Motherhood is a fascinating time in a woman’s life and one where a lot of changes occur. There are a whole lot of myths that revolve around it. We feel that it is our duty to debunk these myths to help newly mothers out there.
A Whole New World?
A whole industry has sprouted around it, of course, with tons of angles being looked at as a starting point for profit. It’s not hard to see why, either, as mothers — particularly first-time moms — and their newborns have a host of new, quite specific needs that must be addressed. Everything from feeding to cleaning to bathing to dressing to information about all those things is a need that has been targeted.
Here are some whoppers, and the lowdown on what a new mom should really know.
MYTH 1: DON’T DRINK COFFEE WHILE PREGNANT
The jury’s actually still out on this, with studies pointing in the direction of caffeine being linked to the child’s chances of acquiring attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, many studies also show no adverse effects in mothers who take 3-4 cups a day during pregnancy. Listen to your doctor, of course, but some doctors suggest that merely moderating intake
WHAT TO DO: (perhaps to less than those 3 cups to be on the safe side) may be better overall than trying to quit cold turkey, which can be stressful on the system.
MYTH 2: YOU’LL FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR BABY AT FIRST SIGHT
Dial back those dirty looks, please. It’s romantic to anticipate an instant connection with your baby upon seeing each other for the very first time, and indeed many mom-baby pairs do experience this. But don’t think less of yourself if that doesn’t happen right away, or for a while.
REALITY CHECK: Many moms don’t experience that quick emotional click, but the unfortunate part is they blame themselves and think there’s something wrong with them.
The intensity of giving birth, especially if labor was more demanding on you than you’d hoped, may be clouding your emotional processes. Then there’s all the enormity of the whole thing which really comes into focus when your little one shows up in person for the first time — it can be pretty daunting. So go easy on yourself.
MYTH 3: BREASTFEEDING IS EASY… IF YOU’RE A GOOD MOM
Actually, anything qualified with “if you’re a good mom” should probably be dismissed as a myth, and indeed a kind of hurtful one. So many new moms go through feelings of shame and guilt when they have trouble breastfeeding because they’ve been culturally taught to associate breastfeeding — and the ease of taking to it — with good motherhood.
REALITY: Nursing can be painful, and it’s far from intuitive, so learn the proper positions to make it easier on you and the baby. Even then, for some moms, it may take a day or two for the milk to come.
MYTH 4: THE BABY WILL FIX YOUR MARRIAGE
Yikes! Aside from the self-esteem-damaging myths, this is probably the biggest red flag on this list.
WHAT’S REAL! No, the baby is not going to fix your marriage, or frankly anything. Don’t put that kind of pressure on the child, please. Parenthood is a challenging new phase in a couple’s life, especially once the glow of the new experience fades, and exhaustion makes communication even more difficult than normal.
MYTH 5: THE BABY WILL WRECK YOUR MARRIAGE
Now some might think this is truer than the previous one. Some might have even avoided having a baby because of this myth.
The Truth: This doesn’t have to be true at all. If your relationship is not ready for a child, the two of you can reach an agreement not to have one. But if you’re at a point in your life where you can add a player to your team and not compromise your dynamic — keeping in mind you will all need to adjust regardless of how “prepared” you are — then that should be agreed upon too. Having a child isn’t an automatic heal-all, but the experience isn’t a death sentence either, come on.
MYTH 6: YOU SHOULD ENJOY EVERY MOMENT
Your mother, or aunt, or any elderly busybody has probably given you this remark: “enjoy every moment, it goes by so fast.”
What you should keep in mind: While moments do in fact go by “so fast,” it’s healthier to keep a more realistic view of motherhood, especially soon after the birth. It won’t all be enjoyable baby-powder commercial stuff. Your less-positive feelings, whether they be of frustration or apprehension or fear triggered by any of the many uncertain moments that follow, are all as valid as your positive feelings of excitement or pure joy. Feeling this and not knowing all the answers doesn’t make you a bad mother in the least. For that matter, excitement and pure joy can be sweeter when they aren’t the only things you’re feeling.
MYTH 7: VACCINES ARE BAD FOR YOUR BABY
This is a myth, full stop!
Medical Studies Show: Vaccines continue to be necessary to prevent disease — studies indicate disease rates have started climbing now that many parents opt out of giving their children vaccines. Lots of wrong information out there has continually tried to make vaccines look unsafe and unreliable, but these are some of the most effective and safe treatments available, and that’s by design. For that matter, a` baby getting vaccinated isn’t the only one benefiting from the vaccine — other babies too.
On a Final Note…
Don’t just believe in what other people say or what you read online, especially when it comes to your health and the health of your baby. Do your research and talk to experts. Being a new mom is hard but it is also a joyful experience. Take advantage of that!