Moms expect a lot from themselves. They expect to easily meet their baby's needs from the get-go. They expect to be able to easily produce breastmilk. They expect to suck-it-up and push through nausea and backaches like a champ. They expect labour to be the worst feeling in the world and they expect to fall completely in love with their little one the moment they see him or her. Like many things in life, those expectations don't always happen as envisioned.
It's normal for moms to be hard on themselves. The opposite can also happen, especially when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood. A new mom may automatically assume she will get hit with morning sickness or have a tough time getting back to her pre-baby body. Sometimes those negative thoughts bring forward more negativities during pregnancy or postpartum when, in reality, mom brought them upon herself. Some people don't get morning sickness or stretch marks. Some people have an easy labour or have no problems with milk production.
Every mama experiences motherhood in her own unique way. That's what makes parenthood such a beautiful, crazy thing. Of course, it is natural to have predisposed expectations about pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum life. Humans are just that - human. It is normal to expect this and expect that. If you didn't, you probably are a robot.
20 Mom Was Right: The Extra Skin
Once the word "twins" was brought into my vocabulary, I immediately worried about excess skin. I knew that pregnancy caused the skin to stretch, but with multiples? I had a feeling I wouldn't be able to escape this possibility.
And I was right.
It has been a year since my twins were born and the skin on my stomach has those expected stretch marks and wrinkles. Even though it has been tough to accept my new "mom-bod," I am glad I prepared myself mentally for the possibility of extra skin.
19 Mom Was Right: Postpartum Depression Happened
According to Mayo Clinic, "Postpartum depression isn't a character flaw or a weakness. If you have postpartum depression, prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms and help you bond with your baby."
New moms often expect to immediately feel that bond with their little one. Postpartum depression and "baby blues" can impact this initial bond.
Being someone who has faced mental health struggles for quite some time, I expected to be hit by some form of postpartum depression. At first, I thought I had escaped its grip. After a few months, I felt it. It took some time, patience, and a total change of mindset before the negative feelings began to disappear.
18 Mom Was Right: The Opinions Would Fly
"I expected others to give their opinions when I didn’t want them but I didn’t expect it to bother me so much when someone always has something negative to say about your decisions," explains mom of one, Ashley VanHusen.
It's unfortunate that the world can be so cruel. It is natural to have opinions, but that doesn't mean those opinions should purposely be put out there to hurt someone. Going into pregnancy and motherhood, many expect others to push their beliefs and opinions at them in either a forward way or a nonchalant way.
Either way, even when it's expected, if those opinions are hurtful - they stick.
17 Mom Was Right: “I Expected I Would Need A Cesarean – And I Did.”
In the eyes of some, c-sections are not seen as "childbirth." First off, this thought needs to end. Whatever way a baby is brought into the world is a form of childbirth - and does it really matter?
A mother is a mother in either circumstance. However, some moms are just as scared about a c-section as they are the idea of labor and delivery. They may bring up the idea and fear so much that, in the end, c-section is just what happens.
"I expected that I would need a cesarean and I did," states Michelle Eisele, mom of one. Whether or not Michele was scared of the surgery or she was able to talk herself to a state of contentment with the thought that major surgery is just that - major surgery.
16 Mom Was Right: Immediately Transition To Cribs
When it came to my personal parenting beliefs, I knew I did not want to bed-share. This was my own personal belief and knowing twins were on the way, I knew bed-sharing would definitely not be something we did.
When in the hospital after delivery, my boyfriend and I noticed both twins were sleeping well swaddled up in their separate little bassinets. They never had any issues sleeping on their own, on their backs, and in their own little spaces. When we noticed this, we decided that the first night home we would transition them into their own cribs to see if it worked. And it did.
This isn't the case for every family and every baby, but it does show that the option is possible. Many moms like having their little one close by at all times, especially for breastfeeding purposes. For our family situation, the immediate transition was an idea we liked and it was one that worked.
15 Mom Was Right: Lactations Counselors Appearing All The Time
Lactation Counselors are very helpful, certified professionals who fully understand the business of breastfeeding. Moms who know they will be strictly nursing and pumping often lean on these specialists for support during their postpartum adventure. I was told by many moms that during my hospital stay that I would meet many Lactation Counselors - and they were right.
I expected to see many Lactation Counselors during my hospital stay and I also was prepared to tell them that I would try to breastfeed my twins, but I was fine pumping and supplementing. I said this several times a day for the two days I was in the hospital. Even though these professionals were genuinely trying to help, it did grow tiring repeating myself to every new specialist who arrived at my door. I appreciated their help but knew I would be jumping into this adventure with a different set of goals.
14 Mom Was Right: Trying To Do Everything Right Away
Being the stubborn, hard-headed person I am, I knew I would jump into motherhood full-force as much as I could. I also knew that after a c-section, I needed to rest, relax, and let other people help as much as possible. Doing that was very hard.
Even though I could barely get out of bed, I was determined to do every night feeding on night one. Even though I had clogged milk ducts and a low-grade fever, I was going to soothe my twins when they needed me, do the dishes, and wash the loads the laundry.
I knew I would have a hard time accepting help when it was handed to me and, looking back, I wish I had high-fived that help and taken a nap when needed.
13 Mom Was Wrong: “I Expected To Go Early With Baby Number Two.”
"I expected that I would go early with number two like I had with number one, so when it was the end of August when I finally had him at 41 weeks, let’s say I wasn’t a very happy mama," admits mom of two Katie Day. Often when a mama expects one thing, her little one is going to throw the exact opposite her way.
Children are swaddled-up surprises wrapped in skin and sometimes smiles and snuggles. They will always be throwing surprises your way when your head is turned and they will be doing it until they are - no, the rest of your life. Those expectations moms have will often become twisted and bent a little as life moves forward.
But that's what makes motherhood exciting, right?
12 Mom Was Wrong: “I Didn’t Expect Breastfeeding To Be So Hard.”
Nurses, Lactations Counselors, and medical professionals often talk about the benefits and bonding that comes with breastfeeding. However, they rarely discuss the hardships that come with breastfeeding.
Social media, other mothers, and the film industry tend to beautify breastfeeding and make it seem as if it is the best and only way to feed your little one. Even though breastfeeding does have its benefits, there are also moms who struggle with nursing.
"I didn’t expect breastfeeding to be so hard, demanding, and exhausting," explains mama, Ashley VanHusen. Many other moms experience the same stress and frustration as Ashley when it comes to the adventure that nursing is. When a mother decides to breastfeed, they are taking on a whole other life-changing role in an already life-changing experience.
11 Mom Was Wrong: “I’d Continue To Work Out The Same As Before.”
"[I expected] that I’d continue to work out the same as before as I was able to my entire pregnancy," says mom of one, Chelsea Marie. "Aubrey is almost a year old and still doesn’t sleep through the night. I’m so tired that I can’t bring myself to get out of bed for the gym at 5:30 every morning like I used to. I haven’t lifted in months."
When you've been active for most of your pregnancy, you expect your body, and mind, to jump right back into action after delivery. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Even though moms want to keep up their physical activity, between caring for a newborn and caring for yourself, that crucial "mom time" becomes a little hard to grasp.
10 Mom Was Wrong: "I Didn't Expect To Love My Nurse As Much As I Did."
Medical professionals have a tough, yet rewarding job. When they are working with pregnant moms, moms in labour, and moms recovering from a c-section, they are faced with many emotional, stubborn, and sore women.
They have to clean and care for moms in ways women may feel uncomfortable with. With that in mind, many moms may expect to either disconnect with their nurses or do their best to avoid them. When you find a nurse that you connect with, it makes the recovery process a much, much more enjoyable one.
"I didn’t expect to love my nurse as much as I did," says Ashley VanHusen. "I also have known her for years but she made labour so much easier and I didn’t expect her to be such a rock for me."
9 Mom Was Wrong: “I Expected To Be Sick During Pregnancy.”
"I expected to be sick during pregnancy, but aside from my nose being sensitive and nausea for a while - I felt amazing," says mom of one, Breanna Yung. "The hormones had me on a high."
Many moms expect the worst going into pregnancy, but some hope for the best of the best. They want to absolutely love everything about being and to wear this beautiful glow on their skin. For some, such as Breanna, this may be the case. For others, they are hit with nausea, morning sickness, backaches, and swollen ankles.
Each mother is different - don't write out how you expect your pregnancy to be.
8 Mom Was Wrong: “My Hormones Were Worse Than They Were During Pregnancy.”
Oh, hormones. There are hormones before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and they continue on into postpartum. One thing you can expect is for hormones to never disappear from a woman's life. One thing you may not expect is how those hormones will impact you as motherhood moves forward.
"During pregnancy, your hormones are all over and I didn't know about 'baby blues,'" explains mom of one, Jennie Alessi. "My hormones were worse than they were during pregnancy. Once I didn't even know why I was crying."
Mama, most of us can fully relate to that last statement - the random, confused crying struggle is real.
7 Going To Prenatal Yoga And Birthing Classes
I had always wanted to love everything about being pregnant. I expected I would take advantage of everything I could during pregnancy: prenatal yoga classes, birthing classes, support groups. Instead, I was handed over severe back pain, disability from work, and the need to move twice during my pregnancy.
Life throws you curveballs and when it happens during pregnancy, the most you can do is sit back and watch it unfold without stressing. Of course, this isn't easy - especially when those expectations you had for yourself are ripping at the seams.
This was the case for me. Instead of having a beautiful, enjoyable pregnancy, I was put on disability from work, my boyfriend left the state for three months for training, and I was told not to continue working out the way I was used to.
6 Mom Was Wrong: "I Didn't Expect To Sleep On My Couch For Three Weeks."
"I didn’t expect to sleep on my couch for three weeks following going home," admits Ashley VanHusen. "It was too painful to walk up to my stairs or to sleep flat."
Pregnancy causes some pain and recovery often isn't much easier. Pain comes with being a mom - physical, mental, and emotional. Along with pain come joyous, blissful moments, of course. However, expecting to walk right into motherhood without facing some sort of stressor is an expectation beyond any possible. When recovering from childbirth, moms may push themselves too hard or expect to be able to do it all.
Instead, they may end up on the couch.
5 Mom Was Wrong: “I Was Struggling With Milk Supply.”
Breastfeeding can be tough. This possibility isn't ingrained into the minds of moms as much as it should.
The possibility of issues concerning milk supply also isn't discussed or brought up as often as it could be. Walking into breastfeeding expecting to have a good supply and an easy time with latching is a false expectation for some women. More women face this scenario than expected.
"I didn’t know how hard breastfeeding was. All my mom friends seemed like it was easy and for me I was struggling with milk supply and latching," admits mom of one, Katie Guokas.
4 Mom Was Wrong: “I Expected To Go Late And Have A Huge Baby.”
"I expected to go late and have a huge baby," says Stephanie Newman, mom of two. "I was four days early with baby number one and eleven days early with baby number two... both babies were six pounds and change."
Surprise, surprise. Again, "surprise" is a word to concretely put in your vocabulary once you become a mom. You never know what's going to happen next or how your little one is going to turn out - or when they will show up, in this case.
When a mom walks into their second or third pregnancy, their expectations often go off of their past experience with pregnancy. However, every baby is different - which makes every pregnancy unique.
3 Mom Was Wrong: My Twins Would Be In The NICU
According to Stanford Children's Health, "Twins, triplets, and other multiples often are admitted to the NICU, as they tend to be born earlier and smaller than single birth babies."
With this statistic in mind, as well as my anxiety over having a twin pregnancy, I immediately expected my twins to end up in the NICU. I was scared that I would deliver them weeks early. This was not the case for my girls.
My girls were delivered via c-section at 37 weeks and after two days in the hospital, we all got to go home. This was the best possible situation to happen and was not the one I was expecting. I know many moms of multiples experience NICU time with their little ones. Luckily, I didn't have to and I feel for the parents who have to face this.
2 Mom Was Wrong: “Postpartum Is Kind Of Like A Second Pregnancy.”
"I didn't expect that postpartum is kind of like a second pregnancy," admits Jennie Alessi. "Your body still isn't fully 'yours.' For example, for New Year's Eve this year I couldn't wear a dress because it would be tough to breastfeed in and I didn't want to wear anything that's tight because I still have a belly. Might not sound like a big thing, but I love an excuse to dress up nice."
For women who enjoy dressing up and socializing, those initial postpartum weeks or months can be tough mentally and physically. While pregnancy totally transforms a woman's body, moms often forget that it will take almost just as much time for that transformed body to go back to some kind of "normal."
1 Mom Was Wrong: “I Expected To Be Eternally Exhausted.”
Exhaustion. It comes with pregnancy and it comes with motherhood. Many new moms expect to survive off of lukewarm coffee and to barely ever get an hour straight of sleep. Though this is often the case for some, it isn't the case when you are able to get into a strict routine - and your little one is compatible with that routine.
"I expected to be eternally exhausted after having my little one, but truthfully, getting her on a schedule and encouraging good sleep habits have turned her into an amazing sleeper," says Beanna Yung. "She sleeps 13 hours a night!"
When you are diligent with a schedule and you stay as positive as you could possibly be, you never know what expectations you can crush.
References: Momhood Mayhem, TheWrite, MayoClinic.com