Posted by in Blog, Emotional wellness, Life as a mom, Mother, Posts for mommies-to-be, Rebecca

New Mama Myths

NEW MAMA MYTHS

By Timara Freeman-Young

Myth

Mothers fall in love with their babies upon first sight.

Truth

There is a wide range of reactions that mothers have upon meeting their baby on the outside for the first time. Some birth mothers have a rush of warmth and elation. However, surprise is the feeling most commonly reported by mothers upon seeing their child for the first time. It is not unusual for it to take days or weeks for a mother to feel love for her new child.

Myth

Breastfeeding is easy and painless

Truth

While some new mother/baby pairs have early and easy success with nursing, a great number of them require some support and/or skill building before breastfeeding becomes secondhand. It’s normal and expected to need some lactation consultation so set yourself up for success by knowing who you’re going to call ahead of time. Also, in the interest of full disclosure, breastfeeding can be painful in the beginning (though the pain DOES go away within days or weeks). Most women report a deep enjoyment of the act of breastfeeding once they and their babies have adjusted to the new skills.

Myth

Babies sleep

Truth

Some babies do, most don’t. Hence the 3 zillion “how to get your baby to sleep” parenting books. It would probably make more sense for someone to write a “how to survive without much sleep for the first year” book since that is the more likely scenario for most new parents. If your baby wakes up after every 40 minute sleep cycle or has confused day and night, know that you are in the norm. There are many great books to read written by authors with diverse parenting values so you’ll likely find one that works for you and yours. But remember that babies have very different sleep patterns from adults and that any behavior change takes time and patience (including with oneself).

Myth

It’s lazy to lie around after the birth. “I should be doing something.”

Truth

First, a reminder, you ARE doing something. In fact, you’re doing a lot of things. Most of them new and all of them in a somewhat altered state. Congratulations!

Some new mothers are compelled to return to their “normal” routine or to get out in the world soon after their baby is born. Others are content to snuggle in bed with baby for days. If it feels healthy and good for mommy and baby to get out of the house then by all means, get some fresh air. Kick your heels up (with doctor/midwife approval, of course)! But remember that, in the grand scheme of things, you are doing a huge amount by caring for your infant and yourself as you go through this gigantic adjustment period. If you want (and are able) to stay in bed for 3 weeks then dig in and catch as many zzzzs as you can.

Myth

Parents (especially mothers) will instinctively know how to parent

Truth

While the act of becoming a parent may seem sudden (especially for partners who don’t have the physiological 9.5 month transition period), it can take months or years to discover who you are as a parent. Some new parents move into parenting quickly and seamlessly while others do so more gradually. Faced with decision upon decision, new parents may find themselves reflecting on their own parents’ choices and decisions, looking to friends and family, or searching through books for insights on how to best parent their child. Many parents (especially the primary caregiver) benefit from a close community of other mothers and caregivers to gain support, ideas, and companionship during this time, either in the form of family, friend groups, or programs structured for new parents. Even if you’re a do-it-yourself kind of gal, now’s the time to find some other DIYers to sort it out with.

Myth

Parents will be in a state of bliss and have only fond feelings for their new child

Truth

Being a parent, especially if you haven’t done it before, can be really frustrating at times. While some new parents feel like having a newborn is joyful and fun, it is perfectly normal to feel frustration, sadness, jealousy, and/or anger about your new situation or this new member of your family. 10-20% of mothers experience postpartum depression and a number of fathers struggle emotionally with the adjustment to parenthood. If you’re feeling blessed as a new parent, then celebrate your good fortune, if you’re feeling not so blissed, know that your day will come and remember to be kind to yourself and ask for help.

Thanks to Penny Simkin for sharing this article.

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