Once a mother gives birth to her little angel, she has to nurture the new life closely as it adjusts in its new environment and this needs ample time. Babies are usually helpless and need constant care. They need mom to feed them frequently, change, bathe, and give them lots of love and affection. This means that most moms have to take time off work after giving birth in order to ensure the survival of their young ones.
Maternity leaves also offer a good opportunity for mom and baby to bond with each other. Although the relationship may seem one way, babies appreciate their mother's love and protection. They show moms their gratitude in their own way.
Although maternity leave is a break from normal duties, new mothers hardly ever feel like they are on vacation. Being a mom is a full-time job with sleepless nights and restless days. Newborns take time to adjust to their new surroundings and before they do this, they can wake up several times during the day and even at wee hours of the night.
Motherhood has all sorts of new experiences, especially for first time moms who choose to embark on the journey. Just like the baby, a new mom has to adjust to her new normal. Some experiences may come as a surprise to her and even other women hoping to be mothers one day. Generally, this is what moms should expect during those first months.
20 Moms Can Hardly Work On A Schedule
Women get surprised when they find out that working on a schedule during maternity leave is usually not possible, especially at the very beginning. This is because babies sleep, wake up, and feed whenever they feel like. During the first few weeks, babies have their days and nights in reverse. They also feed on demand, therefore, putting them on a schedule is a bit hard.
According to thebump.com, being a mom is a 24-hour job that does not follow a laid down schedule and one cannot clock out at a certain time. However, moms need not despair, with time, the baby’s sleeping pattern and feeding habits will become more consistent and predictable.
19 There Is No Time For Other Activities
Most women think that when they are on maternity leave they will get time do everything they had procrastinated while at work. However, when they start their maternity breaks, they soon realize that even cleaning the house, cooking, and doing laundry is a great challenge.
As revealed by thebump.com, taking care of the baby is all one does throughout the day and night. Moms need so much help with chores and running errands. They can enlist the assistance of their partners, family, and friends as well to avoid burning out. Moms should also not forget to give themselves time to recuperate after birth.
18 Breastfeeding Is Not As Easy As It Looks
Breastfeeding is not as easy as people think it is and this surprises women when they get to it. Many women struggle with breastfeeding, especially those first few days. Breastfeeding requires a lot of time, skill, effort, patience, and at times women have to seek help from lactation experts.
Moms who do not get it right away should not beat themselves up. With assistance from a nurse or lactation consultant, the baby can learn to latch. However, according to kellymom.com, no matter how hard it is, moms should always remember to celebrate the small victories. If the baby has fed well once that day, then that is a success.
17 Moms Will Envy Their Partners
Many women look forward to their maternity leave, they plan on how they will spend time with their babies and partners. However, as soon as their days start becoming monotonous, they will want to switch lives with their partners and enjoy a bit of freedom.
Moms sometimes envy them because they get to leave the house but as much as they would like a day in their shoes, they probably would not trade places with them even for the world. According to thebump.com, mothers love and protect their babies in a way that their partners can not, though this is not to suggest that the fathers do not love their babies enough.
16 Moms Will Not Always Know The Reason Why The Baby Is Crying
Babies sometimes cry for no reason. This is something new moms learn the hard way once they begin their maternity leave. It is frustrating for moms to feed, change, bathe, and try to soothe the baby to sleep, only for him or her to continue to cry and the mother has no idea why.
Moms may have tried everything to calm them down but nothing seems to work. However, as they continue to spend time with their babies, they soon learn exactly what they want by reading their cues. According to BabyCenter, babies usually have different cries for different needs. Usually, a high-pitched cry means that they are sick or in pain.
15 Maternity Leave Goes By So Fast
Women are usually surprised to realize that maternity leave goes by so fast. Depending on the company, maternity leave can go for as long as 12 weeks to a year. However, the weeks soon turn into months, and before moms know it, it is time to go back to work. It is at this time that most struggle with mom-guilt. This is partly why some decide not to go back.
It takes time for new moms to figure out motherhood and instead of obsessing over their short leave, they should focus on spending quality time with their babies and partners as bellybelly.com points out.
14 Your Clothes And Hair Will Have Constant Spit Ups
Moms are often surprised that their clothes and hair have constant spit ups from their tiny adorable human beings. When did it get there? Moms ask themselves this question every other time. According to BabyCenter, babies spit up a lot because their digestive systems are not fully developed.
They also spit up when they are getting gas out through burping, so when moms are busy burping them over their shoulders, even with a burp cloth for protection, some can get in their hair and clothes. Taking a shower and getting a change of clothes easily solves the problem.
13 Mom Can Feel Isolated
Most women are surprised to find out that they feel isolated during maternity leaves. This is because of the sudden change in their lives. Not long ago, moms had a busy routine; they were constantly interacting with people at work and now they have to adjust to an unpredictable routine with no one around to talk to except their partners and their babies.
Even with the best support system in the world, most moms feel isolated during this time. According to motherly, moms are the ones expected to wake up at night when the baby cries. Although their partners may help occasionally, most of the time moms have to handle the babies alone. Mom groups can be beneficial to moms who have no one else to keep them company.
12 There Is No Time To Sleep
Another thing that can surprise women about maternity leave is the fact that they will barely get time to sleep. Newborns sleep for approximately 18 hours a day, which may seem like a lot of time, but they also wake up every two or so hours for mom to feed and change them. Moms need time to adjust to this routine. During those fast few weeks, they will hardly get the hang of waking up every other minute; in the process, they will lose a lot of sleep
Nonetheless, moms should also rest so that they can get the energy to take care of their babies even if it means foregoing some chores. According to bellybelly.com, a good rule of thumb is to sleep whenever the baby sleeps.
11 Taking Care Of A Baby Is Harder Than Expected
A number of women may think that maternity leaves are days off from hard work but taking care of a baby is even harder than a regular job as stated by belllybelly.com. Looking after a baby requires a 24-hour clock, unlike work. A mom cannot take time off from their baby unless she has a helper.
The first weeks are usually the hardest. Moms have to adjust to a new routine, take care of chores and at the same time deal with hormonal changes as well as sleep deprivation. However, after a while, most women get used to chaos. Those first weeks also go by so fast and before they know it, the newborn is a toddler.
10 Moms Will Bond More With Other Moms
During maternity leave, most women will find themselves looking for and enjoying the company of other moms. According to whattoexpect.com, it is common for new moms to miss their old lives even though they adore their time with the little ones. They sometimes crave grown-up time and human beings that actually speak words.
The best people to bond with are those going through the same thing as a mom is. They will be amazingly supportive and understand exactly what mom is going through and before long mom will find herself drawn to such. They are the only people who will be happy to discuss the color of your baby’s poop.
9 It Is A Time To Learn New Skills
Women are usually surprised at how much they get to learn during their maternity leave, especially first-time moms. During this break, moms usually learn so much about babies and how to take care of them properly through firsthand experience, research, and talking to other moms.
Moms have to plan their time well before the rest of the day becomes hectic which means that they must learn how to manage their time as well as multitask and prioritize work. However, according to bellybelly.com, the most important lesson is what it really feels like to be a mom.
8 Moms Will Take Any Help They Can Get
When women give birth, their friends and family normally gift them with clothes, books, baby gear, blankets, bottles, and many toys. However, and to their surprise, what they need most and cannot be found in stores is help and support with the baby and house chores.
New moms appreciate people who can help them out with cooking, laundry, cleaning, and running errands. Sometimes, even watching the baby for just a few minutes so that mom can take time out is helpful. According to motherly.com, getting help at this period actually reduces the risk of postpartum depression and anxiety.
7 Unconditional Love Is Real
The unconditional love many moms feel for their baby after birth surprises them. New moms spend most of their maternity leave falling in love with their babies. According to BabyCenter, new moms will immediately feel the need to love, hold, cherish, protect, and teach their babies once they meet them.
The love between a mother and a child arises instantly and usually grows when the mom is on maternity leave. However, unconditional love does not mean mom will always be happy and jovial; there are times she will get angry and frustrated but still love her baby.
6 New Moms Will Not Want To Return To Work
This may come as a surprise to women, but new moms often struggle with going back to work once their maternity leave ends. Many people call this mommy guilt. Most moms are not comfortable with leaving their three or six-month-old baby with someone else but they have to because they need the income.
Moms who struggle with this transition can try to negotiate with their bosses about the possibility of an additional adjustment period. Connecting with colleagues who have gone through the same thing can assure a mom that all will be well. Checking up on the baby sitter or the daycare during the day can also calm mom’s nerves, as fairygodboss.com reveals.
5 Friendships Will Change
Another surprising thing women learn during their maternity leave is that friendships do change. If they had many friends with no kids prior to giving birth, this number can reduce drastically. Moms will soon discover that they no longer have things in common with their friends; even they themselves will start drifting away.
According to BabyCenter, it is hard for friends who are not going through the same thing to relate to constant conversations about babies. Some will find it hard to understand that the new mom does not have the energy to keep up with them. However, a few friendships make it through this life change.
4 Getting To Know The Baby May Take A While
This may surprise women but not every mother will bond with their little one immediately after birth. Some moms have a hard time adjusting to motherhood and this is normal. Not everyone snaps to mom mode the second they give birth, a few take a while.
Oftentimes this is because of baby blues caused mostly by the hormonal changes in the mom’s body. After some time, these moms are amazed at how much they love and have bonded with their babies. However, if the feelings do not go away, moms should consider talking to a professional, as stated by thebump.com.
3 Moms Will Look Different
The physical changes of motherhood normally catch many women by surprise. Most usually do not expect to look that much different than they did pre-pregnancy but they do. During maternity leave, many moms will discover that their bodies look and feel different. Their hips can grow wider, their tummies can stretch out, and their feet can swell.
Several solutions exist for these changes with a good meal plan and exercise, but moms do not realize that this might be their new normal. Their bodies hardly get back to how they were before the babies, which is usually okay with most women because these changes are responsible for giving them the greatest gift of their lives, as noted by BabyCenter.
2 They Will Beat Themselves Up About Small Things
Before giving birth, many women swear that they will not be those moms who co-sleep with their babies or use pacifiers on them. However, they end up surprising themselves when they find that they are doing those same things they swore or thought they would never do.
According to bellybelly.com, many moms go into motherhood determined to follow certain rules and when they are unable to, they beat themselves up for it. After giving birth, moms will soon realize that some rules exist to be disregarded. A mother’s body sometimes does not also have the energy to do all things that her mind wants and there is nothing wrong with that.
1 There Are Times When One Will Not Love Parenting
Moms have unconditional love for their babies, but since they are still human, they will not always love every aspect of parenting. Probably because it is a new, tedious, and time-consuming task that majority may not think that they are good at.
It is normal for moms to have moments when they wonder whether they are good at this parenting business. According to whattoexpect.com, such doubts actually show that they care. New moms need to learn that parenting has its good and bad days and all they can do is to be the best they can for their child.
Sources: thebump.com, bellybelly.com.au, mother.ly, whattoexpect.com, babycenter.com, fairygodboss.com, kellymom.com