A major reason why many women suffer in silence during the postpartum period is because they believe the myth “becoming a mother should be the happiest time of my life.”
I know that this was the case for me. When I was pregnant, I imagined that becoming a mother would be the happiest time of my life. I would fantasize about holding my baby in my arms and drift off into a sea of bliss…
Then I had my baby, and the reality that I experienced was very different from what I had envisioned. When I became a mother, not only was I completely exhausted from lack of sleep and recovering from the birth, I also felt very lost and confused.
Not only was I unhappy about my postpartum experience, I was also surprised that I was so unhappy. I didn’t understand why motherhood was so difficult. I kept asking myself, “Is it just me?” “Is there something wrong with me because I don’t feel overcome by happiness?” And of course the thoughts of, “is it just me,” caused me to feel isolated and alone which spiraled into further unhappiness.
I was even more surprised because I consider myself a smart, well-informed person. I didn’t go into motherhood blindly. I had already undergone my Birth Doula training, for crying out loud! How could I not know what it would be like to be a mom? Why is the reality of the postpartum period and motherhood such a well kept secret?
Knowing what I know now, I would love to go back in time and give myself this little gem of advice: “Don’t expect motherhood to be the happiest time of your life. Instead, don’t have expectations. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is that you feel during this important time.”
What were your expectations of motherhood? After having a baby, what advice would you give your pre-baby you? Post your responses in the comment section below.