Long before I even thought of starting a family, I thought I’d be a natural mom. I imagined I’d ease into taking care of a baby, and that my baby would come first before anything else. I planned on taking care of my baby and family, breastfeed without a hitch, spend much of the day cuddling with baby, and feel completely fulfilled.
I had a picture in my mind that I’d be able to juggle motherhood, career, and home life. I mean, other women could do it – why couldn’t I? They made it look so easy! Aren’t we as women supposed to be natural moms? Where did these preconceived ideas and unrealistic expectations come from?
Media’s depiction of motherhood is quite deceiving. You’ll see images of confident supermoms in print ads, TV commercials, and magazines who seem to be juggling everything effortlessly. Rather than feel empowered by these images, they add pressure for women to strive for perfection.
According to research, most new mothers struggle to form an instant bond with their baby. A survey of more than 2,000 women revealed that most didn’t feel like a ‘natural mother’ following the birth of their baby.
I’m sure I wasn’t alone; many women have the vision of having a wonderful birthing experience, a hands-on husband, and a supporting family. It’s disappointing then to have your plans go awry; the natural childbirth you hoped for ended up being a C-section, breastfeeding caused cracked and bleeding nipples, and the husband who was supposed to help you breathe through labor ended up passing out on the hospital floor. This is the real normal.
To add more pressure, some cultures are still very much entrenched in tradition. In my husband’s and my own culture, women are still regarded as responsible for taking care of household chores and children. The house should be immaculate. If your house isn’t sparkling clean, then you aren’t a good mother. A good mother wouldn’t have dirty floors and a dirty house, no . . . what a disgrace! A mother who would go out with her girlfriends instead of staying home with the kids? Terrible!
To top it off, women are expected to naturally move into the role of the perfect mother who can cook, clean, and take care of baby—and husband too. Motherhood should be second nature; women are multi-taskers and can do it all. I’d hear other older ladies say, “She can handle it.” I was a supermom before I even became a mom.
Were you expected to be a natural mom?