We think of peer pressure stopping in high school, but it seems that the average adult is also more comfortable and content when they are more similar to those around them than when they are more different. Or at least most of us anyway. Right?!
I mean, imagine walking through a mall and realizing that today was “wear pink day” and you were the only person that didn’t get the memo to wear pink. So in a crowd with thousands of people, you suddenly realize all eyes are on you! And in that moment, you find yourself either wanting to head to the nearest exit or head to the nearest rack of pink shirts and pull out your Visa.
This phenomenon is why the start of motherhood can be overwhelming to many women at first. After you bring your child home from the hospital, you might be thinking 100 different things in your brain about motherhood. And you aren’t sure if any of those things are normal or if those thoughts make you crazy. You might feel like the single mom walking through a mall of moms that know the normal things to do and instead you are the one that missed the memo!
Well today I’m here to tell you that in motherhood I’ve learned there is no mall of how to feel about your child where everyone is wearing the same color of thought. No in fact, it seems to be just the opposite because there are so many different ways to feel and respond to your child. And if new moms were a mall, every mom would be in a different color because her experience with her child is not necessarily the same as your experience with your child. And that is totally NORMAL.
Here are just a few of the many normal new mom thoughts (as in many women have had them) I’ve collected from my experiences as a mom and from the feedback of my friends. See if you can relate.
1. This is confusing and very permanent. What do I do?
When some moms bring their baby home, the immediate adjustment to life with baby does not feel natural. They are confused with how to do their old life while having a tiny little baby by their side. They expected the adjustment to feel instant but instead it does not happen right away. This feeling is normal.
2. This is easy. I was meant to be a mom.
Some women deliver their baby, and instantly feel overwhelmed with everything good and motherly. They have no trouble figuring out how to care for a baby. It just feels natural and right. And they love it! This feeling is normal.
3. I’m not sure I was meant to be a mom. Can I give it back?
For some moms, the feeling of being a mother is not natural at first. When they hold their baby, they do not necessarily feel bonded. They do not necessarily feel like they enjoy nursing or feeding every two hours and rocking and holding. This feeling is normal.
4. This is kind of boring. All they do is sleep.
Some women bring the baby home and end up with a baby that sleeps 95% of the time and eats and poops the other 5% of their awake time with no real fuss. This woman finds herself feeling bored and confused that people describe newborns as difficult. This feeling is normal.
5. This takes up all my time. They never sleep.
Some women may be prepared to just feed, love and cuddle their sweet and sleepy baby and may find that their baby is awake all the time and constantly fussy. They may wonder how any mother could every describe their experience with their newborn as sweet and enjoyable. This feeling is normal.
6. This isn’t fun. Crying is so stressful. I must be a bad mom.
Some moms have babies that cry a lot (like A LOT), and no matter how sweet and patient and in love with their baby they are, it is stressful to hear non-stop crying. Even the very best of moms do not enjoy holding a crying baby. This feeling is normal.
7. I feel sad and do not feel bonded with my baby.
Some moms do not instantly feel bonded with their baby and may even feel sadness and lack of interest in their baby. This is likely a form of postpartum depression and while this is an experience of many moms, it is healthiest for you and your baby to seek treatment immediately in order for it not to continue and get worse. Why suffer alone when you can get treatment and enjoy your newborn? This feeling is normal.
8. I love breastfeeding. What’s not to love?
For some women, breastfeeding is natural and wonderful from the moment it begins. From the beginning, they have lots of milk and no pain when nursing. There is no stress because they just nurse the baby when the baby cries and all goes well. This feeling is normal.
9. Breastfeeding is hard, but I am going to do my best to persevere!
Some women are determined to breastfeed but find that nothing about it works easily for them. They have low milk supply, cracked nipples, a baby with a poor latch and so on. Some women with these circumstances continue and some do not. This feeling is normal.
10. I have no interest in breastfeeding. I want to bottle feed.
Some women from the start feel pressure to breastfeed but know that in their mind and heart, it does not feel right for them. They know they function better with exact measurements and timely schedule and sharing feedings in the night with their partner. So they decide from the start that they do not want to breastfeed but instead choose to use formula. This feeling is normal.
11. I want to have another one right away.
For some women, the thought of having another baby after just having their first baby or the thought of being pregnant once again sounds romantic and wonderful. And they begin craving doing it all over again almost from the moment they have their first child. This feeling is normal.
12. Can I wait to have another one? I never want to be pregnant again!
In my life, it seems I’ve met an equal number of mothers who love being pregnant to the mothers who do not enjoy pregnancy. I know that the last thing I can ever begin to even ponder is being pregnant again after delivering a baby. Some women just need to wait! This feeling is normal.
As I mentioned above, this list is not exhaustive of all the thoughts new moms have. In fact, I’m sure I could continue writing for days. But I hope that if you are a new mom, it has encouraged you to know, you are not alone in your experience of getting to know what feels right for you and your precious baby!