New Motherhood is a Joyful Experience-Most of the Time…
However, new motherhood also includes gloomy times of sadness, worry, frustration, guilt, fear, and anger.
To illustrate the experience of new motherhood,
let’s say you’re a roller coaster fanatic.
As far as you’re concerned the more steep drops, winding turns and going upside-down at a moment’s notice the better. Then you hit upon, Killer Of Dreams, the new roller coaster ride obsession. Of course, you buy a ticket however you have to wait 9 months before the ride debuts. Nine months is a long time, but it’s well worth the wait. In the meantime, you relish in thoughts of joyous anticipation of just how great riding Killer Of Dreams is going to be. Although at times the thought of riding the world scariest roller coaster is a bit unsettling, you stand strong because you’re just so darn HAPPY!
The day of New Motherhood finally arrives you’re strapped in and ready to go.
One little thing you didn’t realize is that riding the Killer Of Dreams is a lifetime commitment. There’s no getting off the darn thing.
Now that’s what I call a turmoil with all its ups, downs, twists and turns.
The Roller Coaster Ride of New Motherhood
By the same token, with the birth, of your child, dealing with the new shifts in your life is a whole new ball game. Your interests and concerns now are more with your mother and less of your father. You relate to your mother as a mother and less with your mother-as-woman or-wife. In addition, you’ll connect more with women than with men and you’ll focus, less on your career and more on personal growth and development. Also, your relationship with you husband changes as you begin evaluating his actions and behaviors in terms of being a father than the man you married and sexual partner.
How’s that for a list of disruptive new motherhood life changes?
The Life Changes and Challenges of New Motherhood
Once you become a mother you’re a different person. Specifically, your mindset shifts and you develop a new set of hopes, fears, and priorities. Being a new mom is more than a life transition for a woman. Becoming a mother is a transformation into a new identity. In fact, the process of becoming a mother changes the way you see yourself in the world. Furthermore, no matter what you thought defined you, your strengths, weaknesses, emotions, and beliefs, all vanish. You’re not the person you were prior to giving birth. It’s a phenomenon that’s unique to each one of you, yet shared by all new mothers.
Having baby changes …
what you think about
All of these changes are happening inside of you mind while outside, in your physical life, you are learning to handle an equally new set of tasks such as feeding, nurturing, playing with, putting to sleep, and beginning to love this new human being.
So how long can you expect to be on this new mother roller coaster ride?
Although this new you isn’t always the center of your universe, as I set at the top of the post, the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of being a mother last throughout a mother’s life. As your life moves along the life demands and your needs change, and the new motherhood mindset isn’t as strong as it once was. BUT, make no mistake, like cream in a cup of coffee, the new motherhood mind set will rise in an instant. For instance, when you child, no matter the age, is sick, in trouble or in danger. Whenever your child needs you in any way you will react as a mother.
Do you think I’m kidding? The next time you a mall or shopping at the grocery store and a child yells out, “MOM!” count how many women, young and old, with or without a child next to them, look up in alarm.
New Motherhood-The Birth Of A Mother
In The York Times article, The Birth of Mother, Alexandra Sacks M.D. reviews four key challenges that new mothers face.
Changing Family Dynamics: Having a baby is an act of creation. Pregnancy is more than creating a new human, it’s also creating a new family. Your baby is like a spark plug igniting the world and creating more intimate connections. But, more intimate connections means new stresses in a new mom’s closest relationships with her partner, siblings, and friends. In a way, a woman gets to re-experience her own childhood in the act of parenting, repeating what was good, and trying to improve what was not. If a woman had a difficult relationship with her mother, she may try to be the mother she wishes she’d had.
Ambivalence: The British psychotherapist Rozsika Parker wrote in “Torn in Two: The Experience of Maternal Ambivalence” about the pull and push of wanting a child close, and also craving space (physically and emotionally) as the normal wave of motherhood. Ambivalence is a feeling that comes up in the roles and relationships a person is most invested in because they’re always a juggling act between giving and taking. New motherhood is no exception. Part of why people have a hard time dealing with ambivalence is that it’s uncomfortable to feel two opposing things at the same time
Fantasy vs. Reality: As a pregnancy progresses, a woman creates a story about her make-believe child and becomes emotionally invested in that story A woman’s fantasies of pregnancy and motherhood are informed by her observations of the experiences of her own mother and other female relatives and friends and her community and culture. They may be powerful enough that reality disappoints if it doesn’t align with her vision.
Guilt, Shame and “The Good Enough Mother”: There’s also the ideal mother in a woman’s mind. She’s always cheerful and happy, and always puts her child’s needs first. She has few needs of her own. She doesn’t make decisions that she regrets. Most women compare themselves to that mother, but they never measure up because she’s a fantasy. Some women think that good enough is not acceptable because it sounds like settling. But striving for perfection sets women up to feel shame and guilt.
The Hidden Shame of New Motherhood
Too many women are ashamed to speak openly about their complicated experiences for fear of being judged. This type of social isolation may even trigger postpartum depression.
When women find themselves feeling lost somewhere between who they were before motherhood and who they think they should be now.
New Mothers Helping New Moms
In the April issue of Glamour magazine, the model Chrissy Teigen became the latest in a series of celebrities who announced her struggle with postpartum depression. She joined Adele, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brooke Shields and other prominent women who have used their platforms to call attention to this serious condition.
Postpartum depression is an underdiagnosed and undertreated public health issue that affects 10 to 15 percent of mothers. But many other mothers may still be struggling with the transition to motherhood.
Knowing the causes of distress and feeling comfortable talking about them with others is critical to growing into a well-adjusted mother. It will help new mothers and those around them to acknowledge that while postpartum depression is an extreme manifestation of the transition to motherhood, even those who do not experience it are undergoing a significant transformation.