7 Unexpected Ways that Motherhood Changes You

The motherhood journey is a deeply fulfilling and exciting stage that one might find intimidating and exhilarating at the same time. It is a phase anticipated by most to be life-changing and a woman can find herself preparing for pregnancy with all optimism. The optimism that is of course, coupled with the increasing sense of responsibility for the life growing inside her. 

An expectant mother (and father) might not be 100% prepared for the arrival of their precious little one but knowing the changes that might occur in the life of parents after the coming of the new member of the family can offset any unrealistic expectation.

Being optimistic is good, of course. Having a positive outlook in the coming years caring for your baby boy or girl must be approached with a calm cheer, delight, and hope no matter what the circumstance is or what the coming days, months, and years will bring. 

This guide can strengthen that hope and excitement in child-rearing but more importantly, it will give you more awareness, and help set your expectation in this exciting, inspiring, and unpredictable world of parenting.

 

How Motherhood Changes You
Let’s dive right in!
1. Motherhood amplifies strong emotions of anxiety in regards to your child’s safety and the overwhelming love you have for him or her. This emotional roller coaster is more unexpected than the sleepless nights and the change of routine that will happen when you pattern your life and schedule around your baby’s needs. One must get used to the contrasting emotions of joy, fear, and love as she navigates parenthood.
2. When talking about emotions, it is just right to add and make many aware of the fact that most women (50% to 70% in fact), go through what is called as “baby blues” after giving birth. Many also don’t recognize this but studies show that a significant 15% of women (1 in 10 new mothers) experience the long-lasting, more severe form which is the postpartum depression. This phase is characterized with significant emotional highs and lows, irritability, anxiety, restlessness, and feelings of worthlessness that heightens the depressive state.
3. Aside from what one might think as an emotional upheaval (as a mother deals with heightened emotions), one of the most obvious changes is of course physical. The stretch marks, loose or saggy skin, and swollen legs and feet are signs of the successful delivery and rite of passage towards this totally overwhelming stage of life. Studies show that moms who feel unprepared for the physical changes after giving birth are more likely to experience negative emotions associated with unexpected bodily transformations they will experience.
4. You will learn how to thrive on insufficient sleep. You will soon discover the amazing capacity of your body to withstand sleepless nights and still maintain that energy to go through the day as your calling demands for it. Hey, does a mother have a day off anyway? You thought you knew exhaustion until you had a baby. Boy, what a surprise!

Anticipate that you will surely find yourself feeling tired most of the time but this is the better part of going through this stage - it will all be worth it when you see your baby’s smile and hear his or her laughter. Yes, you will experience a different kind of tiredness but at the same time, it is brought about by the love you have caring for someone and making sure that he gets all the love and support he needs as he grows.    

And speaking of sleep, even the most basic act of bathing or anything you do for self-care, will seem like a special experience (like going to the spa maybe). Due to the time it takes to take care of your baby throughout the day, you will notice yourself having less and less time to do even the regular routines you might have had before like eating, exercising, and again, sleeping at the right time. But then again, you will also assure yourself thinking that they’re only babies once.

How Motherhood Changes You

Photo by Fredrik Solli Wandem on Unsplash

 5. You will learn not to focus too much on the trivial matters around you because your priority is your baby. You will only be thinking about his or her needs most of the time. Being a mom entails focusing on the most important things and as you meet and provide for your baby’s needs, you won’t really be fixated and concerned about other things anymore.

The family lifestyle and schedule will be patterned around him or her in this very important stage of life. This might sound like you’re being robbed off your freedom but any mom can tell you that it is the most gratifying, satisfying, and fulfilling period ever experienced as you continue on the journey of learning to be a mother. And if that is not yet enough, all mothers who have gone before you can assure that life will really change for the better.

It is indeed overwhelming to think that you need to take care and are responsible for another human being’s necessities, safety, and welfare but these feelings of uncertainties will give way to determination and perseverance to give the best for your child as you experience maternal fondness that is entirely new to you.

 

If you’re afraid that your life will entirely change with the presence of the new member of the family - you’re right. This idea might be one of the reasons why some women are pushing their plans further and further because they’re not yet ready to live a schedule and routine that is entirely new to them. But then again, this is a change you never knew you needed. Again, you will experience depth of emotions you never knew is possible but the experience will cause you to be more attuned to what and how it is to love that you can give anything selflessly for him or her. Your baby will make you a better person.

Again, we need to set our expectations. Some mothers who are waiting to feel all lovey-dovey and filled with immense, overflowing emotions for their baby might find themselves surprised not feeling this at the birth of their child. But as is the nature of love, it continues to grow. As they continue to be with their precious baby every day, they will find themselves drawn and loving every inch and corner of this life they brought into the world. Love really takes time and this is also true for motherhood.

 

6. When you become a mother, you might be taken aback by feelings of inadequacy thinking that your efforts are not enough. You can’t help comparing yourself with others and this might lead to low self esteem resulting in baby blues as they call it. There is no better mother for your child than you. No one else can feel that deep love and connection that you both share and the feelings of frustration and sadness are all part of the process. You are not competing for the best mother award and frankly, to the eyes of your child, you are already enough.

Having goals and standards is perfectly fine, of course. The important thing is to not let the feelings of guilt, incompetence, or inefficiency linger because most of the time, these are groundless and just based on assumptions brought about by the overwhelming barrage of emotions experienced during this very challenging phase.

 

7. Embarrassment takes on a new face as you are ready to do just about anything in public: breastfeeding, changing diapers etc. You will be surprised at how normal diaper changing can then become because you will be accustomed to one very important reality all mothers should prepare for: babies do poop a lot all day and every day. But you won’t of course be grossed out as a hungry baby who always needs to be fed will also bring out much waste. This just means that your baby’s digestive system is working well and you won’t have anything to worry about physically.

 

Being a mother is an experience like no other but it is the most fulfilling experience anyone can have.

 

“Motherhood is amazing. And then it is really hard. And then it is incredible. And then it is everything in between. So, hold onto the good, breathe through the bad, and welcome the wildest and most wonderful ride of your life.”

—Anonymous