This post is taken from my podcast series on Becoming a Mother. If you prefer to listen, the podcast episode is below. Otherwise, continue reading!
This post is coming to you much, much, much later than I intended because of the topic: Becoming a Mother. My head, heart, and schedule have been dedicated to being present for my son. And I will admit, this subject is still a raw spot for me and I’ve looked for just about any excuse to ignore this topic.
Becoming a Mother
See, I’m procrastinating again… But you’re reading this now, so I’ve managed to make it through. I ended up having so much to share with you, that I’ve decided to turn this into a series. Starting with the Birth of a Mother in this post, then Pregnancy, Labor, and Delivery. An entire episode dedicated to the Postpartum Period and finishing up by talking about becoming a mother.
I have found it very therapeutic to pour myself into this series for you. It may be long overdue but it will not be lacking any love or any content. I’m infusing that intention into this series for you. Whether you are pregnant and looking for advice, a new mom wanting to relate, or just here because you are curious. Here is my love and light.
The Good and The Bad
Becoming a mother is one of the most challenging, yet most amazing things you can do. Motherhood changes you, there is no doubt about that. It changes you physically, sure. But also mentally and emotionally. Who you are at the core will forever be changed. It will make you question everything and make you realize you know nothing.
But it will also fill your heart with more love than you ever thought possible. And bring more joy into your life than you could ever imagine. Motherhood is beautiful. It is rewarding. Yes, it turns your entire world upside down. But you will realize that your world was actually upside down to begin with – this baby just turned it right-side-up for you.
Welcome to Motherhood
This series is for all of my new moms and moms-to-be. We are talking about becoming a mother. It’s going to be beautiful, it’s going to be raw, and above all, it is going to be real. Yes, we are going to talk about the challenges, but this is not meant to scare you. It is meant to prepare you, inspire you, and give you something to relate to if you are already going through it.
We are also going to talk about the beautiful parts of motherhood. Those are the parts that mean the most. They make it worth every sleepless night and showerless day. Preparing yourself for the challenges will just make it that much easier to appreciate those good moments. And there will be plenty of them, trust me.
The Birth of a Mother
There is an incredible book by Daniel N Stern and Nadia Bruschweiler-Stern called The Birth of a Mother. It is all about how the motherhood experience changes you. I read it while I was pregnant and it completely shifted my focus. Up until then, I had been spending all of my time researching the baby’s growth and transitions through pregnancy, which is great. But it allowed no time to focus on my growth or my transitions.
You are giving birth to your baby, but also a new identity for yourself – a new life on both accounts. There is so much focus on the baby, but not enough on the mother. As an example, most pregnant women can expect to have between 8-14 prenatal visits. And those same women will likely only have 2 visits postpartum. There are many things that can go wrong and unnoticed after those two visits, especially for first-time moms.
I am currently dealing with unknown health concerns around 6 months postpartum. These were symptoms that I brushed aside as normal postpartum symptoms. Like hair-loss and tension headaches from breastfeeding. My husband convinced me to schedule an appointment, which I truly thought would be pointless. The doctor ordered blood work and was very surprised to see that my hormone levels were off.
We are still testing and hoping to have more answers soon, but imagine if I hadn’t gone in? I just think about how many other women are in the same position, not offered additional care, and not seeking it out. Because they are first-time moms and think what they are experiencing is just normal for a sleep-deprived, baby-carrying, postpartum mom.
Medical Support for Mothers
Not having proper care or support can make the transition into motherhood more challenging. And not only for health concerns, but also to screen for postpartum depression. Sure, that concept is starting to become a standard component of well-child care visits but your child’s pediatrician is not there to dive deeper into your problems.
You need a physician focusing on you, and only you, during this time. Because of all of this lack of care, you aren’t as prepared for what is to come and you aren’t allowing any time or energy to be spent on helping yourself through it.
Self Care Isn’t Selfish
It may seem selfish to focus on yourself when you feel like all of your time, energy, and attention should go to your baby. But it is not selfish to work on yourself. This will only allow you to be a more present, understanding, and caring mother. Taking care of yourself will mean you are able to mother in a more healthy manner.
By not taking time to care for yourself, you are only setting yourself up to experience guilt, shame, and feelings of failure. There will be times you will put your baby’s needs before your own, absolutely. But you shouldn’t just throw yours out of the window or pretend they don’t exist.
Mom guilt prevents us from admitting what is really going on underneath the surface. We feel the need to keep this perfect mask on and keep these perfect Instagram pictures on our feed. By denying your own reality, you are only breeding more silence and shame. There are so many moms out there experiencing a lot of these difficult but very human emotions. And it’s my goal to help normalize this conversation.
I hope that this series is able to meet you where you are today and offer you some comforting support, regardless of where you are at in your journey of motherhood. Check out the next part of the Becoming a Mother series – Pregnancy, Labor, and Delivery.
You’ve Got a Friend in Me
Check out these articles:
- What No One Tells You About Pregnancy
- Pregnancy, Labor, and Delivery – Becoming A Mother Series
- Journal Prompts for Self-Discovery
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