Let’s kick off with some none motherhood myths, shall we? Here goes.
“I’m sick of hearing that I should be back to my pre-baby weight by now!”
“I’m fed up feeling guilty and never knowing if I’m doing the right thing.”
“I’m such a bad mum for… (insert reason)”
Sound familiar? These for sure aren’t myths! They’re very real.
Most mums battle with this (and then some), and it’s not our fault.
The blame (though I hate laying blame personally) lies in unrealistic expectations of mothers and the myths circulating in the ‘being a mum’ community.
Let’s examine 5 of the most damaging motherhood myths below and debunk them, so you can break free from the pain, enjoy your life (mostly) and be an amazing mama to your kiddies.
Myth 1: “It’ll take X amount of time to get your body back.”
I read tons of articles before becoming a mum about how the female body recovers after birth.
Stories of women with rock hard abs, sporting bikinis with cute, chubby babies hanging off their arms.
I thought ‘that looks great! Count me in!’
I got to the 3-month mark post-birth (both times), and started wondering when my body would ‘bounce’ back?
Even with gentle exercise and eating healthy-ish – when would I get my pre-baby ‘condition’ back?
Needless to say, I never did.
But I’m absolutely OK with that. I wasn’t OK before I debunked the myth mind you!
This myth seriously hurts so many women.
As someone who’s conscious of my appearance (and I’ll bet you’re the same?), this myth has been the hardest to move on from.
But the way I’ve moved on is to see my body for the amazing thing it’s done – growing and birthing two healthy babies.
And allowing me to live the life I want to live – which is to be a mother to my kids.
This is a false myth through and through and that’s the end of it. I have no data/quote to back that up but really think about it.
How can there be an X amount of time for your body to ‘bounce back?’
Why should your body bounce back?
All bodies are different shapes and sizes and this should be the end of it.
Your body has done a miracle act. Remove your obsession with how you look now, and focus on being proud of yourself.
Take off the pressure to bounce back because it’s utter bulls*it. It’s one of the myths about motherhood that needs to be binned!
Myth 2: “Motherhood should be enjoyable!”
Oh, this is the myth of motherhood, surely!
I think there’s a vast difference between motherhood should be enjoyable vs motherhood should always be enjoyable.
Let’s face it, nothing is always enjoyable.
And perhaps this is where we go wrong? Expecting to have a blast every day, and every day of our lives to be roses and sunshine.
Lets bring reality in here.
Some days are just plain flipping hard. Other days are darn boring!
Some days are great, some days are amazing. That’s the truth. Some days we feel like crap.
Other days we’re smashing it. Many days we’re on top form (even though we may not recognise it) and we’ve parented well and can rest easy at the end of the day.
We are cyclical beings, with ebs and flows like the tide.
Mastering this and being OK that some days are down days, and other days are up days, will make your motherhood experience so much more fulfilling and less stressful.
This myth, that motherhood should be enjoyable, puts a tremendous amount of fake pressure on us.
Feelings of failure creep in if this happens, while all the time we’re bombarded with images online of happy smiling families beaming us fake information.
A much more realistic approach is to understand that life is never happy 100% of the time, no matter how hard you try and make it that way.
It’s human nature to want happiness, but this incessant pressure that others have lives like this all the time is fake.
It’s all myth. No mother is having a great time all the time.
So ditch this myth once and for all, step into reality, know that motherhood is a part of your life now, and not some feed on social media, and on the days where it’s really hard, accept it. Swallow it.
And be gentle on yourself knowing that tomorrow brings fresh opportunities.
Know that every other mama is having a somewhat similar experience.
If you can take the bad with the good and appreciate the good when it’s there, and put in some systems (say a good morning routine) to help your days be more enjoyable on the whole, then you’re winning.
Myth 3: “Motherhood comes naturally”
Another myth is how women should naturally feel like a mother. The so called maternal instinct.
It’s quite a toxic myth when you think about it.
The truth is that many women struggle with being a mum. They don’t take to it naturally. It’s not a natural feeling even after months or years of having their child.
That’s not to say they don’t try, but it just doesn’t come naturally or easily, and this makes them wonder ‘what’s wrong with me?’ And therein lies the myth.
Even before the digital age of information overload, women did not always take to motherhood naturally.
Feeling like there’s something wrong with you is a common consequence, and one of the worst feelings in the world.
The truth is that maternal instinct and the innate wisdom of automatically knowing something is largely a myth.
According to this study, mothers learn through doing. That is, the motherhood instinct builds over time, as does the connection to their child.
It’s learnt behaviour and takes time, in some cases, a lot of time, to develop.
Yes, there are some women who take to motherhood more naturally than others, but that’s just how it goes.
Let’s bust the myth of ‘motherhood should come naturally’ right here right now and know that having the intention to be a good mum is better than waiting for any natural feelings to come.
Being intentional with your mothering and taking the action needed to parent well will stand you in good stead for a lifelong, happy relationship with your child.
And know that it’s a myth that motherhood comes naturally, so stop believing it right now!
Myth 4: “Breastfeeding is easy”
I wouldn’t dream of giving you my full breastfeeding story here (it’s a loooong story). But as a summary, breastfeeding wasn’t easy for me.
The early days were horrific. Brutal in fact.
But my desire to breastfeed was strong, and so I continued.
Through perseverance and gritted teeth, I fed my firstborn until he was 16 months old. It got easier around month 2 just for your information.
And I’m now on toddler number two (now 15 months) and still breastfeeding. Now I love it. Well and truly. But it’s not easy.
That’s the worse myth of all in my opinion!
And this is where the myth brews.
In the lies that tell every woman that breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt, that breastfeeding is easy, or that breastfeeding comes naturally.
Here’s the truth!
You need to get help for breastfeeding to work. Someone who can show you how to do it.
Someone to literally put your baby’s mouth to your nipple, helping with angles and positions.
And you need someone around week 3 ish to keep you going and help you not give up.
It’s so hard in the early days with your first baby but get through that and you’ll be flying.
Breastfeeding is the most wonderful connection. Something you’ve never imagined was possible. Looking into the eyes of your baby as they feed at your breast is a truly life-changing experience. If that’s what you want, that is.
Which leads onto myth 5…
Myth 5: “Breast is best”
This myth causes so much upset.
There are mothers who simply can’t breastfeed for certain reasons. Others who don’t want to.
Others who want to but can’t. Others start and then stop due to latch difficulties, pain, or insufficient milk supply.
The reasons are wide, and so is the judgment.
The myth that breast is best is taken to heart by so many women, causing guilt, anguish, and feelings of inadequacy if for whatever reason they don’t end up breastfeeding.
I know several women who’ve suffered mental illness from this myth. The pressure to breastfeed, and the sheer feelings of “I’ve got to breastfeed because it’s best for my baby!”, have caused much anguish to new mothers.
And it’s something we could all do without.
I much prefer the “fed is best” approach.
This takes off the pressure to breastfeed and removes any feelings of failure. There are enough emotions and everything else going on as a new mother, without having to add to the mix.
So stick with the ‘fed is best’ approach and lets help new mums along as much as we can, whatever way they decide to feed their baby.
We’ve covered 5 myths of motherhood here in this post.
Busting myths and rewriting what is really going on is so important for women with children.
Parenting is hard enough, but there are ways to make it easier, and ditching the lies is one way to do so! So congratulations for busting these myths today with me.
Now that we’ve busted these 5 myths about motherhood, you’re no longer under their harmful influence.
You can now parent and be the mother you want to be with confidence and pride in yourself and your ability to be the best mother for your kids.