Why Being a First Time Mom Is So Hard

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No man will understand the joys of motherhood. It’s one of nature’s most powerful processes and is known to be a truly life-changing experience. Giving birth to a child forever bonds a mother to her offspring, and this phenomenon is seen repeatedly across the natural kingdom.

Motherhood, however, comes with its fair share of trials and tribulations as well. Taking care of a baby is, after all, not child’s play, and it can challenge even the best of women. We discuss the many challenges that new mothers have to face in this article and list out why being a first time mom is so hard.

Doubts and Insecurities

Modern parents, in particular mothers, tend to prepare for the birth of their first child as if they were preparing for the SATs. It takes months of reading and learning prior to the actual day of the birth for parents to feel like they have a grip on the situation.

Even after all that, though, it’s perfectly normal for some parents to feel like they have no idea what they’re doing. It’s hard to feel fully confident about a scenario that most people have never experienced during the course of their life, and doubts and insecurities start to creep in.

Becoming a new mother becomes a cerebral game at this point. It comes down to both parents supporting each other through the rough patches and picking up after each other’s shortcomings.

No single parent can fully be equipped to handle a newborn with surety, so if you’re a new mother who’s reading this and feeling unsure of herself, please know that this is all part and parcel of motherhood.

Striving for Perfection

There’s a lot of pressure in raising the first child as most parents attempt to execute all their plans to perfection. There are so many hopes and dreams resting on the newborn that mothers sometimes forget to go with the flow and rely too much on textbook learning to get the job done.

This is because instincts seem like an invalid option to rely on when there are tons of baby books at your disposal. Even though instincts have allowed human beings to perpetuate the story of life for countless generations, it all falls apart in the face of modern science.

Striking a balance between knowledge and instincts is key here. It’s also important to remember that not everything is going to go according to plan, which is perfectly okay. Even the best-laid plans fall apart when they come against the rambunctious attitude of a newborn, and this truly nature’s way!

Tackling Advice

Apart from love and support, another thing new moms get plenty of is advice. Everyone seems to have a suggestion about raising your baby, and everyone seems to think they know better—even the ones without kids (especially the ones without kids!). 

Tackling all of this unsolicited advice can be challenging and overwhelming. Some people seem to make sense and could force you to reconsider your plan of action at the worst possible time.

Just make sure to take all advice with a pinch of salt, because no one really knows what they’re talking about when it comes to raising a child. There’s no one way to do it, and there’s certainly no point questioning your decision-making every step of the way. Simply listen, absorb, and make decisions at your own pace and convenience.

mom with baby

Thinking on Your Feet

There’s tons to do when you’re a new mother, and there’s very little time to actually process your actions while you’re executing. New moms have to think on their feet and be quite good at it too!

You can never plan your baby’s cries or the million other things that happen during the first year of a child’s life. It’s especially hard to think on your feet when you’re probably exhausted and sleep-deprived, which is another issue altogether.

The Lack of Sleep!

Yes, it’s true that children pretty much feed around the clock during their first year, usually around every two to three hours at first. When this is the case, and mom is nursing, it’s hard for her to get more than a couple of hours of sleep each day.

Fighting sleep can be manageable in the first couple of weeks, but sleep deprivation really starts to compound onto itself a few weeks down the line. This is when things get seriously challenging.

Having help around the house can be a real boon for first time moms. A supportive partner, parents, relatives, or friends can help take over whenever the baby is done feeding to help you get some quick shut-eye and catch up on those much-needed hours of sleep.

Internal Stress

After going through the extremely challenging (yet rewarding) ordeal of giving birth to a child, it may seem like the hard part is over. In fact, the challenge has only just begun.

New mothers have to not only have to care for a newborn after this experience, but they also have to deal with the aftermath of their own bodily functions. There’s plenty happening in the physical and chemical structures of a new mom, and all of these complex processes can be difficult to absorb at first. 

Postnatal depression is a very real condition that affects numerous women after childbirth. Their mind and body is swirling with feelings and hormones that they’re simply not used to, and it can overwhelm even the strongest of individuals.

Like with every aspect of raising a child, support is crucial in order to get through these trying times. These feelings and chemicals will pass, and you simply need to weather the storm until then. Having a safe harbor at this point makes all the difference in the world.

mom with kids

Missing Work

Besides introducing a new member to the family, new mothers have to go through tons of other changes during this period, which can be fairly daunting. One of these involves having to miss out on work, socializing with colleagues, and spending time with the outside world at large. That might mean a few months of maternity leave, or it might mean a much longer period of time.

Women are forced to put a pause on their career or even give it up entirely at times in order to support their newborn. Unless they’re mentally prepared for this outcome, it can be quite a difficult thing to give up on with only months to prepare for the change.

Primary Caregiver

Becoming a mother is an instinct that’s gifted from the mother of all mothers—nature herself! It’s a complex and challenging phase in any woman’s life, but it can also be a truly defining moment as well. After all, another life has entered our planet thanks to their generous sacrifices, and it could affect all of us in incredulous ways.

Such a crucial juncture is bound to be wrapped in all sorts of complexities and is certainly not a cakewalk for any woman. There’s a famous saying that nothing worth having comes easy, and it cannot be more true than in the case of new mothers around the world.

I’ve been in your shoes, and it does get easier. It’s the most challenging job in the world, but also the best one. I salute you!

Cristin is a co-founder of Smart Parent Advice, and the loving mother of two wonderful children. In her free time, she can often be found in a yoga studio or catching up on her favorite shows.