Has anyone else been totally surprised at how some of their attitudes / opinions about motherhood and parenting have changed once their first baby has come along? Don't get me wrong, I love my DD more than anything. She's such a joy and the light of mine & DH's lives. But I feel like I'm a different mother than I thought I'd be.
All I ever wanted was to be a mum. I never had any career ambitions and never felt comfortable in any job, I always felt like I was just counting down the days until I could stop work and be a mum. I was so desperate to get pregnant and overjoyed when it happened very quickly and easily.
DH and I had a tentative plan to only have one child but I felt a bit guilty about that, like a real mum 'should' want more children. I imagined myself with two or three.
Then I had a horrible pregnancy. Five months of 24/7 nausea and vomiting. Constant muscle and back pain. I was constantly uncomfortable and it felt like my stomach muscles just did not want to stretch. DD kicking was excruciating. All the mums I knew would say how much they loved feeling their baby move and what a beautiful experience it was...I just felt so guilty that I didn't feel that way. Feeling my baby move was uncomfortable and painful - I carried so small and tight that it's like I felt everything so much more, and some nights I'd be in tears it hurt so much. All I'd ever wanted was to be pregnant and I was so shocked that it wasn't a positive experience for me. I felt really guilty. I was very uncomfortable with all the changes that were happening to my body. I didn't gain any extra weight thankfully but I just really wanted my body back to myself! And I felt horrible about it.
Then I had a horrible and traumatic birth that I won't go into, only to say it was the most terrifying experience of my life and still haunts me to this day. I'm still having counselling to deal with it.
I couldn't breastfeed. It was something I'd always imagined myself doing so I was floored when it didn't work. DD has been fully formula fed since she was about a week old and is thriving, but it took me so long to get my head around it. For so long I felt guilty and I still have a twinge every now and then, but you know what, I like the fact that I have my body back to myself. I liked the fact that DH and my mum were able to feed DD in those early days while I had a break or caught up on sleep.
And now that DD is here, like I said I love her to bits and pieces...but I'm actually thinking I might go back to work. I don't have to, we can survive on DH's wage + what we get from Centrelink, but I miss it. I miss the social interaction, being active and on my feet, and using my brain. I never used to go out much before having DD, I was a bit of a loner, now I love catching up with friends and do it all the time. I never took much pride in my appearance but now I make an effort to have my hair and makeup done and look neat & tidy. I don't feel like that mumsy, 'earth mother' type that I thought I would. I love the thought of only having one chid now. It's definitely what's right for us and I don't feel guilty about it. There's no way in hell I would go through pregnancy and birth again. Everyone tells me I'll forget about my traumatic birth and that I can't 'just have one', which is annoying but probably something I'll just have to get used to.
I feel positive about the future, I feel like there are so many more things I want for myself now than to just be a mum. I'm DEFINITELY not criticising those who find their identities strictly in being a mum, because that's the person I always thought I would be! I'm just really surprised at the way my attitudes to motherhood have changed since actually becoming a mother. I'd be interested to hear from anyone else who feels the same way.
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10-10-2012 15:05 #1
Thought I'd feel differently about motherhood!
10-10-2012 15:41 #2
You sound like how I feel - except the bit about always wanting to be a mum - I never felt like this.
But I have very similar pregnancy, birthing and breast feeding stories and feelings as you do. Especially the birthing and breastfeeding part. Hugely traumatic for many months.
I also felt an urge to get back to work and love that I have. It's a bit of a juggling act at times but I'm definitely cut out to be a full time SAHM in an ongoing way.
We also think we just want one child - I sometimes struggle with this for only one reason - will my DS miss out on having a brother or sister. I have never had a yearning to have children, I love DS and couldn't imagine my life without him but I just don't have that yearning that people talk about for another child either.
I think it's so important to let go of guilt - it's pointless really. I felt guilty about not being able to work when pregnant, then guilty about not being able to breastfeed past a month, then guilty about wanting to go back to work - it could go on and on. I just think it's just a personal journey now that I'm going to do it my way and not feel guilty about stuff, sometimes it's hard and at other times it's just a big, fat, f$%k it!
Nice to meet you
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10-10-2012 15:45 #3
Only have time for a quick post but wanted to say you are not alone!
11-10-2012 09:16 #4
It's not at all surprising to hear how you imagined your life. The problem isn't you though, it's society and the way we chalk motherhood, pregnancy and birth up to be a *wonderful*, *joyous* time in our lives, not to mention the most rewarding and satisfying thing a woman can do.
But for many of us, as much as we love being a mother, we also strive to be other things in life. Women never used to have a choice - get married, geet pregnant, quit work (no choice there), become a SAHM. There's a reason so many women fought for choice in the 70's - many of us wanted to do other things besides raise our children.
It's a shame you feel guilty the way you do, but unfortunately not uncommon, even in today's world. You're definitely not alone!! Many of us get a great deal out of work, study, other areas of our lives and motherhood, although a significant part of our lives, doesn't necessarily define us.
Do what you like - it's your life. If you're happy, that can only be good for your child!
11-10-2012 09:36 #5Senior Member
- Join Date
- Oct 2009
Yes, except for me it was the other way around.
I'd always been career driven and never particularly maternal. We made the decision to have children as a 'logical' rather than emotional one, in that we knew I was getting older and we had to do it sooner rather than later.
It took some time to get there, but we did, and I was happy. I hated pregnancy - which I'd always thought would be the case, and the birth ended up in a c-section, and then I couldn't BF, so I continued to feel not very inspired at my maternal abilities by this point.
I went back to work part time for the best part of a year, and then stopped, as I wasn't juggling work and home well.
And I'm not sure when the change happened, but I am now absolutely in love with being a mother and looking after DD. I still desperately miss work, and my career, but I've chosen to be with DD for now and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I never would have previously imagined feeling like that. I used to look at groups of mums at coffee shops and think that I couldn't imagine anything worse than sitting around with a load of mums and kids, rather than being at work. Well, now I am one of those mums, and I love it! I love spending time with my other mum friends, and I love seeing DD play with her friends.
We're now trying for number 2, and I hope I can approach the next pregnancy with less fear than I did the first.
You don't ever need to feel guilty for the way that you feel. Your feelings may change, or they may not, but there is nothing wrong with them. If going back to work suits you and your family then that's great! There are no rights and wrongs about parenting, however much people try to say there are.
11-10-2012 09:37 #6
I know exactly what you mean. I love my DD more than anything but if I'm being really honest I don't love being a mum. I like parts of it and overall I'd rather be a mum than not, but it certainly isn't what I thought it would be, and it doesn't make me feel fulfilled and complete like it does others.
I am definitely only having one child, and it is perfect for me. I still get a lot of patronising comments like "oh, you'll change your mind, you have plenty of time left" as if other people know my life and my feelings better than I do
11-10-2012 10:02 #7
I know the feelings well. Both me and DH wanted a family and were ecstatic when I fell pregnant, even though it was unplanned. We were planning on four kids...
Everything changed pretty quickly, I had to give up my job early and had no luck finding anything else. My pregnancy was draining and uncomfortable, the birth was difficult and breastfeeding didn't work. I developed PND and am still struggling with myself constantly.
I love DD to bits, she is everything we dared to hope she would be and we are content with just her. I don't think we will have another, I'm petrified of the thought of going through it again. I do enjoy staying home with her and being a housewife, but am going to look for a part-time job soon so I can have a bit of a life too.
11-10-2012 16:08 #8
I know how you feel!
I thought I'd be the SAHM type, with playgroups and so on, baking cookies and napping with the baby.
Thanks to ex-DF I am far from that! I had a difficult-ish pregnancy, hard labour and birth, and controlling ex which has brought me to the point where I am now.
I am a single, working mum with shared care of our toddler, and so many friends. I have an amazing housemate, I have drinks, coffee, catch ups and play dates all the time. My toddler and I have found our places in the world by learning from the experiences we were handed.
sure I'm not what I thought I would be or thought I'd want to be, but I am HAPPY!
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11-10-2012 19:44 #9Junior Member
- Join Date
- Oct 2012
I couldn't stand children. Suddenly got clucky one day to my annoyance and shock. Hubby had always said it was up to me whether we had kids. I hate pregnancy but the second my son was born I had the whole life-changing experience. We've just had number two and would have more if we were younger, richer, and pregnancy wasn't so horrible. We both adore being parents. I love my career but I'm only working the minimum I have to while the kids are young.
12-10-2012 06:56 #10
Thank you so much everyone for all your replies. It's so great to know I'm not alone with this. No one understands a new mum like another new mum, that's for sure!
And it's so true about society's expectations. I was talking to DH about this topic the other night and he said the same thing to me - in reality, I still do want to be a SAHM more or less. I'd like to go back to work a couple of days a week but I'd only be doing 4hrs a day max, that's just the way it is in my job. It's just the 'SAHM' tag, to me, conjurs up images from Huggies commercials of happy mums sipping from coffee mugs whilst watching their numerous perfectly behaved children frolicking in their perfectly manicured backyards
The reality is so not like that! I want to be a SAHM but I want to have a life too
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