There are a lot of misconceptions about raising children in our culture. Some are the result of stereotypes and myths that were passed on to us as we grew up.
We also absorb – often without even realizing it – images and stories in popular culture, media and advertising of happy mothers, smiling babies, soft lighting and plush pillows.
This often results in an unrealistic image within our community of women who are perfect mothers, dads who are hands-on and always present, babies who are easy to manage and lives that are fulfilled and almost perfect.
It is important to note that many new parents come into parenthood with certain expectations of themselves as parents and of how parenting will unfold in their new family.
The reality is often very different. And sometimes the shock of unmet expectations and adjusting to this new reality can contribute to postpartum anxiety or depression.
My first two years of motherhood were extraordinarily difficult and completely different from what I had imagined.
Common myths about parenting
- Mothers should be calm, grateful and confident.
- Mothering is intuitive and happens naturally.
- Childbirth should be welcomed and celebrated in its entirety.
- Mothers immediately attach themselves to their babies.
- A mother is selfish if she expresses her own needs.
- A good mother is always available for her child.
- Couples still agree on parenting approaches.
- The birth of a healthy baby puts an end to all previous pregnancy-related losses.
According to parenting myths, as soon as you lay eyes on your baby, you fall in love. As if this magical moment erased all doubts, all fears and all your anxieties.
It is as if at the time of birth you are given a guide to perfect parenting. Thus, these myths almost make us believe that as soon as the baby and the parents meet, the latter immediately know what to do.
They know how to calm him down, they know how to change him and what he needs at all times. Then the baby is a real angel. He never cries. He just sleeps and eats. In short, parenting myths sell us a dream that does not exist.
For me, the magic of motherhood did not appear the first time I held my baby in my arms. Not even in those first few weeks when life as I knew it was gone and my new life in my old body began.
The realities of parenthood
- Parenting is difficult and stressful work that involves long hours of work and little time off.
- It can take several weeks for a new mother or father to bond with their baby.
- Motherhood is not just instinctive; a woman learns to parent over time.
- Couples can often experience unexpected differences in core parenting values and approaches, which can sometimes be a source of conflict and tension.
- The birth of a new baby can often reactivate past trauma and feelings of loss and grief.
The reality of parenthood can come as a shock to some people. During pregnancy, parents accumulate a lot of stress, worries and doubts. So when the birth finally comes, they are exhausted!
And childbirth adds a layer, if I may say so …
Indeed, do not believe what the media tell you about the magic of parenthood. Love takes time to develop. Thus, the bond you have with your child is certainly incomparable, but you should not expect it to appear suddenly or to be instantaneous.
Like any relationship, it takes time to get to know each other and develop a strong bond. In addition, we must not forget all the drastic changes that occur overnight.
We must accept that a myth is only a myth
One of the most common myths about raising children is that mothers attach themselves to their babies instantly and naturally. There are even a lot of women who say that during their pregnancy they heard that it could happen, but never thought it could be a problem for them.
The truth is, your baby is a little person you need to get to know and relate to, just like everyone else. It may take a long time! Sometimes new moms who are overwhelmed and exhausted are disappointed that they don’t have that “magical” moment they’ve been waiting for so long.
We know that some women also develop difficult feelings if they think their partner will become attached to their baby more quickly. It could be a feeling of guilt for not having felt more strength for the little one, resentment towards the partner, or sadness for not feeling what they thought they were feeling.
Many new moms and new dads focus on the first few weeks and expect everything to happen at the same time. It is important to remember that feelings of love and a strong bond with the baby can sometimes take a long time to develop. And that the well-being of the baby will not be negatively affected if it takes time.
As a new parent, it is important to understand your own definition of a « good enough » parent.
Knowing that you may have special expectations about your role as a parent, and understanding why, can help you make sense of your reactions if things don’t turn out the way you planned.
Likewise, if you understand that many of the beliefs you had before you became a parent are in fact myths, it can help you prevent these misconceptions from negatively affecting your image of yourself as a parent. as new mom or new dad.
However, if the gap between your expectations and the reality of parenthood is negatively impacting your emotional and mental well-being and affecting your day-to-day functioning for more than two weeks, it’s time to seek professional help. health confidence.
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