There are many myths in motherhood, stories we tell ourselves or believe to be true and sometimes end up making us feel inadequate or defeated. Motherhood, like any stage in life, is fluid; a series of moments in time that change as we change, grow as we grow and can teach us more about ourselves than we ever thought we could learn. Really it’s more of a journey than anything, so learning happens as we travel through. Motherhood is a crazy, beautiful mess and sharing the realities of this experience can only make us stronger and more connected.
Towards the end of my second pregnancy I became very self-aware, aware of my weaknesses as a first time mom with my oldest son, aware of the reality that I would be taking on one of the hardest challenges of my life so far (taking care of two little ones under the age of two) and aware of the fact that I needed to be and stay positive throughout this new stage. I began thinking about some of the myths that made motherhood so difficult for me in the beginning and decided that I would share them because debunking those myths and sharing our stories is the only way we, as mothers, can build a community rather than competing.
Here are some of the myths I’ve decided to share and debunk:
- Having a baby is “love-at-first-sight”
Yes, I cried when both my children were born and yes I felt connected to them in a way that can only be described as love, but in all honesty the love for both of my children is one that continues to grow more and more each day. When they are first born you love them, but you don’t really know them yet. And let’s face it; birth is kinda crazy hard (with a lot of hormones floating around) so those feelings are a bit blurry if you can remember them. But I can say that with each passing day I fall in love with my little ones even more. So mamas don’t feel like you are not feeling what you “should be feeling” because the love you feel for your newborn doesn’t feel like enough. A good friend once said to me of my children, “can you believe how much you love them even more everyday?” It’s a beautiful thing getting to know your children and learning to love them more and more.
Your instincts will kick in and you will know exactly what to do
Ok so there are some things in motherhood that are “instinctual,” you get this weird feeling and just know. But to be completely honest, it is more of a hot mess than anything. There are many books, but also many babies, so sometimes (well most of the time) there is no textbook answer for the insanity that you are experiencing at 3:00am on a Wednesday. It really is a learn-as-you-go kind of experience, so once you embrace that and are able to blend the advice you’ve read/ been given with your child’s cues you will start to find a bit of a rhythm.
You will “get” this
At the risk of sounding mildly pessimistic I am going here. Yes, there will be stages that will start to make sense and you will unravel or let go enough that things seem to get easier, but motherhood is not a math equation that will eventually be solved. You really can’t crack this code. Motherhood is a fluid experience that is always changing, so inevitably the challenges you will face, as well as the beauty that comes along with them, will keep coming.
There are “types” of moms
For some strange reason we’ve decided that there are different “types” of moms. This begins to happen even before we become mothers, with our well thought-out birth plans that seem to define what “type” of mom we will be. In this way we’ve inevitably created a divide amongst ourselves. We’ve created: the “type” of mom that uses cloth diapers verses the “type” of mom who uses disposable ones, the “type” of mom who co-sleeps verses the “type” of mom who believes babies don’t belong in beds, the baby wearing mom, the stroller mom, the baby-lead-weaning mom, the baby-food-making mom. This list could go on forever, but I think you get my point. We tell ourselves we don’t want to be “that kind” of mother and negate so many choices that “those kinds” of mothers make. The funny thing about all of this is that you will inevitability become “that mom” at some point. And to be perfectly honest, we aren’t this kind or that kind of mom we are all just MOMS. Moms trying different things we hope will work for our babies and these choices shouldn’t define or divide us, but rather unite us in this crazy mess we call motherhood.
Motherhood marks the end of your dreams
When I was pregnant with my first son this thought came into my mind many times. I thought that anything I had dreamed of accomplishing prior to motherhood would no longer be possible. The funny thing is I think that fear actually pushed me to make the “dreams” I had otherwise put on hold for most of my “premotherhood” life come true. Motherhood does not mark the end of your “dreams,” in fact there is often so much creativity, and a whole lot of courage, that happens as a result of this new stage in life dreams sometimes come into being as a result.
So keep dreaming mamas!