There’s a lot of things I wish I knew before becoming a mom. And before, I kinda wondered why a lot of experienced moms don’t share what really goes on in becoming a mother.
But now, I kinda get why.
Nobody wants to be the bearer of bad news and people just don’t like hearing negative things in general.
So most of the time, you just leave out the scary and depressing details. You just offer a word of encouragement and the usual cliche advice of “Sleep when the baby sleeps!”
But I wished it was different. I wish more moms, new ones or veterans, would become more real about motherhood.
So if you’re looking for the harsh truth and some cold realities about becoming a mom, read on.
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10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming A Mom
Your feelings are valid and normal
Some moms will instantly bond with their babies. Some won’t
Some moms will love every minute of being with their kids. Some won’t.
Some moms will feel guilty leaving their kids with a caregiver to work, do “me-time”, etc. Some won’t.
Some moms will love their husbands more. Some won’t. (Especially when they’re not helping with chores.)
Some moms will feel like wanting one more when they see another baby. Some will be done with one.
Some will openly complain about their kids. Some won’t.
Some will regret having kids. Some won’t
Most will feel a lot of negative emotions. Some won’t.
And all of those feelings are perfectly normal. Because other moms have experienced it too! You are not alone in feeling all these things and more.
Most just don’t like sharing these feelings openly or broadcasting them on their social media feed.
Because they’ll feel like a horrible mother if they say it out loud. Because people will judge them.
And I certainly went through this phase. I remember complaining about how little sleep I’m getting and a childless friend, DM me, saying I shouldn’t be complaining. That I should feel thankful that I have a kid.
And I do, I love my kid and I am thankful. But it’s bullshit to not complain because it’s perfectly normal to do it! We’re not robots, we’re human beings!
So whatever you’re feeling is perfectly normal.
Postpartum depression can last longer than expected
I’m actually glad that celebrities are opening up about their PPD experiences. This helps in normalizing this condition, making it acceptable in society to have one. It’s not considered taboo anymore.
But I think a lot of people are still not aware of its symptoms or how massive the negative impact it can cause, especially on a mother’s life.
PPD can even last for years. It can lead to worse and the most awful stuff you can think of.
I wished I knew about this back then. I felt so lost, depressed and resentful, even after 18 months of having my baby.
So as much as possible, check yourself for possible symptoms and be open about it.
Don’t be afraid, don’t be ashamed. Talk to your husband, visit a hospital and tell a doctor or nurse about what you’re feeling.
Self-care is important
When you become a mom, everyone, even yourself, has this expectation about becoming this selfless, forever giving, forever nurturing human being.
Who doesn’t need any rest nor recreation, or anything that doesn’t involve making the baby and the whole family happy.
Which is bullshit.
Do whatever it takes to take care of yourself.
Because you won’t be able to take care of your baby and your family properly if you’re running on an empty tank.
So fill up your cup first.
If you need some time away from the baby, let your spouse/ parents/ in-laws, anyone who can help, know about it. Ask them to take care of your baby first.
If you’re on your own, carve some “me-time” when your baby is sleeping.
Don’t do chores or any work. Do whatever you want to that you know will relax and rejuvenate you.
Breastfeeding will be hard AF
It will drain you mentally, emotionally, and physically.
You will worry about milk supply, where to nurse your baby in a public place, how to pump if there’s no pumping station, how to make your kid take a formula bottle if you’re not around, etc.
Not to mention dealing with cluster feedings, mastitis, cracked and painful nipples, and the feeling that you’re just a cow, a feeding station to a little human being.
It’s freaking hard! I felt so sad and so guilty that I couldn’t seem to produce enough milk for my baby then.
And I wished someone told me it was fine to give her formula milk, even right from the start.
What’s important is, your baby is getting milk. Doesn’t matter if it’s your milk or formula milk, fed is best.
Take advice (or judgment!) with a grain of salt
Your in-laws, your parents, friends, strangers, everyone will have an opinion on how you should do parenting.
That doesn’t mean you have to take it nor should you be offended by it.
Which I wish I knew before. Because at the end of the day, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
But you’re the only one who has control over how to react or act on those opinions.
So if some unsolicited advice is offered and you can imagine it working on your kid, then try it.
If a judgment is given and you know that’s far from the truth, then ignore it.
Do what works for you and your baby.
You’ll never have it all
Unless you can afford a maid, personal assistant, nanny, personal trainer, you can’t have it all.
If you do try to do it all, something will definitely break. It’s like juggling too many balls at once. One or more will drop and shatter if you don’t put down some.
So you have to prioritize.
Your career might take a backseat for some time and that’s okay.
Your social life can be non-existent for a while and that’s still okay too.
You may not have the time to exercise or have a sparklingly clean house all the time and that’s okay.
Your kid might need to watch a lot of TV at times so you can do some work and that’s perfectly fine too.
And I wished I knew that sooner.
I also wish I didn’t feel envious of other moms who seem to have it all. I wished I didn’t compare myself to any of them.
Would have saved me a lot of grief. For all I know, they have a whole village behind them, helping them.
Your body will change
If you’ve always been fit and slim, seeing your postpartum body might shock you.
For some women, they might experience swollen legs, ankles, feet.
Some will look like they’re pregnant even after a few months of giving birth.
Some will have a hard time controlling their pee. The littlest of laugh or sneeze can have you peeing in your pants.
Some will have extreme hair loss. Some will see a lot of stretch marks.
Some will start to have drooping breasts or nipples that don’t even point in the same direction. Especially if you’re pumping or breastfeeding.
Some will eventually have bigger biceps from carrying their heavy baby or toddler.
I really didn’t know a lot of those things could happen to your body. You would have thought my antenatal class would have covered it but nope!
So keep those in mind as you will definitely experience some or most of these physical changes.
Your relationships will change
You may not notice it initially but it will definitely change.
You’ll suddenly realize that you don’t want to be touched so much by your husband. Or that you don’t get to talk so much with your friends anymore.
And that’s okay. That’s perfectly normal.
As your focus now is keeping a little human being alive. And that takes so much out of you, you pretty much don’t have the time and energy for anything!
I just wished someone told me that this is a reality for most moms and how to cope with it.
So talk to your spouse. Open up to your friends.
Let them know how important they are but it’s just mentally and physically exhausting to take care of a baby. That may be when you’ve found your groove and you’ve gotten used to your new normal, you can set up a date and spend time with each other again.
You will change
For some moms, you might not feel it that much.
But for others, having a baby can be life-changing.
Your priorities will change. Your feelings, your views, your preferences, most of it might change.
You won’t care so much about how you look when you go out in public.
You’ll finally know what “mom guilt” and “mom brain” means.
You’ll worry so much about your children, that sometimes you imagine the worse case scenarios involving them. Which makes you worry more.
You’ll become emotional and find yourself crying at baby commercials.
And sometimes, maybe most of the time, you’ll lose yourself in becoming a mother.
You’ll feel lost. You’ll feel unfulfilled. You’ll miss what you were before you had a baby.
And again that’s okay. That’s still perfectly normal.
I went through this phase. And I found out that the only way to get through these changes is to accept them.
It’s like grieving for someone that you lost – yourself. You go through the 5 phases of grief. You’ll try to fight it, you’ll get angry about it, you’ll miss your old life, etc.
But when you’ve finally reached the last phase, when you’ve accepted your situation, you become more at peace with yourself. Then you start moving forward and adapting to the change.
To laugh more
There were times where I wanted to cry in frustration when taking care of my baby.
Like the time when I was about to fall asleep then she’ll suddenly decide to have a diaper blowout. At 3 am.
Or those times where my baby would poop in the middle of her bath.
Or when I take only 5-minute showers. Because my kid then will instantly scream when I’m not beside her, making me think how the hell can I get anything done with my clingy baby?
Or when I seemingly carry the entire house when I go out with my newborn.
Or I’m out alone with her in the baby carrier and I have to do number 2 and I do it in a public toilet, with her still on the baby carrier.
It’s easy to feel frustrated and overwhelmed when these things happen to you.
But now I look back at those moments and I realized, the times where I felt relaxed and less stressed, are those times where I just chuckled and laughed at how ridiculous things can get.
Laughter is truly the best medicine.
And if ever you feel like crying about something that your kid has done, just tell yourself that you’ll laugh about this. Someday.
FAQ on Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming A Mom
What first time moms should know?
The most important thing to know is how to manage expectations. About yourself, your relationships, your baby, and many more.
You can read more about managing expectations after having a newborn here.
What to do before you become a mom?
What you should do before becoming a mom is to ask yourself first if you really want to become one.
I think that’s the most important thing to do before deciding to have a baby.
It’s physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing.
Not everyone is up for this gig so ask yourself honestly, if you really want a baby and what are your reasons for having one.
What to consider before becoming a parent?
Consider first your finances, if you’re financially prepared to become one.
Second, if you grew up in a toxic environment, break the cycle of dysfunctional parenting by working on your issues, on yourself.
And lastly, prepare to be physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.
This is the hardest job in the world where you can’t quit even if you wanted to, breaks are hard to come by, and where your sanity will be hanging by a thread most if not all the time.
Takeaway on Things I Wish I’d Known Before Becoming a Mother]
It might seem like motherhood is just full of pain, stress, and suffering but as cliche as this might seem, it’s all worth it.
It’s this feeling of crying 9x in a day but those sad emotions are forgotten when you witness your cute toothless baby laughing at the sound of a paper tearing.
Like literally, you tear a paper in half and they burst out laughing.
You’ll suddenly feel like you’re the most important person in the world. It’s just you and your baby and nothing matters.
Moments like that will make you experience the kind of joy that will make you feel like your heart is going to burst out of your chest. From so much love and overwhelming happiness, you’re feeling at that moment.
Just because your baby started laughing. At you tearing a paper.
I hope this has enlightened you on what motherhood feels like and what it entails.
I have a different view on parenthood though and personally, I think those 2 are separate states or identities.
But these things I wish I knew before becoming a mom were a trip down memory lane that I hope to revisit again someday.