Fawn McNeil-HaberJessica PizzoNew MomsParents

When Motherhood is Not What You Expected – And How Mom Groups Can Help

You’ve been planning for your new baby’s birth and now they’re here. Maybe it is everything you hoped, but more than likely, you’ve been faced with a lot of new challenges and adjustments. It can feel overwhelming and isolating. You may be focused on your baby’s development, but remember that motherhood is a new stage of development for you too. This is not the experience of motherhood too often shared on social media or in facebook mom groups.

Whether it’s your first, second or fourth, the struggle is real. It’s a huge adjustment and identity transformation that can be disorienting. It may even leave you feeling lost and alone at times.

You are not alone.  Here are 3 of the most common struggles mom’s rarely get to talk about and how mom groups can help. 

New Mom with her new baby

1. Expectations vs Your Experience

Naturally you’ve had expectations of what the start of parenthood would be like. Sometimes reality ends up being quite different from what you expected. Maybe your birth didn’t go as planned and it was a painful or scary experience for you. Perhaps your adoption experience gave you little time to prepare. Maybe bonding or breastfeeding has been a struggle. Maybe you just aren’t experiencing the joy everyone talks about.

2. Identity Changes in Motherhood

You may feel like a stranger in your own body and mind. The hormones in your body and the experience of birth have drastically changed you physically, as well as emotionally. Or maybe you have a natural urge to care for your baby and may be struggling with losing other parts of your identity in this shift to motherhood. These changes to who you are as a person, your body, how you relate to your partner, and how you feel about yourself can be a struggle to navigate.

3. Self Judgment in New Moms

Finally, new mothers commonly put a great deal of pressure on themselves to do things a certain way. Negative self-talk or self judgement can be a hard voice to quiet if you worry that you’re not doing things good enough.

These struggles are just as common in new motherhood as the crying and diapers. Above all, know that you are not alone! New mothers everywhere can commiserate with the thoughts and feelings you’re having in this time of constant change.

You can navigate these uncharted waters of your life with…

1. Self-Compassion

You are now supporting a brand new life. Be kind and gentle to yourself after all that you’ve been through. The labor of pregnancy and birth mean that you’ve been through an incredible transformation and naturally will need rest and recuperation. Even if you are a mom that did not labor, caring for another human life is a huge responsibility.  Asking for help is another way of taking care of your new baby. There’s no reason you need to do it all alone! You are stronger with support.

Cup of coffee with a heart on it at a new moms group

2. Self Care – The more rest and care you can give to yourself, will be a gift to your new baby as well. Remember that your self care is just as important. It may feel overwhelming to fit in a moment for yourself, but start with just two minutes a day. Take a short walk, a meditation break, or a hot shower to give your mind and body a break when possible.

3. Community – Reach out for help with your partner, family or friends. Beyond that, join communities of new mothers that are going through the same thing. You can join an online mom groups and/or support groups. You’ll be able to support one another through the challenges you are going through. The pandemic may make it hard to connect but remember we weren’t made to do this alone.

Feel free to let us help…

Our support group Braving New Motherhood can be a great outlet, source of support, and helpful learning experience for you in this time of transition.  

New moms group

Here is why we are so excite about this new therapeutic support group.

  • Social Support – All of the feelings and experiences that you’re having that leave you wondering – is this normal? – will likely be shared by your fellow new mothers in their own stages of adjustment.
  • Sharing is Healing – It can be difficult for some mothers to feel open to talk about certain topics because of fear of judgment. The Braving New Motherhood group seeks to create a safe space for mothers going through similar things where you can share your fears, thoughts, and experiences without judgment.
  • Gain New Perspectives – Worried about sharing? Listening to the stories of others in mom groups can be an incredibly valuable experience of its own, and can make you feel less alone in your experiences of motherhood.
  • Work with a Therapist – A trained perinatal and postpartum therapist will guide the group through discussions and impart coping techniques for various challenges you may be facing. Your fellow group members can also share tips and challenges that give you new perspectives, or helpful techniques to try in your own life.