In the months leading up to and since becoming a mother, I've started seeing a trend of lies that we as mothers are told/believe about what we should be, how we should act, and what is expected of us. I'm here to speak truth to your Mama Heart tonight.
1. Perfection Is Possible
We all have those friends. The ones with 2.5 kids, 2 dogs, a beautiful, pristine, white picketed home. We all want to be that friend, to a degree. We live in an age where Pinterest and Instagram have us fooled into thinking that we have to have it all together, that our homes have to look perfect at all times, that our child has to forever be happy, that our marriages have to be hunky dory no matter what. Sometimes I don't want to do the dishes. Sometimes, my house looks lived in. Sometimes, my daughter has an off day and cries for no reason. Sometimes, I don't get out of my sweatpants all day, and I wear the same shirt I've had on for 48 hours(that also has spit up on it). Life is messy. When you're on your deathbed one day, I guarantee that you won't look back and think about that one time you had a sink full of dishes and your friend stopped by at the last minute.
2. You're A Bad Mom If You Don't Breastfeed
The saying that gets tossed around all the time now is "Breast Is Best". Sure, breastmilk is the best thing you can feed your baby, but don't let anyone shame you for formula feeding! Whether by choice or not, FED is best. You are not a failure if you could not keep up your milk supply, if breastfeeding was too painful or uncomfortable, or if you just plain didn't want to. Your baby eats, and that is truly what matters most. Gasp! You're telling me that some mothers don't want to breastfeed?! Oh, the horror! *Dramatically falls towards the ground* If you struggle with supply issues and desperately want to breastfeed, seek help. Don't be ashamed! Countries like Norway where breastfeeding mothers are given proper support have a success rate of 80% of babies still being breastfed at 6 months old, and new research is showing that only 5-10% of mom's struggle with a true lack of supply, and the rest struggle with proper support. The La Leche League is a phenomenal resource.
3. You'll Never Sleep Again
Now, most of that is your own fault in the beginning. You just can't stop looking at that incredible little person you created and you live in a constant state of delirious happiness. I remember hitting a point in labor where all I wanted was a nap, and I had convinced myself that I was going to take a nap right after I gave birth. That(obviously) never happened. In the first 7-10 days, truly do try and sleep when the baby sleeps. This period of them sleeping constantly only lasts 2-3 weeks, and after that, they become infinitely more alert and are not so easily quieted. This also lands in the period of time right when people aren't around every single day to wait on you and baby. You will sleep again. I can't tell you when, but it will happen, I promise.
4. You're Going To Spoil Your Newborn
This. Is. Stupid. Your newborn does not possess the capabilities to manipulate you and therefore causing them to be spoiled. You expelled your tiny, screaming, gremlin-shaped human being out of your body one way or another, so you can hold them if you want to. A newborn does not know how to differentiate needs and wants, so they are all the same. The first 4-6 months of a baby's life are learning how to operate sans womb, learning about their surroundings, and most importantly, learning that they are safe and loved. That means if they want to be held, HOLD THEM.
5. Motherhood Should Make You Happy.
Yes, being a mom is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do in your entire life. No, it will not always make you happy. Sometimes you just want to get out of the house without your child. Sometimes you want to shower without a little dictator screaming in the other room. Motherhood can be stressful. People are not intended to be the sole thing that brings you joy in this life. Yes, your child will likely bring you such happiness, but motherhood will not always be sunshine and roses.
While being a mom is stressful, if you have recently given birth, and are finding that the "Baby Blues" are lasting longer than a 7-10 days, I highly encourage you to seek council or speak to your gynecologist. Postpartum depression occurs in up to 20% of women, and can rear it's ugly head up to a year after birth! Don't be afraid or ashamed. You haven't let anyone down. You are a fantastic mother, and this too shall pass.