Moms – I need your help

May 29, 2012

I have often thought how unprepared for motherhood we are when we give birth. There are articles and courses about what to pack for the hospital, what birth choices we have, and how to sterilise bottles.

But no one talks about the other stuff that counts – how difficult it is, how your marriage might suffer, how your self esteem will take a knock, how you might want your old life back, the postnatal depressions signs to watch out for.

I think we go into parenting with so little preparation and support. In fact, my gynae once told me that she feels sorry for new parents, simply because they are so ill prepared.

And once we’re battling sleep deprivation, cracked nipples and sadness, there is not a massive amount of support either – yes, there are friends, there’s social networking and there’s the postnatal depression support group (if you’ve even had time or clarity to notice the signs and seek help). But there aren’t many groups or avenues that can hold you up, give you a high five, or pass a tissue (or tequila) when you’re battling. Or even when you want your own time out.

I would love to see moms feeling less sad, worried and “alien” and wonder if there’s something I/we could do to change things. I’m really keen to get your take, so if you’re keen or able, please could you comment below:

So my questions to you:

– What do you wish you had have known about motherhood before becoming a mom

– If you got more “real facts” about parenting while pregnant, would you have paid attention?

– What messages should we be giving pregnant and new moms?

– Do you think there is more attention on shopping for baby, rather than tending to feelings, expectations?

 

Thanks a mil in advance

Tanya

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10 Comments

  • Lizanne

    – What do you wish you had have known about motherhood before becoming a mom
    I wish I had really understood that the sleep deprivation would last longer than 6 weeks… I wish I had realised that not all babies are happy to be babysat, so mom and dad can go out, and therefore your marriage suffers a bit. I wish someone had told me that priorities change so dramatically and that my whole life would need reassessing.

    – If you got more “real facts” about parenting while pregnant, would you have paid attention?
    Probably, provided they were from a reliable source.

    – What messages should we be giving pregnant and new moms?
    That its hard, freaking heartbreakingly hard, but totally worth it. And that they really aren’t alone when their kids don’t sleep through at 18 months, and that its ok to feel lonely and lost, but that other moms understand.

    – Do you think there is more attention on shopping for baby, rather than tending to feelings, expectations?
    Hell yes! Everyone told me what I would need physically for baby, but no-one helped me prepare emotionally. I had to laugh in church on Sunday, as our church is doing a “course” on the 11th for expectant parents to help them prepare for what life with kids will be like… if only we had known about that when we were pregnant the first time…

    May 29, 2012 at 6:10 am Reply
    • Tanya

      I know – I wish we were better equipped! Thanks for your comments.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:25 pm Reply
  • Lebogang Xolo

    Hi, I wish I’d known that I’m a perfect candidate for postnatal depression. My A-type personality, an ectopic just 3months before our son, a difficult pregnancy, fertility treatment, my baby being in icu, very low milk supply. So many tickers and yet nobody warned me about it.

    Would I have not have a baby, hell no, we went through the ends of the earth to get my son, and we love him dearly. But preparation would have been great help, I mean I didn’t even know what pnd was until after my son’s birth.

    New mommy out there, don’t try to be a superwoman. Shout if you need help, rest as much as possible. If you don’t feel like yourself, like something is a bit off, please tell someone. Reach out for help, you are not alone, there’s a lot of women who have gone through this and have survived. This is nothing to be ashamed of, and its definitely not your fault. Screening for potential pnd would be a blessing, Most other countries do it, all my american friends have gone through it, yet here in SA it doesn’t even exist. Make information accessible, I’m one of the lucky middle class who can access internet, yet there’s not much information except pndsa. I got my help from UK and USA…

    May 29, 2012 at 6:21 am Reply
    • Tanya

      Thank you so much! PS: I’ve just discovered your awesome blog now 🙂

      May 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm Reply
      • Lebogang Xolo

        🙂 Thank you. If you come across any mommy suffering, please refer them to my blog, sometimes just knowing that someone out there went through the same thing makes one feel better.

        May 30, 2012 at 5:41 am Reply
  • Michelle Gross

    Falling pregnant with my eldest child, my daughter Caitlin was such an exciting experience for us. When a couple conceive a baby, the child is created from pure love however the romantic notion of actually having a baby is a real reality shock I would discover.

    There are countless handbooks that are written with advice for Africa literally, not to mention many tips from all your friends with children and other older matriarchs. The simple fact is that no one child is like another and certainly your mothering approach isn’t like another moms.

    I found there to be such a build up to the actual moment of birth and not enough emphasis on your actual life with your new baby. At the risk of comparing us with animals, we seem almost inept as parents at times while for a wild animal it comes so instinctively, I often envied the natural know-how of animal moms.

    Ponder the notion “a mother is born VS A born mother? ”

    Ante-natal classes are important but should cover a wider variety of things like breastfeeding, colic and other pesky baby growing-pains, vaccinations and infant care, working and raising a family, weaning, growth milestones, child’s play,post-natal depression and relationship counselling. These are just some of the realities and I’m sure the list could go on for ever.

    I also wish that I had more slaps on the back and compliments for my mothering skills as opposed to the compliments of my beautiful child. The mother seems forgotten at times and its important to keep her self esteem and confidence high with encouraging words.

    I certainly don’t begrudge my kids – they have trimmed and softened my edges and taught me a great deal.

    Something I wish I had realised was just what selfless work it is – children by nature are completely dependant beings and a parent must provide the entire infrastructure for their lives. As a mom my life revolves around the family and I put their needs first before my own – like a lioness would. Peace and quiet are a rare commodity and when I have it, I don’t know what to do with it. The irony!

    It is important to have a support structure – be it family and friends, colleagues or a caregiver who can assist you. The worst thing that can happen is that parents resent their children because they they are sleep deprived for instance – there is always a solution and sometimes it pays to listen to an educated ear who is outside of the problem and can offer reliable and assuring advice.

    Life always comes full circle.

    Being a mum I realise how much I love my mother and all the hard work and sacrifices she made for us! It is truly humbling and looking back the process I have gone through to see that is rewarding and unique for me.

    May 29, 2012 at 7:07 am Reply
    • Tanya

      Thank you for your awesome input! Much appreciated

      May 29, 2012 at 1:24 pm Reply
    • Tanya

      Thanks Michelle for the brilliant response. Much appreciated!

      June 1, 2012 at 10:45 am Reply
  • jenny

    As an editor of a pregnancy magazine all I can say is all the real information is there. In black and white. Truth is, preggy moms don’t really want to hear the truth. We had one woman in our office come back from maternity leave and say ‘why didn’t you tell me it would be so hard?’ We did, you just didn’t want to hear it.

    May 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm Reply
  • Kim Muller

    – What do you wish you had have known about motherhood before becoming a mom
    I wish I had known just how badly I would miss my sleep. I mean, I knew about the sleep deprivation but I never knew it would be so bad.
    That baby boys will pee in any direction. And it will hit you.
    That your need to work on your marriage constantly when baby comes. You are still a woman and a wife, not just a mommy.
    That my crying baby will push me to do things I never thought I could do. And the love you feel for him surpasses everything else.

    – If you got more “real facts” about parenting while pregnant, would you have paid attention?
    Yes I would’ve. I Googled everything, asked loads of questions and asked those moms to be brutally honest with me. It doesn’t help when you sugar coat things. Nowadays, when pregnant women ask me anything, I ask them if they the real truth or not.

    – What messages should we be giving pregnant and new moms?
    That motherhood is THE hardest thing you will ever do but it also THE most rewarding.
    That whatever you’re going through, you aren’t the only one. There is at least one other mom that is also struggling to get her 16 month old to sleep through the night and eventually out of her bed…..
    That there is help out there and they shouldn’t try to be superwoman.

    – Do you think there is more attention on shopping for baby, rather than tending to feelings, expectations?
    Yes I do. Throughout my entire pregnancy, all focus was on baby clothes, nursery items, must have goodies and nice to have goodies. I didn’t get a lot of feedback on the emotional aspect, giving your marriage attention, how to handle being a working mom, etc. We need to talk about these things and not sugar coat it for new moms.

    June 4, 2012 at 7:31 am Reply
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