Parenthood — there’s nothing quite like it! We reflect on the unexpected changes that come with having children.
WORDS REBECCA WONG
Before your baby came along, you may have thought you were more or less ready to become a parent. You read all the material, paid full attention to your doctor’s advice, and chatted with every mum you knew. But trust parenting to take you by surprise, no matter how much preparation you’ve done! We’ve rounded up a list of the top surprises of parenthood.
You May Feel at Your Lowest
You know your baby is supposed to fill you with joy, but thoughts of depression cloud your mind instead. Postpartum depression is an all too real complication for many mums. “Because so many women are not aware of potential emotional complications after childbirth, those who do have these problems end up feeling isolated and alone,” observes Linda Sebastian in Overcoming Postpartum Depression and Anxiety.
Acknowledge that having these feelings doesn’t make you a
bad mother and be sure to reach out for help from
friends, family, or a therapist.
Your Relationship with Your Spouse Changes
You were probably expecting to have less alone time with your spouse, but you may not have expected the dynamics to shift so drastically. “Prior to the child’s birth, spouses direct energy and attention towards each other,” observes Daniel N. Stern and Nadia Bruschweiler-Stern in The Birth Of A Mother: How The Motherhood Experience Changes You Forever. “Now attention is the form of leftovers, and they aren't many of those left at the end of an exhausting day.” Never forget to work at your relationship, setting aside time to reconnect.
You Start to Better Appreciate Your Own Parents
Growing up, your relationship with your parents may have been rife with tension. But the demands of parenthood have made you realise how tough the job really is.
Now, you’ve got a newfound appreciation for your
parent’s struggles, and are much more forgiving of those
long lectures or “unreasonable” curfews.
The fact that they show so much care for their grandchildren is also a testament to how a parent’s love never really ceases.
The Guilt is Relentless
Back when you weren’t a mum, you may not have thought twice about spending the evening getting that mani-pedi. Now, the thought of even a few hours away from your child feels you with guilt. As common as these feelings are, recognise that they are self-defeating and set you up for exhaustion. Make an effort to schedule in “me-time” no matter what. “Take time to nurture yourself, so you, in turn, can nurture others,” advises Gina Ford in The Contented Mother’s Guide. “Looking after yourself is not being selfish.”
You’ll Need Your Friends More Than Ever
There’s no denying that a weekly girls’ night out may not be on the cards. However, don’t neglect to stay in touch with other mums. They can not only offer invaluable advice but a listening ear as well. Singapore has plenty of mum support networks you can join, such as Stork’s Nest Singapore, Mindful Mums, and New Mothers' Support Group (NMSG). Meet up with friends who aren't mums as well, we guarantee you’ll need a break from mum-talk from time-to-time!
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