February 19, 2016
Understanding the Challenges of Motherhood and How to Cope with Them
Written by Rachel Eddins
So you’re about to have your first child. Soon you will be in a whole new stage of life that may well be equally scary and rewarding to you.
Fortunately, you aren’t the first woman who’s gone through this. You can learn from literally thousands of years’ worth of experience in motherhood. Every woman who is entering motherhood for the first time will come across challenges they never considered about before.
What are those challenges, and what are some ways to cope with them?
Handling Your Job
The decision to return to work after having your baby isn’t an easy one for any mother to make. Going back to work might create guilty feelings for not being with your child for most of the day.
However, if you don’t go back to work, you may end up feeling isolated from your network of friends and coworkers. Also, you may very well depend on that extra paycheck to survive (or it could be your only paycheck, if you are a single parent).
To cope with this, try talking to other mothers who have gone through the experience. You may try to work out a flexible schedule with your boss, or pick up a part-time job instead.
Don’t forget that you can change your mind after making your initial decision.
If being a stay-at-home mom isn’t working out for you, then don’t feel like you have to stick with the decision. The same goes if you decide that you’d rather be a stay-at-home mother after initially going back to work.
You’ll Want to Yell at Your Spouse
Parenthood is stressful, especially the first year. You may find yourself angry with your spouse more often than you used to be. In your mind, he may not be pulling his weight with the chores, or maybe isn’t being supportive enough.
Understand that your spouse is going through a new experience, too. If your partner is the main provider in the family, then there is the added stress of having to provide for the baby.
Sit down with your spouse, and talk about your issues, and what you would like to do to resolve them. This will make your life easier, and hopefully lessen the stress felt by both parties.
Just understand that, no matter what, there will be stress involved. Prepare yourself mentally for it, so that it doesn’t turn into a bigger issue.
Breastfeeding is something that seems like it should happen naturally with no problems. After all, isn’t this what your breasts are supposed to do?
However, breastfeeding has proven to be a challenge for some mothers, especially those dealing with their first child. The pressure felt from your family, friends, and doctor to breastfeed can make it even harder to accomplish.
If you are having trouble breastfeeding, then you may want to see a lactation consultant, or talk to other mothers who have gone through this before.
Try to stick with breastfeeding for a few weeks. If it doesn’t improve, consider going with formula instead.
Ignore the breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding debate. What’s important is that your baby receive sufficient sustenance.
Remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you if you end up going the formula route!
You’re Afraid to Make Mistakes
You spilled the formula, you didn’t respond right away when the baby cried because you were sleeping, your house is a mess. There are many things that might make a mother feel inadequate.
First-time mothers, especially, have a desire to be the “perfect mom.”
The biggest thing you can do to help yourself with your fear of making mistakes is to ignore the criticism of everyone around you.
When it comes to babies, everyone has an opinion and may consider themselves an expert. Just thank them for their concern, and keep doing what you feel is the right thing to do.
Join a Support Group for Mothers
When you’re alone in a new or stressful situation it can feel incredibly isolating and overwhelming. A therapy or support group can help you to feel at ease, to connect with other moms just like yourself. A support group can offer you a place to process your fears, frustrations, and concerns.