In these 40 weeks of pregnancy, you’re not only planning and preparing for your baby’s arrival, but you’re also dreaming about your life and your expectations as a mom. But watch out, because after childbirth, those fantasies may not match reality! Here, we’ll help you debunk some common myths about childbirth and motherhood, so you know what to expect and can be calm and relaxed when you have your baby in your arms.
Myth 1: When you bring your baby home, you’ll be the happiest person in the world.
Of course, you’ll be happy, but you may also feel exhausted and even anxious. You might feel like crying. It’s completely normal, your body is going through a hormonal whirlwind. The first few months with your baby might feel more like military training than a vacation. But don’t worry! If life isn’t exactly as you planned, we promise that with time, experience, and your baby’s growth, things will calm down.
Myth 2: When your baby is born, it will be love at first sight.
Some moms don’t feel an instant and strong love for their babies at first, and that’s okay. To fall in love with someone, you need to get to know them, and since it’s the first time you’re seeing your baby, it will take time. Love and affection will come in due course, so don’t pressure yourself if you don’t feel that love at first sight.
Myth 3: Breastfeeding is a piece of cake if you do it right.
Although it’s natural, breastfeeding can be challenging. At first, your baby may have difficulty latching properly, or you might experience uterine contractions or sore nipples. Try different breastfeeding positions and don’t hesitate to consult a certified lactation expert if you have problems feeding your baby.
Myth 4: I have to take care of everything.
Some moms put too much pressure on themselves and think they should be super moms taking care of the baby, their partner, and the house 24/7. But that’s a big lie! Everyone needs help. As the saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child,” and no mom should raise her child alone. If you need rest, ask for help from your partner, and if your family offers help, accept it! Doing everything on your own will lead to exhaustion. Make sure to ask for help when you need it.
Myth 5: My needs no longer matter.
Your needs are just as important as before. You may not have as much time as before, but dedicating a few minutes to yourself, whether it’s taking a hot bath or taking a nap while your partner takes care of the baby, will help you feel better. Taking care of yourself and attending to your needs will make you feel more at ease and respond better when you’re with your child. Remember, a happy mom equals a happy baby.
Myth 6: As a mom, I should always know why my baby is crying and how to soothe them.
Learning to interpret your baby’s crying takes time. As you get to know your baby better, you’ll know if they’re crying because they’re hungry, tired, need a diaper change, want to be held, or simply crying without an apparent reason. It’s normal to sometimes not know the reason. Take a deep breath and check each of your little one’s needs (food, sleep, diaper, gas, temperature, hugs, etc.) and attend to each one until your baby calms down. Also, remember that many babies cry inconsolably at some point during the day. That’s normal, and if you can’t calm them, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom. Seek help during this period, and remember that it’s temporary.
These six myths and any other false expectations or fantasies about motherhood can lead to a lot of anxiety, stress and even depression. Get rid of those beliefs before your baby is born! Trust your abilities and don’t be too hard on yourself. You and your baby will learn to adapt to your new life, you as a mom, and your baby living outside the womb. Be aware of your fantasies and let go of any thoughts that aren’t helpful or make you doubt yourself. No book can compete with your intuition and knowledge of the dynamics you have with your baby. Don’t raise your baby strictly following a manual, that’s doomed to fail. Instead, tune in to your little one and their needs, and little by little, day by day, you’ll learn how to be a mom!