Being a first-time mother is a great milestone that is both pleasurable and challenging at the same time. After all, taking care of yourself can be quite hard (especially if you had to cope with gestational diabetes), then how much more does tending to the needs of another human being, especially one who’s completely dependent on you? In your case, it’s your baby, so every effort in attending to his or her every need is going to be more than worth it. That fact should help you survive every difficulty that will come your way in raising your child, and being prepared by knowing what they are can help you adjust and step into your new status as quickly as possible.
Here are a few of the most common challenges first-time mothers face.
1. Nursing Isn’t Always Easy
They say that breastfeeding should be like second nature. While that assertion may be true to some mothers, it doesn’t hold water to a lot of first-time mothers. But according to Lisa Spiegel, the co-director of Soho Parenting in New York City and co-author of the book A Mother’s Circle: An Intimate Dialogue on Becoming a Mother, it may take weeks of practice and work before most mothers get the hang of breastfeeding.
In addition, if you’re having trouble nursing your child, then you should get help from either a lactation consultant or another mother who has experience in breastfeeding. In addition, don’t be quick to give up, as it may take a month before you perfect the necessary timing and positioning.
2. A Strain on Spousal Relationship
One of the most common problems first-time mothers face is the strain childbirth and childbearing puts in a spousal relationship. Mothers struggle in taking care of the baby 24/7 and easily feel that their husbands either do not understand how difficult it is or are not doing their part. Men, on the other hand, are pressured to provide more for their family.
If you and your partner are going through the same tensions, then you should think and try to see that maybe your husband is doing his part also; it’s just that you’re stressed out and can’t seem to notice it. Also, it’d be best for the two of you to take a step back and talk about what you feel about the entire situation, especially if you think he’s not helping. Communication is key during these hard times!
3. Losing Your Pre-Baby Figure
It’s completely normal to miss your pre-pregnancy body and envy celebrity moms for being able to get rid of the extra weight they gained during gestation. Don’t let that trouble you though, for it’s also completely normal to retain a few pounds after giving birth. In fact, they actually serve a purpose: the extra fat cells you have are a big help in breastfeeding.
However, if you can’t shake off the thought of losing the additional post-delivery pounds, then try to slowly introduce diet and exercise. Don’t overdo it though; your main aim shouldn’t be weight loss, but taking care of your newborn.
4. Full-Time Mother and/or Career Woman
Considering today’s tough economic situation, a lot of mothers jump back to the world of work a few days after giving birth. However, for those who are well-off enough to not go back to their jobs right away, it’s hard to make up their mind between becoming a stay-home mother or a career woman.
Those who choose the former feel like they’re missing out on their friends and their professional lives, while those who go for the latter feel guilty for not being able to give enough time and attention to their babies. If you’re struggling with such a dilemma, then seek advice from women who are also going through the same thing. Also, try to give yourself a time frame before reaching a decision – a year at most. Whatever your decision may be, you should always keep in mind that you can always change your mind, as your situation will change in time. And lastly, you should know that you can have both your career and time with your baby. Ask your employer for either flexible work hours or an option to work from home. You should also look into part-time jobs if you want time for both work and taking care of your newborn.
5. I Thought I’d Have Time
Whether you choose to go back to your job or devote all of your time as a stay-home mother, one thing’s for sure: you’ll have a lot less time for yourself and the things you love doing. Sleep? A leisurely shower? TV series marathon? They’ve all been replaced by replacing diapers, bath-giving, and breastfeeding. To cope up with this fast-paced and high-demand way of life, it’s best to schedule your day-to-day activities and allot a few minutes for the many mishaps your baby will make that you’ll have to fix.
6. Can’t Get Enough Shuteye
As what’s been said previously, you’ll have less time for even the things you need, including sleeping. And lack of sleep can lead to increased stress, making you feel awful about yourself and become less productive. It may feel awful to get less amount of sleep, but just try to grin and bear it for now, as it will definitely pass. Instead of focusing on what you feel, just think of how important this sacrifice is for your baby. However, if you really must, you can sneak a few moments of slumber while your baby sleeps; you can ask for family members or friends for help.
7. Feeling the Blues
A usual but often overlooked complication of childbirth would be postpartum blues. This leaves a lot of mothers having mood swings, crying spells, insomnia, and anxiety. It’s not easy to deal with, but it fades in time. While you wait that time out, seek help from the people around you, and try to distract yourself from what you’re feeling. Taking care of your baby should also help. If it doesn’t go away, however, it’s best that you consult a doctor. Being a first-time mother is no walk in the park. But you know what they say: the first step is usually the hardest. Through time, experience, and the help of others, you’ll definitely get the hang of how it is to be a mother. And once you do, you’ll understand how fulfilling it is.
Being a first time mother can be extremely hard, especially if you are not prepared. I advise you to read books on the topic, talk to friends who have been through it and ask them to be honest about the challenges as well as about the good times. Community is very important, so surround yourself with other first time mothers who are going through the same thing as you, it is somewhat comforting to know that you are not the one going through tough times 🙂
About the Author
Ianna Reign Stevenson is a professional writer based in London, England. She is a young mother of a three year old toddler and a physical therapist by profession. Connect with her on Twitter.
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