Moms – I need your help!

May 29, 2012

I have often thought how unprepared for motherhood we are when we give birth. There are articles and courses about what to pack for the hospital, what birth choices we have, and how to sterilise bottles.

But no one talks about the other stuff that counts – how difficult it is, how your marriage might suffer, how your self esteem will take a knock, how you might want your old life back, the postnatal depressions signs to watch out for.

I think we go into parenting with so little preparation and support. In fact, my gynae once told me that she feels sorry for new parents, simply because they are so ill prepared.

And once we’re battling sleep deprivation, cracked nipples and sadness, there is not a massive amount of support either – yes, there are friends, there’s social networking and there’s the postnatal depression support group (if you’ve even had time or clarity to notice the signs and seek help). But there aren’t many groups or avenues that can hold you up, give you a high five, or pass a tissue (or tequila) when you’re battling. Or even when you want your own time out.

I would love to see moms feeling less sad, worried and “alien” and wonder if there’s something I/we could do to change things. I’m really keen to get your take, so if you’re keen or able, please could you comment below:

So my questions to you:

– What do you wish you had have known about motherhood before becoming a mom

– If you got more “real facts” about parenting while pregnant, would you have paid attention?

– What messages should we be giving pregnant and new moms?

– Do you think there is more attention on shopping for baby, rather than tending to feelings, expectations?

 

Thanks a mil in advance

Tanya

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9 Comments

  • Cath

    Oooh one of my favourite topics!

    – What do you wish you had have known about motherhood before becoming a mom?

    Simple. That the books may be good guidelines, but your child is unique. Also, ignore everyone who tells you how to raise your kid until they can prove they have successfully raised their own child to adulthood.

    – If you got more “real facts” about parenting while pregnant, would you have paid attention?

    Yes. I think FACTS like “you will bleed like a mofo” after you give birth are essential. Most publications, friends and medical professionals totally gloss over that fact, and it can be flipping scary. Also, survival strategies for coping on 0 hours of sleep.

    – What messages should we be giving pregnant and new moms?

    That it’s okay to feel anxious and not look like the glowing pregnant models in magazines. That it’s okay to just want to stay home with your baby. And that it’s also okay to ask for help, so that you can disappear for two hours and have your hair done.

    – Do you think there is more attention on shopping for baby, rather than tending to feelings, expectations?

    Yep. The emotional avalanche of parenting is something I felt entirely unprepared for. We had every single doofnab, contraption and baby wipe that exists, and still I felt mentally unprepared. I wish antenatal classes were less about “surviving birth” and more about “surviving the first two years”.

    May 29, 2012 at 8:08 am Reply
    • Tanya Kovarsky

      Thanks Cath! Great ideas and input.

      May 29, 2012 at 3:22 pm Reply
  • Yashmitha Padayachee

    Definitely a “market” or more a “need” for more “real” parenting guides or rather experiences. to be honest its in us to not really take advise, to proove the “theys” wrong. but lets say if someone did give me a book on some other parents experiences on key and mostly undiscussed areas of parenthood, i might probably not read it during pregnancy, but i dfinitely feel i would turn to it as my experience progresses and i encounter the different phases / situations……. am i babbling…… 🙂

    ANSWERS
    1. would have loved to know that your little tot doesnt mean to hurt you, but be prpared for a fair amount of rejection, there will be days he loves daddy way more than you (fear not by age 2 you’re all that exists for him)

    2.think i sort of covered that earlier, may not have really paid attention, but when ppl share experiences, you sort of almost “bond” to this unknown person, and if they survived you can too,…. etc…..

    3. being a new mom, is incredibly overwhelming- there is only so much “being prepared” taht can happen. you need a stable and awesome support system. you need to eat you need to sleep. you need to know the difference between being a super mum and a sane one!

    4. def more att on the shopping aspect. but tahts human right… thats why i say give em a book let them store it on the top shelf… they dont need it, they have this perfect baby on the way and the room is gorgeous and mum is gonna sit over there and feed baby, and when he looks up he will see the teddys and l;ife will be goooood…. 2 months later… wheres that book im sure i read something about why i feel like murdering my husband right now………:)

    now i am babbling.. anyway , 2 years down the line, advise that i actually took… minimal…. learning from others experiences…. way better…. if you do decide to produce any sort of ” What to do when…” type of book, i would be oh o honoured to add my 5c worth, as you will have noticed i can pretty much talk a helluva lot 🙂

    tc
    yash

    May 29, 2012 at 9:22 am Reply
    • Tanya Kovarsky

      Awesome awesome tips! Thank you for your “5 cents”. It’s much appreciated…

      May 29, 2012 at 3:23 pm Reply
  • Sandy

    I wish I would’ve known that the magical moment people talked about when you hold your baby for the first time after a c-section isn’t so magical after all if you can’t even lift your arms up properly. And yes, maybe if we really knew what it was going to be like the first few months we wouldn’t even go there. My mom gave me all the hard facts but still I chose not to believe her 🙂

    I do think that we need more information about breastfeeding and post-natal depression. I definitely had post-natal depression and I didn’t know how to deal with it. The media and almost everyone around you cover coats everything. Your love for your baby makes it all worth it, yes it does most of the time, but not all the time unfortunately.

    I first started realising that there is mothers that felt just like I did, when I started reading other moms blogs about their true struggles.

    And lastly I do think that we take more time preparing the baby’s room than what we do preparing ourselves and our hearts and body’s for what’s about to come.

    May 29, 2012 at 9:25 am Reply
    • Tanya Kovarsky

      I love that: “…than what we do preparing ourselves and our hearts and bodies for what’s about to come”.

      Thanks for sharing!

      May 29, 2012 at 3:22 pm Reply
  • Sam

    Awesome topic T! My answers for what they’re worth:

    – What do you wish you had have known about motherhood before becoming a mom?

    I wish I’d known that the sleep deprivation could drive you so dilly that you would wake up sweating bullets cos you dreamt you had not put your baby in his cot after a feed (when in actual fact he’s sleeping peacfully in his cot) or that you would hear your baby crying while in the shower when he wasn’t really crying… There was many a time I thought I was quite literally losing my marbles…

    – If you got more “real facts” about parenting while pregnant, would you have paid attention?

    Hmmmm. I think I would have listened and filed it away dismissivley until such time as I needed to draw that pearl of wisdom back from my memory banks. I think that each of us need to find our own way with our kids cos they are each and every one different, but I do think if ppl were more honest about the hardships it might be easier to bear once you hit them…

    – What messages should we be giving pregnant and new moms?

    That there are the sunshine and roses moments but that it’s also hard. Too allow friends and family to come over for an hour or three to allow you to sleep. To expect a lot of bleeding after the birth and to take an iron supplement. That its ok to get upset/anxious/frustrated with your baby when they won’t sleep. That it’s ok to think you’re going to punch your husband in the face when he says having a baby is “easy”. So, so many things.

    – Do you think there is more attention on shopping for baby, rather than tending to feelings, expectations?

    Yes definitely and while I think it’s important to focus on shopping and preparation of that rose tinted ideal, I also think it’s important to focus on what we all actually go through when baby comes.

    xxx

    May 29, 2012 at 10:27 am Reply
    • Tanya Kovarsky

      Thanks Sam for taking the time out – and yes, it is worth a lot! 🙂

      May 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm Reply
  • TJ

    – What do you wish you had have known about motherhood before becoming a mom

    Definitely the sleep deprivation – the 1st week was a total blur! The full force of emotions that came with it! I hardly ever cried before – so it was terrible to just cry for nothing. That the overwhelming sense of love you feel for your child may not be instantaneous. It’s OK not to cry when your child is born (sometimes you’re just too tired). That I am not MY mom and that sadly just becoming a Mom does not turn me into MY mom either (who coped far better than I did)! That post-birth you are left with a rather ugly,swollen, non-pregnant belly. (I was sooo not prepared for that!)

    – If you got more “real facts” about parenting while pregnant, would you have paid attention?

    Probably not. I thought I would be like my Mom even though her and I do differ a lot, we are quite similar. Clearly I’m more anal in parenting than she is. I think to be honest my Mom gave me her ‘real facts’ which created a wonderful experience of pregnancy and birth and raising kids – cos she coped so well! Perhaps the older they get the less they remember the struggles?

    – What messages should we be giving pregnant and new moms?

    It’s OK if genetically you cannot be trim will pregnant and carry beautifully. That it’s OK to feel overwhelmed after all your preparations – there is nothing more taxing and beautiful than having a baby. It’s OK to laugh and cry. There are fabulous times and not so great times. New Moms should also WEAR MAKE-UP! I strongly believe that getting yourself dressed and putting on make-up (even if it is just tinted moisturiser and lip gloss) goes a long way to making you feel better about your post-partum self! Share your baby – don’t keep your baby to yourself – you can also do with a 5 minute break. Let Dad help! Let him find his groove. Mom’s are not the only ones that need to learn to parent and bond!

    – Do you think there is more attention on shopping for baby, rather than tending to feelings, expectations?

    Of course there is. We read magazines, search the internet all in pursuit of the most suitable items for our new babies. We want to give them the best. We don’t pay attention to our emotions because we automatically assume everything will go back to normal after baby is born. BIG shock!
    I wish that when we became Moms all our expectations would leave with our placenta. It would save us a lot of heart ache and feelings of inferiority.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm Reply
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