Common Myths of Motherhood
Myth: A widely held but false belief or idea.
There are a number of misconceptions about parenting that exist in our culture; images and stories of happy moms, smiling babies, and magical moments fill the media and our minds. Many parents, new and veteran, come to parenting with certain expectations of themselves as parents and how parenting will look in their families. The reality is often quite different. And sometimes when expectations aren't met, and we are adjusting to a new reality, anxiety, depression, or other unwanted thoughts can catch us off guard. When this happens, remember: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Becoming a mother is the happiest time of your life.
New mothers can expect to experience a full range of emotions including joy and happiness, and also sadness, irritability, anxiety and anger. Adjusting to caring for a newborn is hard. It is normal and natural to love your baby and still dislike parts of parenthood.
Bonding with your baby will happen instantly and effortlessly.
While for some women this does happen quickly, most of the time bonding happens over time as mother and child grow together and learn each other's cues, wants, and needs. There is typically no magic moment at childbirth when an instant bond is formed, moreso a gradual growing of love and affection over time occurs.
Breastfeeding is natural, so it's easy.
There is an entire field and industry dedicated to helping mothers figure out breastfeeding for a reason...beause many, many moms find difficulties with it! Breastfeeding can be frustrating, painful, confusing, or just not feel right. It's also not for everyone. Successfully breastfeeding is not an indicator of someone's ability to parent.
Having a baby will bring a couple closer together.
The perinatal time is a period of huge role, responsibility and other adjustments for couples. It takes work to navigate different parenting values and approaches. Often this work comes with tension, frustration, and feelings of overwhelm that require a solid foundation of teamwork and understanding.
Asking for help is a sign of weakness.
It is NOT a sign of weakness to ask for help! Asking for help is a sign of strength, wisdom, and understanding of self. Letting supportive friends and family into your life is, as well as accepting help, prevents burn out and future resentment to those around you.
Mothering is intuitive and comes naturally.
While some seem to have a knack for it, for many, mothering is simply not instrinctive. Like any other profession, parenting requires skills to be learned and practiced, which takes time and hard work. Unfortunately, there is no manual that comes with a child. Mothering is learned over time...after many lessons have been learned and mistakes have been made.
You won't miss the life you had pre-baby.
False! It is completely normal to feel a sense of loss after having a baby; many things have been given up: freedom, independence, sleep, relaxation...the list goes on. It's important to talk about these things and recognize there are ways to incorporate what has been lost into your new role as a mom. They may look a little different, but your two roles can co-exist.
Putting your own needs before your family's is selfish.
Absolutely not. You can't take care of other people if you aren't taking care of yourself. Unfortunately, self-care and parenting don't often feel like two things that can co-exist in our lives. But pursuing your own desires and interests is imperative in being a good mom and partner.
It took so long to become a parent - now I need to enjoy every single minute of motherhood.
Bringing a healthy baby into the world is a beautiful thing, especially after you've been told it wouldn't happen, or have experienced loss. However, that doesn't mean all the realities of parenting go away. The same feelings and frustrations of parenting exist for you just like every other parent. You can be extremely grateful for your child and also feel symptoms of anger, depression, anxiety, etc. at the same time.
Good moms like their kids all the time.
Is there anyone that you can like ALL the time? Our children develop personalities of their own, and just like adults, they are not always easy to get along with. We can still love our kids and also not like them at the same moment.