|The 40 weeks of pregnancy not only allow you to plan and prepare for the arrival of your baby, but they also let your mind fantasize about life with a baby and your expectations on motherhood. This is perfectly normal, but it is important to remember that these fantasies might not match up with reality after birth. We would like to debunk some of the most common myths of childbirth and motherhood to help you feel grounded, calm and relaxed the moment your little bundle of joy arrives.
Myth 1: When you come home with your baby you’ll be the happiest you’ve ever been.
Sure, you will be very happy, but you’ll also be exhausted and maybe even a bit anxious. You might feel like crying too. This is completely normal and due to the hormonal adjustment in your body. The first couple months with your baby can feel more like boot camp than bliss. This is all part of a natural adjustment. Don’t worry if life is not quite as you expected, we promise that with time, experience and your baby’s growth and maturity things will settle down.
Myth 2: When your baby is born you’ll feel love at first sight.
Some moms don’t experience this rush of love straight away and this is perfectly normal. To fall in love, you need to know someone and you’ve just met your baby. Love and attachment will come with time, don’t pressure yourself if you don’t feel it right after birth.
Myth 3: If you do it correctly, breastfeeding is easy.
Breastfeeding although natural can be difficult for most women. It can take time for your baby to latch on correctly and at first you might experience some uterine contractions and nipple soreness. Take time to review breastfeeding positions, and don’t hesitate to contact a board-certified lactation consultant if you are having trouble establishing feedings.
Myth 4: I should be able to handle everything on my own.
Moms can sometimes place too much pressure on themselves thinking they should be supermoms who attend to their babies, partners and house 24/7. This cannot be farther from the truth. Everyone needs help. Just like the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child”, one should not care for an infant on their own. If you need a break have your partner lend you a hand. Try to sleep when the baby sleeps. If your family members are around and offer help, let them. Trying to do everything on your own can lead to burnout. Be sure to ask for help when needed.
Myth 5: My needs don’t matter.
Your needs are just as important now as they were before your baby was born. You might not have as much time as you did before, but taking some time for yourself, even if it is just a relaxing bath or a nap while your partner tends to your baby, can help you unwind and feel relaxed. By taking care of your needs you will be calmer and better able to respond to your little one’s needs. Remember a happy mom equals a happy baby.
Myth 6: As a mom, I should always be able to figure out why my baby is crying and be able to calm them down.
Learning to decipher why your baby cries takes time. As you get to know your baby you’ll begin to learn when your baby cries because they are hungry, tired, needs a diaper change, needs to be held or simply needs to cry. But it’s perfectly normal not to know why your baby cries most of the time. Take a deep breath and go over the list of needs: food, sleep, diaper, gas release, hot or cold, closeness, and try to satisfy each one until your little one settles. It’s important to remember that most babies have a period during the day when they cry inconsolably. This is completely normal and if you can’t settle them down it doesn’t mean you are a bad parent. Try to get some help if you can during this period of crying and remember that this will pass.
These six myths and all other unrealistic expectations and fantasies of what motherhood should be like can lead to depression. Get rid of these beliefs before your child is born. Trust yourself and be kind to yourself. You and your baby will learn to adapt to this new way of living, you as a mother and your baby by living outside the womb. Try to be mindful of your beliefs and let go of those that are useless or make you question your capacities. No book can ever compete with your intuition and knowledge of the dynamic between you and your baby. Don’t try to parent by the book, you’ll only set yourself up for failure. Instead, attune to your and your baby’s needs and, slowly but surely and day by day, you’ll get the hang of parenting.
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