We’ve heard endless tales of the joys and struggles of motherhood. You probably have memories of your mom telling you how difficult it was to bring you into this world, and you’ve probably seen a nauseating amount of your friends’ social media posts detailing their experience. And yet, there aren’t enough anecdotes, mom blogs, and baby books that can prepare you for your own journey into motherhood.
While there are many things about motherhood that are universal, no two pregnancies are exactly the same. Some are easier than most, while others can be extremely risky and difficult. Along with this, there are other things women should know before embarking on this journey:
1. Pregnancy is Painful, and That’s OK
Pregnancy is a precious, pure, and beautiful thing. But it can also be a nightmare as you inch into labor all the way to delivery. The pain can be so intense, especially for those with a low pain threshold. When recounting the pain, many new mothers tend to follow up the harrowing story with a sunnier “but it’s all worth it” addendum. But know that it’s totally OK to complain about the pain you experienced. It doesn’t make you less of a mother, and it surely doesn’t take away from how much you’re willing to withstand for your child. The good news is there are classes you can take, like the Lamaze technique and Bradley method, to help you cope with the pain better.
2. The Baby Books Aren’t Always Accurate
Your baby is an individual with unique needs and traits. Many rookie moms tend to follow the baby books to the letter and end up being frustrated that things aren’t working as expected. This is because baby books only serve as a guide and not a rulebook. Your baby will most likely give you little cues and signals. So pay attention to what he/she needs and how they react to the new world around her. Listen to your instincts, as well. And if something goes wrong and you don’t know what else to do about it, bring it up with your pediatrician. Consulting baby books for problems is equivalent to seeking medical advice from WebMD or Mayo Clinic.
3. Breastfeeding is Tough
Breastfeeding your baby is a wonderful thing, but get ready to experience sore breasts or nipples that can be painful and uncomfortable. More often than not, pain during nursing is caused by your baby not properly latching. When this happens, lift your baby with the head tilted back and chin up and keep adjusting until you get a deep latch. The nipple should rest just above the baby’s upper lift. When your baby’s mouth opens very wide, scoop your breast and place it on your baby’s lower jaw first. Then move your baby’s head forward and place the upper jaw behind your nipple. If you do this and still find your nipples cracked or blistered, a yeast infection is a potential culprit. In this case, it’s time for a visit to the doctor.
4. Pregnancy Discrimination is a Thing
Women face all sorts of discrimination, and sadly, one of which involves bringing a human being into the world. This is especially true for working-class pregnant women. Some people view pregnant co-workers as weak and incapable of performing well at work, while some employers would discriminate against pregnant women because of the costs and accommodations involved. Some employers would go as far as not hiring pregnant women for the sole reason that they are pregnant. If you’re experiencing this, seek help from a pregnancy discrimination attorney as soon as possible and keep records of evidence to support your claim.
5. You Need All the Help You Can Get
It does take a village to raise a baby. And this is true regardless of where you live and who you are as a person. Even if you grew to be a strong, independent woman, you would need every bit of help you can get from your hubby, parents, in-laws, siblings, friends, and even your neighbors. They will be the ones to lift you up when you’re sad and tired. They will carry your baby for you when you’re too tired. They will look after the little one whenever you need to take that needed spa day. More importantly, they will help you make the world a better place for your little bundle of joy.
6. It’s Gonna Get Messy and Complicated
From huge amounts of poop and scary hospital trips to sleepless nights and arguments with dad, raising a baby for the first time can be a rollercoaster ride. Keep in mind that this is normal. If you think you suck at it and it feels like all those Instagram or blogger moms are laughing at you, don’t get too frustrated. More often than not, these famous moms are just leaving out the ugly details of their life (like everyone else online). What you see on social media can pressure you to be a perfect mom. The thing is, even the ugly parts of motherhood are beautiful, so embrace that you suck because you can be awesome at it at the same time.
7. Your House Will Never Look the Same
Babies are little bundles of energy. And as they start to stretch those little limbs, they will run around your house and destroy anything they can get their hands on. They will draw on your walls, spill food on your sofa, crumple your paperwork, and clutter the house with toys. You’re going to miss that organized living room and relaxing oasis of a bathroom unless you obsess about cleaning up after your kid all the time. But sometimes, you need to let go and just let your house be messy for a bit to ease the stress.
Keep in mind that motherhood is not a race. Even veteran moms can have oversights and missteps, as well, because moms are only human after all. The important thing is that you learn as you go and know what’s best for your little one.
For more great parenting advice, check out the other blogs on Cyber Parent.