We brought you an article a while back about 5 things second-time mom's never talk about. However, having a new baby whether it's for the first time or the fourth time there are things that mom's don't talk about nearly enough. We want to bring those things to light and start the conversation, "moming" is hard and we need to be there for one another.
From the moment we see that positive pregnancy test, for some of us even long before that, we start reading and preparing as much as we can for motherhood.
When I got pregnant, I had a vision and plan for how mom life was going to go. These “Instagram moms” make it look so glamorous and easy. What you don’t see, is that there are common struggles every new mom goes through that many don’t talk about.
1. Not bonding with your baby immediately.
Once the news is shared that you are expecting, the bombardment of affirmations start coming from all your friends, family and even the strangers in the checkout line. One of the most common things mothers before you will say, is that when your baby is placed on your chest, you will feel an outpouring of love and emotion. Makes sense right? Well, believe it or not, this doesn't always happen right away.
When my second was born, and he was placed on my chest, I was numb. I didn't have those overwhelming emotions like I did with my first child. Sure, I was happy and I loved him and cared for him, but it took weeks for me to really connect with him. I remember thinking, “what is wrong with me?” I wondered if I was broken. But once those emotions flooded through me weeks later, like a dam had opened, it was beautiful.
The fact is, is that the bond or connection may not happen right off the bat. This can bring on feelings of shame and inadequacy for new moms. Just know, this does not make you any less of a mother. The bond and connection will come in its own time, and IT IS OKAY to not feel it right away.
2. The loneliness and darkness that can set in.
Becoming a new mom is a huge change. One that comes with a whole new excessive amount of responsibilities. Throw in whacky hormones, and you got yourself stuck on one crazy rollercoaster. Baby blues is a very common response to the change of hormones and sleep deprivation in the beginning days of motherhood. You can feel really irritable, anxious, and weepy. You can spend the whole day wondering why you're crying, and never find a real reason. Hormones are funny. Baby blues should only last days to a few weeks. What is important, is to acknowledge all the feelings you're having. When it gets tricky is when it lasts longer or feelings become more intense. This is when the regular baby blues can morph into Postpartum Depression. When people hear depression, they think the worst, but it comes in all different forms. PPD can come on even a year after having a baby. Not treated, it can become very serious. Self care is something that mom’s put on the back burner, but it is extremely important. If you find yourself not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting to shower or even change your underwear (yes, I have been there), ask for help. There is no reason to be ashamed, and it’s something more women should talk about. We all want to show people we are all right, and can handle it all. You can still be super mom while admitting you need help.
3. Not knowing who you are anymore.
When you become a new mom, you immerse yourself in everything baby and it becomes your focus, your entire life. Your routines change, and you don’t have the freedom or want to do some of the things that you used to. Instead of spending Saturday night taking shots of Fireball and blacking out with a McNugget in your hand, you're curled up on the couch with a colicky infant and a cold dinner that you haven't gotten to touch yet. Your body is different, so you wear clothes that are more for comfort instead of style. Those TV shows or books you started on are now collecting dust because when you have a moment, all you want to do is sleep before you are woken up again in an hour. We all go through a time of mourning our old self or “glory days”. It is really easy to lose sight of who we are aside from being a mom. It is important to remember that we are a mom but we are also our own person. It is valuable to have something for yourself. Something as simple as finding a hobby can help bring joy into your days when you’re feeling lost. Or, you can be like me, and pull a Britney Spears circa 2007, and cut all of your hair off into a pixie and dye it purple! Sometimes all you need is a dramatic change to your appearance to set you on track to finding yourself again.
4. How friendships change.
Every mom is going to experience changes in their previous friendships after having a baby. Maintaining relationships after baby is born is pretty tough. Parenthood is time consuming and occupies us physically and mentally. Our needs and wants change when it comes to the important people in our lives. The truth is, some of our relationships won’t withstand the change to motherhood. Babies are unpredictable, and being a mom means that sometimes you have to flake. Being a mom means sometimes you just don’t have the energy to get out of the yoga pants you have been wearing for 2 days now, to meet up with somebody at Starbucks. Instead of bragging about your 2 a.m. shenanigans the night before, you want to talk about how you got your first official smile from your sweet babe, and you swear it wasn’t gas. You don’t feel like you fit in with your childless friend group anymore, and your friendships start to gain distance because they don't relate or understand the anxiety you feel when you even think about leaving your baby with somebody else. The loneliness of motherhood is real, and it’s hard for moms to admit how lonely they are.
5. Sex and intimacy after baby.
The first time you have sex after having a baby can honestly feel like you’re about to have sex for the first time ever. You have 6 weeks of healing to do, which also means you have 6 weeks to overthink the entire thing. Do I look different down there? Do I feel different? Is it going to hurt? Does he even find me attractive anymore? Oh the lights will definitely have to be off. When the day finally comes, you may not even feel ready. It is important to have open communication with your partner about all your worries and feelings. Maybe after holding a baby all day long, you are touched out and getting intimate is the last thing on your mind. Maybe it’s hard for you to get turned on because you have so many thoughts running through your head, and want to go check on the baby. Or maybe your hormones have your body out of whack so sex hurts now. Maybe your feeling self conscious of your body and the way it has changed. The best thing to have when it comes down to it all, is patience, both for yourself and your partner. Release the expectations, and learn each other all over again. Every couple goes through this awkward time.
The changes we have to navigate through when we become a mother are immense. They say it takes a village, and I believe that to be true. We all experience some of the same changes going through motherhood, and it’s important to have somebody to lean on and reassure you that you aren’t alone. Although we have to let go of old parts of ourselves, and discover new ones it’s important to embrace the change. Don’t be afraid to talk about it, or ask for help.