The joy of mothers knows no bounds when they cradle their newborn babies in their arms. No matter the pain they underwent during the delivery process, they yearn to bond with their babies immediately and look forward to the experience of motherhood. While motherhood is acknowledged as the crowning glory and privilege in being a woman, it comes with its own inherent problems which can make a new mother feel upset, like a failure and insecure about her ability to cope. Unfortunately, in some instances, the trip back from the hospital with the baby can also be the beginning of a nightmare for the new mother. The work that is involved to be a good mother is hard. It is equally long and at times thankless.
Knowing the various problems in motherhood can help prepare you when getting ready to have a baby. You can recognize the problems when they occur and find a solution or get help immediately before things get out of hand.
Motherhood comes with a lot of stress from different sources. Keeping awake to take care of a baby can be very challenging, when previously your idea of motherhood is centered on taking care of a cute and smiley little baby, now, you find out you have been saddled with a small baby who wake up in the night screaming. Exhaustion and lack of sleep coupled with a fussy baby can easily trigger such a switch in emotion. At times, it will be the constant worry that you are not doing the best job possible. You could be afraid that something will happen to your child that you are not spending enough time with the baby especially if you are a career woman, or that you are teaching him enough. You will find that you are constantly pulled between your child’s activities, your partner’s and yours.
Sometimes, the problem is compounded by the lack of help from the spouse, especially when he is not always home due to work commitments, resulting in you having to shoulder the burden of childcare on your own. This can cause resentment to build up and together with exhaustion; they become a potent combination for quarrels to take place. The downhill slide into further unhappiness and depression is but a step away in such a situation.
The constant pull between your children and career may be a recurring problem of motherhood. “At some level, there is still perceived incompatibility between family and the workplace, which disadvantages mothers,” said Stanford Researcher Shelley Carrell, PhD, an associate professor of sociology. Whether you decide to go back to work or you have decided to stay at home with your children, you may harbor guilty feelings either way. A working mother may fret that she is missing her children; while a stay-at-home-mother may worry she is not contributing enough. “I left work, so there is that cut in income. There are hospital bills. My husband is working overtime. This is not even a problem. The problem is my own neurosis,” a mother complained.
Mothers looking for employment are less likely to be hired, are offered lower salaries and are perceived as being less committed to a job than fathers or women without children, according to a recent study of gender inequity in the workplace. What is more, the pay gap between mothers and childless women is actually bigger than the gap between women and men.
What language is appropriate? Can I swear in front of my toddler? Can I have a beer in the presence of my young child? Can I be myself? Most mothers will have feeling of self-doubt, inferiority and inadequacy at some point in time. Have you ever been out and suddenly found yourself judged for the way you held your baby, fed your baby, dressed your baby? Even worse, have you ever had that same judgment by a complete stranger in the middle of a store? Your baby either has on too many clothes or not enough, your baby is either being held too tight or not enough, or you are not disciplining your children properly? Comparing yourself to other mothers is a big problem in motherhood. Watching other mothers who have more resources or programs on the television showing what an ideal mother should be can make you feel an inadequate mother. A 2007 PewResearchCenter report found that working mothers were harder on themselves and gave themselves worse scores for their abilities.
When you become a mother, much of your old schedule is bound to change. If you used to go nightclubbing and painting the town red, your nights may be taken over by domestic chores and childcare. If you previously work long hours, you may find it to be stressful or quit to stay home. Motherhood can skew your view of situations and you can feel lost and confused about who you really are.
“Being a mother can often be a lonely job,” wrote Kristin Darguzas of ParentDish.com. Being with children all day with little interaction with other adults can make you feel isolated. What is more, there is the likelihood that you will feel ostracized when your friends participate in events and you cannot attend because you have to stay with your children. While you may have a thoughtful and helpful partner, he may not be available all the time, which means you need to find ways to stay connected to other adults while fulfilling your responsibilities as a mother.