Here are 11 things you probably did not know about motherhood but are very common
1. You might not have that Instant connection with your baby
During pregnancy, we all imagine the moment you get to hold your newborn for the very first time. It must be magical, the love, the snuggles. But not every new mother has an immediate bond with their your newborn baby. And even though you are instinctively caring for your little one in the best way, it can take time until a certain feeling of attachment kicks in. This is absolutely normal and can take several days to even a few months.
I had this experience with my baby girl. After birth, I was all high from love, but once we came home, anxiety took over. And it took me about 3 months until I felt a deep connection to my baby.
There are many things you need to get used to, from lifestyle changes to the lack of sleep, not to mention hormonal imbalance. Unfortunately, postpartum depression, baby blues, and anxiety can intensify this experience. You have a lot on your plate, and this can sometimes contribute to making the process of bonding longer. Never feel guilty about it. You will see that your attachment will grow.
If you struggle with your mental health, never hesitate to contact a medical professional.
2. You will be insecure about what you are doing
There is no user manual for becoming a parent, and we are certainly not born knowing how to take care of children. I truly believe in mother instincts and our biological urges to protect our little ones. But I also believe that moms grow together with their children. Nothing compares and prepares you really to be a parent, not even the best parenting book. You will always have doubts and second thoughts about your parenting style and choices. But you will learn everything along the way. You will get to know your children by the day and adapt. You will learn what works for your family and what doesn't. You may even regret certain things. You will have days where you are completely confident, and you will have days where you feel like everything is out of control. Sometimes you know all the answers, and sometimes you just google google google all day long. Mom life is filled with complicated emotions but believe me, there is no such thing as a mom that always knows what she is doing even if they try hard on social media.
3. Your sleep will change forever
This is probably the toughest change mothers have to adjust to during early motherhood. You may read this as a new mom and wonder when you will ever sleep again. And I want to comfort you and tell you that you will get there. There will be a time when you will be able to sleep, but it won't be the same anymore. You will probably especially lack sleep during the first few years. There are sleep regressions, night feeds, teething, illness, nightmares. And sometimes, there is nothing but a child that needs comfort. And even if your little one sleeps through the night your mom instincts work 24/7. So as long as your children live under your roof, no matter what age they are, you will always sleep with one eye open and one ear hearing everything going on in your home. I sleep with earplugs, but I hear my kids the second they call for me. Getting used to this new sleep situation is tough in the beginning, but it is amazing how our bodies adjust to new situations. And hopefully, you will also learn to cope.
4. You will do things you said you would never do as a parent
This is me 100%. And if I could smack the pre-kids me, I definitely would. I had so many ideas about what I would and wouldn't do as a parent. Today, I would call it the biggest comedy ever written in the history of humankind.
But we are all just human, and everyone has some preconceptions about parenting even though you might not have children yet. It is definitely good to have principles, but sometimes you will just throw them out of the window and get into survival mode. That's just how it is, and it's ok. Do I have days where my kids have too much screen time? You bet. Do they always get a nice warm home-cooked evening meal? No, because they had a ton of snacks, and it seems like a pretty good opportunity to skip dinner.
Parenting is hard, and you adapt to the situation you have. Don't feel guilty about it. Whether it is the candy bar before dinner or giving them your phone so you can get ready. Sometimes sanity comes first!
5. You will constantly worry
For me personally, this is the hardest part of parenthood- constantly worrying about my children. You worry about your little ones all the time. When they cough for just one single time, and you pray that they will be spared from a nasty cold. You worry when they start daycare if they will adjust. You worry during kindergarten if they will make friends. The mommy brain never stops worrying about them.
You will wonder what hardships your little baby will have to overcome during their life. You will feel their every hurt and suffer with them so much it all makes your heart crunch inside. But that is part of being a parent. With great love come great worries.
6. You will have intrusive thoughts
Besides constantly worrying about your little one, you may also experience intrusive thoughts. You will think of the craziest things happening to your baby. I know it sounds really scary and terrifying, but intrusive thoughts are not uncommon in parents. Those scary thoughts can be, for example, thinking about dropping the baby, the stroller running into the street full of cars (this was mine for a very long time), or thinking your baby will stop breathing.
You may feel guilty or ashamed of having thoughts about your baby being hurt. But it doesn't mean you are a bad mom. Every parent will experience these intrusive thoughts to a certain extent. They still pop up in my head every now and then. And even though it can be very uncomfortable to tell someone like a friend or your partner about those thoughts, it will most definitely help you get it out of your chest. Believe me, you are not alone.
If you are constantly having intrusive thoughts, it can be a sign of postpartum depression or anxiety. In that case, you should look for professional help.
7. Your baby's nap time is more important than anything in the world
Have you ever rolled your eyes at a friend who said she couldn't meet because her baby was napping? Well, I know I have. And as soon as I had my first baby, I immediately regretted being so judgemental. Naptime is holy for us and will not be sacrificed for anyone or anything under any circumstances. I need this time for myself. I don't want to be on the phone or, god forbid, meet with anybody. I want to be alone in complete silence. And that's ok! If you don't want to sacrifice nap time, you don't have to. It's your right to do what you want during this sacred hour. Don't ever feel the need or guilt to give it up. Keep this precious time for yourself doing whatever you want.
8. You will neglect yourself and have to learn self-care all over
The moment my first bug arrived, I started to neglect myself completely. Things I did automatically out of habit, like showering in the morning and getting ready, seemed impossible. As a mom, you have this pressure that you have to be a mother first, and if there is any time left (which there never is), then maybe you can attend to yourself.
We want to create this idealized version of a mother that no woman can keep up with. And by doing this, we feel like we have not only given up all of our time but our identity as well. Yes, motherhood comes with sacrifices, but it doesn't mean you have to give yourself up. Motherhood is now a lifetime job of yours, and it is more important than ever to understand that you not only are a priority as well but that your non-mom-identity needs to be nourished as well.
Along the way, you will learn to manage your feelings, take back control, and take care of yourself. You will have to learn that it's ok to spend some time away from your child and ask for help.
9. You will get annoyed by your own kids
As adorable as you will find your kids, there will be times you are feeling annoyed by them at the same amount. And you will roll your eyes at them BIG TIME. Your toddler has one tantrum after another, your baby wants to be carried all day long, or your kid is clinging to you non-stop. You are counting the hours until bedtime because you just want them to be quiet.
There are plenty of reasonable causes for wanting a break from your children. The relationship with young children is so intense, it's only natural that you will need time to yourself. It is part of every parent-child relationship.
10. You don't remember life before them
There is not one parent I know that has not asked themselves what they have been doing all this time before they had kids. With parenthood being your new reality, you not only completely forget how you spend life before having kids, but your perception of time completely changes as well. Sometimes days will feel incredibly long, and you are staring at the watch and waiting for bedtime. Other times, you can't believe how fast time flies and just want it to stop. Either way, now you cannot imagine life without them.
11. Your kids will love you endlessly, more than anything in the world
Everyone will tell you that you will love your child like nothing else in this world. But did they ever tell you that your child will love you endlessly and even more? Unconditionally and with their whole heart and soul. They are pure love. They will always prefer you over anything and anyone else. There is nothing better for them than being with you. You are their rock and give them strength and security. They love you when you get mad, they love you when you have a good or a bad day, they love you all the time. Can we even grasp how big this kind of love is? Isn't it a great feeling when someone loves you this much and never gets enough of you? When have you felt like this the last time towards another person? Because even though I love my family to death, there are moments I want to be alone. They never have these moments. So think about it, how huge must their love for you be?