The other side of motherhood can be the perspective of a mother who experiences difficulties and challenges related to raising a child. This may include both emotional and practical challenges. Modern media presents an idealized image of motherhood that leaves no room for what causes difficult emotions, of which young mothers experience a lot.
It is necessary to make the image more realistic in order to remove the social pressure on new mothers. Those who are first-time mothers often encounter a difficult reality that was not talked about before. Media present an idealized image of life, and it is easy to have huge expectations and assumptions based on the observed, filtered image. These expectations and assumptions burst like a bubble as the journey of motherhood progresses.
Beautiful photos on Instagram, short stories showing how magical and smiley everything is. This creates a false image of reality and can create in a woman a desire to become a mother. However, a woman encounters the real picture of everyday life, which she does not see in meticulously selected scenes from life that fulfilled mothers feel the need to share, shout to the world, as if trying to convince themselves that 2 hours of sleep per day will be enough, that loneliness in duties with a child is a distant history that does not concern you at all, that the change in pelvic physiology is an object repressed from your body. Everything looks beautiful, nicely sprinkled with fluff and glitter on the surface, and the whole thing closes beautifully.
When women come to me for training sessions, they sit opposite me and when space appears to express themselves, to be heard, to be able to say what they should not say in a tense, expectation-filled reality. Then the words are spoken:
- “I’m exhausted”
- “I have no libido”
- “I don’t feel a connection with my womb”
- “I feel pain during intercourse”
- “I’ve had enough”
- “I feel like I’ve stopped being myself”
- “I’m alone in this”
- “I didn’t really want a child, but the pressure was huge…”
- “I can’t stand to look at my body”
- “I would like to disappear for a short while”
In the conversation I had with Kasia – the mother of a two-year-old son, we openly and without concealment, address the real problems that arise on the other side of motherhood. During this conversation, Kasia said something meaningful that is worth reflecting on: “Being a mother has become one of the most challenging tasks I have ever had. I have learned one thing: ‘Never judge other mothers until you become one yourself’ 🙂 Every day is a great surprise, full of beautiful but also difficult moments. We both try to get to know each other every day. To sum up, every smile of a child is ultimately the greatest and most precious reward.”
Motherhood can be a beautiful but also a difficult time in every woman’s life. It is a stage when a woman must devote a lot of time and energy to taking care of her child, which often leads to a lack of space and attention for herself.
During the interview I gave for the HelloMama editorial team, I discussed the topic of postpartum trauma that affects many women.
The other side of motherhood presents the following difficulties that women face:
Lack of sleep: Newborns require frequent feedings and diaper changes, which can lead to sleep disturbances for the mother. This, in turn, affects her ability to focus and perform daily tasks.
Lack of time for oneself: Caring for a child takes up a lot of time and energy, often leading to a lack of time for oneself. Women often put their own needs aside to focus on the needs of their child.
Hormonal changes: Pregnancy and childbirth cause significant hormonal changes in a woman’s body that can affect her well-being and mood.
Breastfeeding difficulties: Although breastfeeding is the best way to feed a baby, it can also be difficult and stressful for new mothers. Problems such as nipple pain or difficulty latching can lead mothers to give up breastfeeding. Some women have difficulty producing enough milk.
Fatigue: Caring for a child can be very exhausting, both physically and emotionally. Women often feel drained and tired.
Social pressure: Young mothers often feel pressure from society and their families to be the perfect mother. They may feel like failures if they do not meet the expectations of others.
Lack of support: A lack of support from family and friends can be very difficult for a mother who feels lonely and misunderstood.
Emotional difficulties: After giving birth, new mothers may experience various emotions, including tiredness, frustration, anxiety, guilt, postpartum depression, and uncertainty about their mothering abilities.
Stress related to child development: Young mothers often worry about whether their child is developing properly. They may worry about every detail, from the child’s level of activity to their height and weight.
Changes in relationships: After giving birth, relationships between a mother and her partner, family, and friends may change. Women often have to learn to balance caring for their child with maintaining relationships with loved ones.
Difficulties in learning how to care for a child: New mothers often have to learn many new skills, such as changing diapers, bathing, feeding, putting the child to sleep, etc. This can be a challenge, especially for mothers who have no previous experience in caring for a child.
Difficulty balancing work and childcare: Many young mothers have to return to work after maternity leave or give up work to care for their child. Balancing work and childcare can be difficult and stressful.
Loneliness: Although young mothers often surround themselves with their child and family, they may feel lonely and misunderstood. Many mothers may not want to talk about feeling lonely because they see it as a sign of weakness.
Difficulty accepting that their life is now completely devoted to their child and that they no longer have as much time for themselves as before. They may struggle to adjust to their new role as a mother and the changes it brings to their life.Postpartum depression – is an illness that affects many young mothers. It can lead to feelings of hopelessness, sadness, anxiety, and decreased self-worth.
Changes in the body. During pregnancy, many changes occur in the body, most of which are reversible, but not all. A common occurrence is the dysfunction of pelvic floor muscles, it is very important to start conscious work on restoring the Pelvic Floor Strength as soon as possible.
All these problems can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression in young mothers. It is important for them to seek support and talk to other mothers who have gone through similar situations. You can also seek help from professionals such as therapists, counselors, or psychologists.
You don’t have to be a perfect mother.
Perfect motherhood does not exist. The idealized, detached from reality bubble is still inflated by the system promoting increased reproduction, as well as by women who try to convince the world and perhaps themselves that it is all easy, colorful, and butterfly-filled. The sugary motherhood and the period of preparing for pregnancy. I look at media overloaded with filters and for a moment I can believe it, I wonder if it is really instinct that speaks up or a distorted image of reality that only shows the most wonderful moments. However, I also see the other side of motherhood. I hear about it regularly behind the doors of the room.
It can be really difficult and often lonely.
Women who have dared to enter motherhood go through a challenging journey. I admire them for that, I cheer them on, support them, but above all, I encourage them not to lose sight of themselves.
First, put on an oxygen mask for yourself, then for your child.
Seemingly selfish move, but ultimately supporting oxygenated life for both mother and child. Dear women, don’t forget about yourselves on this journey of becoming a mother.
Let’s talk openly about what’s black, what’s white, but also about what’s in between.
A conscious choice, not one through an idealized view of reality. A conscious choice with all its consequences.