Motherhood Expectations vs. Reality
When you become a new mother, a whole new world is thrown upon you. You are immersed in a world of dirty nappies, constant feeding and nights of endless sleep deprivation. It is only after you become a new mum that you realise you had all these underlying expectations of what motherhood would be like. Needless to say that, unfortunately, the reality does not quite live up to them.
Examples of New Motherhood Expectations versus Reality
Expectation #1: My birth will go smoothly and I’ll have no recollection of it afterwards.
Reality: You’ll have at least on intervention during the birth (if not more), your birth plan will most likely go out the window, and you’ll basically remember everything (but it’ll be worth it!).
Expectation #2: You will absolutely fall in love with and adore you baby straight away.
Reality: You’ll be too exhausted to know what’s going on and will most likely be wondering who the (very cute) alien-looking tiny human is.
Expectation #3: You’ll be so loved up that the complete life change won’t worry you.
Reality: You’ll be exhausted. Your boobs will hurt. You will cry. All of this is normal, and doesn’t reflect your level of love for baby whatsoever!
Expectation #4: Breastfeeding will be an amazing bonding experience.
Reality: It can be painful, exhausting and very time consuming. Plus everyone will see your boobs.
Expectation #5: The baby will be perfect and I’ll spend every day drinking coffees at cafes while my bub sleeps.
Reality: They will scream and cry the whole time. You will however drink infinite amounts of coffee – that WILL happen!
Expectation #6: My baby will sleep through the night by 6 months and will ALWAYS sleep through the night (every night).
Reality: Even if they DO sleep through the night, every night is NOT guaranteed and there will always be nights where you have to get up.
Expectation #7: Feeding my baby will be simple and easy – they need to feed right?
Reality: Nope. Feeding is not easy. Sometimes baby will reject the food. Sometimes they won’t latch on properly. Sometimes it will hurt. Sometimes baby will cry. Sometimes you will cry. And then when you get to solids, it’s a WHOOOOOOLE other ball game.
Expectation #8: There’ll always be a reason why baby is upset, and I’ll know what it is.
Reality: WHO KNOWS?! They cry when they’re hungry, full, tired, overtired, have a full nappy, when they are hot, cold, feel sick, have a “wonder week” or because they just feel like it.
Coping with the Reality of Motherhood
While these realities are funny in hindsight, at the time they can be stressful, exhausting and upsetting. What was supposed to be a loving, nurturing, monumental occasion can be downright deflating. So how can new mothers cope with these tensions to their new life?
- Self Care: It is a word you will hear a lot of when becoming a new mum, but it is important. Taking time out for yourself as a mum will help you to relax, re-energise and get ready for what baby will throw at you (literally!). A bath, a walk around the block, or a quick Maccas drive-thru (yes, this was me – the Oreo McFlurry was totally worth it!) can give your mind a break from the endlessness of baby life and remind yourself that you are a person outside of the baby.
- Mum friends: Connecting with a great group of mum friends can help you to share in the highs and lows of motherhood, and will help you to laugh over the realities of motherhood that none of you were quite expecting. Join your local mother’s group, playgroup, mums + bubs fitness class, local Babes + Picnics group, or library baby session.
- Extended support network: Having family and friends come over to cuddle baby, bring over meals or wash the dishes (yes I had a lovely friend do this!) can really help as you adjust to this new transition in life. It really makes the realities of motherhood a lot more bearable and, as time goes on, enjoyable!
- When all else fails… Endless amounts of caffeine (or if you aren’t breastfeeding, Wine!)
How did you cope with the realities of motherhood? Where they different to your motherhood expectations?
Grab your free set of positive affirmations below and pop around the house – this constant positive reminder will help fill your cup with happiness and positivity.
Wishing you all a wonderful day and if you’re struggling with your own motherhood expectations or looking for arts and craft ideas for your kids head over to the Finlee and Me blog as it’s filled with a variety of craft ideas, recipes, mental health related articles and more.
About the Author
Fi Morrison is a first-time mum to her beautiful, 5-month old baby boy. She is a trained primary school teacher and a (new) small-business owner. Fi blogs over at Mumma Morrison about all things motherhood-related, particularly life as a new mum, with recipes and activities for babies and kids coming soon to her (newly updated) blog.