Life With Baby Fact vs Fiction

My office has a revolving door. Or so it sometimes seems. Many fresh, young faces enter my office, ripe with anticipation at the prospect of “motherhood.” Months later, those same faces return, no longer fresh, no longer vibrant, and baby in tow. What went wrong?

The Conflict
Unwittingly, we approach the transition to motherhood with preconceived notions. For a fortunate few, these notions are laced with a dose of reality. For the rest of us, however, the prospect of motherhood is bathed in a fictional glow of beauty, serenity and contentment. And then reality strikes!

The problem is not what motherhood really is or isn’t. Instead, it is the discrepancy between what we expect, and what we ultimately get. And when it doesn’t turn out as we had imagined, we are left with feelings of confusion, guilt and inadequacy. Add to this mix routine hormonal changes and sleep deprivation, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster!

So let’s begin by sorting out fact from fiction. Here are just a few of the motherhood fantasies we embrace:

Fiction:

The baby will bring my partner and me closer together.
I have been successful in other endeavors, so motherhood will be easy.
I will have a perfect, flawless infant.
I will instinctively know what to do with my baby.
I’ll be the kind of mom I never had.
This baby will make me complete.
Time off from work with my infant will seem like a vacation!
Sound familiar? Well here’s reality:

Fact:

Loss of control — Your baby’s needs are immediate. You can’t say to her, “I’ll get back to you later.”
Feelings of helplessness — We don’t instinctively know what to do with our baby, and we’re dreadfully afraid of doing the wrong thing!
Effect on physical well-being — Our bodies undergo dramatic changes due to pregnancy and delivery, most of which are unappealing to us. The first few months involve sleep-deprivation and in many cases, breast-feeding, both of which are physically and emotionally challenging.
Impact on relationship with partner — Now you will have less time together than ever! And your sex life is likely to dwindle. It will take significant effort to re-create the romance you once shared.

Well, how bleak does all of this sound? Fortunately, taking the following steps will allow you to survive, and even enjoy your life as a new mom:

The Resolution

Set yourself up for realistic expectations:
Expect to have ambivalent feelings about motherhood — it’s normal.

Educate yourself so that your expectations will be reality-based. Read, take a class, or speak with friends who will provide a realistic picture of life after baby.
Plan ahead for a life in addition to your role as Mom:
Know who your support network will be.

Line up trusted childcare so that you will get healthy breaks from mothering, and return to the job refreshed. Schedule time for just you and your partner. “Care and feeding” of the relationship will keep it on a healthy, happy track.

Encourage your partner to be fully involved in caring for your child. If you let him know you trust his instincts and desire his input, he will naturally pitch in.
Even if the stork has arrived, it’s not too late to start following these steps. When you do, you will start to experience motherhood as a rewarding, satisfying time of life, and one you will always cherish.

March 12th, 2012 - Posted in Health Care | | Comments Off

Comments are closed.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.