You cannot fully prepare for motherhood but, I think there is wisdom in being well informed before becoming a mom (not that I was)! I practically winged it because our pregnancy was unplanned. Planned or not, motherhood is not a walk in the park. Even though your motherhood journey will be uniquely yours, I still believe that if you are informed about certain things, they make the transition to motherhood a little smooth. Here are then things I wish I knew before becoming a mother.
1. I should not bounce back; bounce forward.
Above is the definition of bouncing back. But here’s the thing; pregnancy is not a problem it is a blessing! Therefore, release yourself from the pressure of bouncing back. I wish I knew this before becoming a mother because it would have saved me from hating my body. Embrace and celebrate your body, and pursue weight loss and fitness from a place of self-love and self-acceptance.
2. Other Moms face the challenges that I face.
New mom struggles are real! From fatigue to learning, to take care of the baby to feeding the baby, etc. It can be so easy to think that you are the only one facing challenges. I thought I was the only one and kept quiet in shame because I felt like I was failing as a mom. Connect with other moms and share your journey authentically and remember that you are not the only one!
3. My Fantasy baby is not my real baby.
When I was pregnant, I daydreamed about the kind of baby I wanted to have, from looks to personality traits to gender and behavior. However, my beautiful daughter was nothing like my fantasy baby. I was initially disappointed but, I adjusted my attitude. I do wish I had known that I should not have unrealistic expectations.
4. When the baby is born, the mother is born too.
“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed but the mother, never. A mother is something new”. – Osho
I wish I knew that becoming a mother is a transformation that can redirect our livelihood. Our relationships, our dreams, and our values. Knowing this would have helped to be gracious towards me as a new mom. I wanted to know it all, do it all, and be it all. I would have taken baby steps and allowed myself to enjoy every milestone of new motherhood.
5. I should have a postpartum plan.
A postpartum plan is a plan to make the first few weeks after the baby less hectic. Can you believe that I only found out about it this year, six years into motherhood! Let me know if you knew about it before or after becoming a mother. The first few weeks (months) were hectic for me. Basic things like showering, eating, sleeping, and cleaning a house were a mission to get done. Knowing about the postpartum plan would have helped me plan for that.
6. It is okay to take care of myself as a mom.
Raise your hand if you have ever wanted time away from your newborn baby but kept quiet because of guilt. I did! It made me feel like I was selfish, but now I know that self-care allows me to rest and refuel to be a better mother.
7. The transition to motherhood has a name – it is called Matrescence!
The term Matrescence was thought of by Dana Raphael in 1973 because of how similar it is to adolescence. I wish I had known about Matrescence before becoming a mother because it would have given me language. I would have known that all the weirdness I felt as I transitioned into motherhood was not weird after all.
8. I do not have to choose between my dreams and being a good mom.
I felt unfulfilled by motherhood. I loved being a mom, but I wanted more. However, I felt inadequate, especially in the first year of motherhood, where I felt like I was not good enough as a mom. My confidence decreased, and I found myself thinking that I would never be able to pursue my dreams; it felt like I would be choosing to abandon my daughter and her wellbeing if I decided to pursue my dreams while raising her. Now I know that you can chase your dreams and still be a good mother – I learned later that I am a better mother when I stay in pursuit of my dreams.
9. My relationship with my partner would change.
Having children changes your schedule radically. Caring for a new baby can be very demanding and can take a toll on the marriage. I was not expecting parenting to be demanding to our relationship. Had I know this prior, I would have adjusted sooner and would have allowed our relationship to evolve as we both transitioned into our parenting zones.
10. It takes a village to raise a child.
When I gave birth to my daughter, you would have that my name was Miss I can do it all by myself because that is what I did. I thought that it was my daughter and it was my responsibility alone to raise her. As a result, I experienced burnout. Ask for and accept help from those around you.
These are the ten things that I wish I knew before becoming a Mom. I know that nothing can truly ever prepare you for motherhood. It is one of those experiences that you have to go through yourself; to be able to navigate it. However, I still believe that knowing these things and having people share their own experiences can be helpful. What do you wish you knew before having you became a mother?