer together and most mothers expect that closeness to grow even more when the baby is born. Unfortunately though, some new moms are surprised to find they want to attack their husbands. Adjusting to the new role of parenting adds a lot of stress to a relationship, even the strongest one’s.
New mothers admit to feeling as if their husbands don’t understand the challenges they face, caring for the baby 24/7. There are mothers who resent having to still do household chores and other work while taking the brunt of the child-rearing responsibilities. The new moms have to keep in mind that new dads also feel pressure. They are stressed because they want to make sure they succeed at their jobs to ensure financial security. They also want to be able to step in when their partner needs them, but worry about doing it right. It’s important that couples continue to talk about what bothers them after the baby is born and let each other know, in a nice way, when they need attention.
13 Feeling Imperfect
Most women who find out they are pregnant, can’t get to the Internet or a bookstore quick enough. They turn into sponges when it comes to absorbing information about carrying a child and how to parent. There are a lot of good resources that cover both the physical aspects of caring for a child and the psychological. The reality is that no matter how prepared you are, things are not always going to go according to how it is described in a book or seminar. Still, many mothers expect to be perfect at every aspect of caring for a new baby. Not being the best at feeding, the best at diaper changing, and the best at entertaining or keeping the baby smiling, does not mean that mom is a failure. New moms have to cut themselves some slack and realize that they are human and that no mother does it all perfectly, all the time.
12 Leaving Baby For The First Time
We have all heard a million stories about mothers who struggle when leaving their baby with a family member, a babysitter, or at daycare for the first time. People say that the baby will be “fine” and that it is harder on the mom than it is on baby. Well, nothing could be truer than this statement. Many new moms admit that no matter how much they prepare or psych themselves up for it, they aren’t ready to leave baby with anyone else for the first time. Child rearing experts warn that making a big deal out of leaving baby can make it harder on the baby. If a little girl or boy sees his mother tense up, get upset or worse; cry, he or she will likely get upset and cry too thus making it even harder for mom to pull away. Paediatricians contend that parents just have to get through that first day to realize that leaving little Timmy or Sally isn’t the end of the world.
11 Having Patience
It takes a lot of patience to take care of a newborn. There are long days, sleepless nights, crying fits to deal with, and of course regular household chores to keep up with. A lot of new moms think if they plan ahead for the arrival of the baby, they will have no problem dealing with these types of challenges. However, many new moms become overwhelmed even with pre-planning.
Why? Well it’s pretty simple –fatigue. Fatigue is something every new mom experiences and being tired causes a person’s tolerance level to decrease. The other problem is that people tend to have their own agenda that doesn’t take into account the unpredictability of life with a baby. There are times when a new mom sees their precious bundle as the enemy who is trying to annoy them on purpose, but once a mother gets some rest and is reenergized she learns how silly that thinking is.
10 Sleep Deprivation
Over 75 percent of adults have difficulty sleeping and many of these individuals are parents. There could be a number of reasons for those sleepless nights, but a big factor is the baby. While pregnant, many women are aware of the fact that they won’t be getting as much rest due to feedings and fussing by their child. However, a large percentage of new moms have reported that they were not prepared for the level of sleep deprivation that motherhood brings.
Sleep loss can lead to mood changes, impatience, and depression in some mothers. It also puts people at serious risk if they are drowsy behind the wheel of a car. Doctors say that new moms have to give themselves a break by saying “no” to some of the chores or activities that they would normally participate in, if it means they can get a few minutes rest. They also advise mothers to sleep when baby sleeps, as opposed to getting on the phone and updating friends or watching a favourite TV show.
9 Clinging Child
Newborns obviously need their mothers 24/7. New moms are usually never far away, especially if they are breastfeeding. Of course, a new mom will likely have the baby in her room in a bassinette or in the bedroom right next to her at night – just in case there is a need to react to the baby quickly. As baby starts to grow, it is amazing how he or she becomes independent. Many babies can play on the floor with a rattle or other simple toy for several minutes at a time, but there are some babies that demand their mothers attention every second of every day. These are the "cling ons". In these situations the baby cries the second mom puts him down or as soon as she leaves the room. He is always touching her and trying to grab her clothing or skin. This can drive the most patient and loving mother crazy.
8 Competitive Mothers
It is not uncommon for mothers to have friends around their own age that recently gave birth or who have small children. As well, a lot of new mothers join support or baby playgroups and meet new mothers very quickly. Making new “mom friends” can be a great way to exchange information about child-rearing, share funny or heart warming stories about your baby or enjoy infant related outings.
Mom friends can become a little overbearing when there is a competitive mom in the mix. These are the moms that are always trying to one-up the other parents. It is as if they are the perfect moms and their baby is the most amazing baby ever born. Many mothers have said that they were used to competition in school or in sports while they were growing up, yet they had no idea just how competitive and “annoying” some mothers could be. Some mother’s have given up on their mommy playgroup just so they can avoid a competitive mom.
7 Constant Crying
Babies cry for all sorts of reasons. Experts say that hunger is the most common reason that newborns cry. The younger the baby is, the more likely she or he is hungry. Since a baby’s stomach is small this means that it won’t take long before the tummy empties and baby is looking for more nourishment. Babies also cry when they are tired, when they want to be cuddled, when they have a wet or soiled bottom, when they are cold or hot and when they are not feeling well.
Sometimes a baby will cry for no reason at all. Some new moms find that they can tolerate a lot of crying, while others can’t. There are those babies that become colic. Research suggests about 10 percent of crying is actually colic. Colic is a condition where the baby has repeated bouts of crying, but his or her needs have been met and baby appears healthy. This condition can be very upsetting and stressful for parents. Few mothers are prepared for Colic.
6 Difficult Career Adjustments
There is no denying that when a woman decides to have a baby, it can impact her career. First and foremost she might experience morning sickness or other pregnancy symptoms that cause her to miss a day or even a few days of work. Secondly, she will likely be taking time off once the baby is born. When it comes time to return to work many mothers grapple with the emotional impact (letting go of baby) and find it hard to concentrate at work.
Some moms admit that the first time they ever made a mistake or missed a deadline at work was right after they had a baby. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges new moms never seem to be prepared for is when the boss suddenly offers them a promotion or new project. If a promotion means more time away from baby, it can be a heart wrenching decision, especially when it is an opportunity the new mother has waited for her entire career.
Temper tantrums are more common in young children who want to show parents that they are upset or frustrated. They can happen with babies too though. A baby can cry and shake his or her little arms and legs until he or she is red in the face. This can happen when they are tired, hungry or uncomfortable. In some cases babies will throw a tantrum because they are trying to reach something, like an object.
Parents should understand that although this can be startling and bothersome, baby hasn’t learned the skills to deal with his or her frustration. That is something that will be developed over time. If the baby’s temper tantrum appears to be causing a physical injury then a parent should consult with a doctor immediately. Psychologists say that often infants who throw tantrums do display signs before they "blow up" so if you are in a public place and want to avoid a scene, watch for the signs and remove yourself from the premises. Those signs include, stiffening their arms and legs and arcing their back.
4 Not Liking Baby
The bond between mother and child usually begins long before the baby is born. During pregnancy many moms-to-be touch their belly a lot, talk to their belly, play music for their unborn baby or even write letters to the baby. Most of these women expect that bond to grow even stronger when their precious boy or girl arrives. When that is not the case, they are often not prepared for how that feels.
A baby can be challenging, can misbehave, embarrass a mother or anger a mother. There are moments when a mother can feel as if she doesn’t like her own baby. Doctors and psychologists say this is normal and it doesn’t last. Mothers who feel a tremendous amount of guilt for feeling as if they don’t like their child need to understand that the feeling will pass and love will eventually prevail. The feeling of not likely your own baby doesn’t last very long.
3 Sharing Baby With Father
It is only natural that a new mother wants to be with baby to make sure that all his or her needs are met. Babies do depend of their mothers a lot. For some women though, the feeling of baby needing mommy can be intoxicating. This can become a problem when dad tries to step in. Some mothers are not prepared to share baby even with their partners. In some cases, a new dad might not fasten a diaper the way mom does, feed baby enough vegetables, or dress them in matching clothes.
Mom should not lose it over these things or not share baby because of it. Sharing can be hard, but every mother needs help and in the case of new fathers, well they have every right to parent, just as mom's do. Mom’s who are not ready for sharing should keep in mind that letting the father or another responsible person help is a good opportunity to get some sleep. As the saying goes “It takes a village to raise a child.”
2 Being Hormonal
When a woman is pregnant she expects her hormones to change dramatically, but after the baby is born, the body doesn’t suddenly return to pre-pregnancy mode. Progesterone levels drop significantly after giving birth and new mothers are in what doctors refer to as “a very low hormonal state”.
About 80 percent of new mothers experience the “baby blues”. This is a moodiness that goes along with the hormone flux. When you add that to lack of sleep and the other stressors associated with having a new baby in the house, it can feel pretty overwhelming. If a new mom is short with someone, doesn’t talk much or keeps to herself when she does manage to get a free moment away from taking care of her baby then there is a strong possibility that she is being hormonal.
Some new mom’s say they don’t even realize they are moody, while others recognize it and are frustrated with it. A lot of these mothers have told their doctor’s that they had no idea it could get this bad. Any new mom who is struggling with mood should not hesitate to discuss it with her physician.
1 Feeling Lonely
There is so much excitement and anticipation when a woman discovers that she is having a baby. During the pregnancy there is also a lot of fun preparation, like deciding how to decorate the nursery and picking out a name for the baby. The nine-months go by so fast when a mom-to-be has so much to think about. Few ever consider that once they give birth, they will be spending most of their time with a little baby and not adults.
For many, work is on hold for a while and social events take a back seat. This can get lonely, especially for those women who are used to a fast-paced lifestyle. While all pregnant women are aware that life will change once the baby is born, some seem to be surprised at just how much life changes and how feelings of isolation and loneliness overwhelm them. The good news for these mothers is that there are support groups if they are feeling lonely. Some groups are accessible online and are a good way to turn to other moms who have been there and can relate.
Babies are a miracle and a joy. Yes, they also come with challenges and some of those challenges can be difficult to imagine until you actually have a baby. Most mothers say that even though they weren’t prepared for many aspects of caring for a baby and even though there were days of feeling really overwhelmed, being a new mom is an experience they wouldn’t have wanted to miss.