There are a lot of myths when it comes to having your baby, and there can be a lot of comparison. Whether it is bonding, sleep, or competing on coping, here are some of the most common ones:
You will bond with your baby straight after he or she is born.
This is not the case for everyone, particularly if the birth has been difficult or there are other sources of stress going on for the mum or people involved.
The other mothers seem to be coping much better than me.
Be careful here, this is a big one. Do you really know what is going on here, are you with those mums 24/7? Remember if you are feeling down yourself, your mind can go this way when it is not necessarily the case. Most mums struggle at some point. Find the honest ones!
I’ve always wanted to be a mum so it should be natural for me.
Not necessarily, sometimes mums who feel this actually struggle more, as they also turn against themselves for not ‘naturally’ fitting in that role.
We conceived after IVF and/or miscarrying, so I should be grateful and get on with it.
Nope. Sometimes when what we have longed for eventually arrives we can still struggle. Perhaps it is not what we expected, perhaps when we finally get there, we are exhausted.
Everyone else’s baby is sleeping except mine.
No…chances are lots of babies are not sleeping very well. It is just part of the motherhood myth that a lot of us buy into that we must appear to be ‘doing it right’ and that includes baby’s sleep.
There’s a right way to mother.
Not really, there is the way that suits you and your baby, and your family. You won’t be short of people giving advice on how to do it, though! (Hint: Humming one of favourite your songs quietly, visualising a shield around you and paying no attention works well here!)
A good mum puts everyone else first.
Hmm, but at what cost? And is this really sustainable? Chances are you will burn out and end up unwell. You’ve probably heard that old cliché but it is so true: “Healthy mum, healthy baby”.
And, watch out for common thinking ‘traps’…
- I don’t feel as happy as I should do after my baby has come along.
A lot of women find the mix of emotions they experience after giving birth and in the early days and months of having a baby, quite overwhelming and overpowering.
- What’s wrong with me? – is it the baby blues, or Post Natal Depression, or what?
Although a birth is usually perceived in our society as a joyous and celebratory occasion, there are often a whole host of other emotions going on too. Often women talk to me about how they feel they “should” be reacting and when they don’t feel this way, this often make them question themselves. Doubt creeps in and women start to wonder if they are really suited to, or up for the job.
- It is a huge adjustment.
Yes, there is a new beginning but there is also loss – perhaps loss of the person you once were, loss of freedom, loss of the relationship you had with your partner prior to the birth, loss of finances and more.
Or you may be doing it on your own, which presents its own set of challenges.
- This is okay, and normal.
The more you embrace and accept these thoughts, the easier they will become to cope with. It is my experience that when mums become caught up in the ‘shoulds’ or a lot of the myths around mothering, that they experience difficulty.
This coupled with lack of sleep, the physical toll on your body and the pressure it often puts your relationship under, can take a toll on our mental health.
The best thing you can do…
Start talking; start sharing. I provide a safe, confidential space where you can discuss what’s on your mind. If you need to bring your baby, that’s fine. Or if a phone call suits you better, let me know.