GUEST POST - TRANSITIONING INTO MOTHERHOOD

Mother and daughter - the transition into motherhood

INTRO

It was Mothers Day in Australia yesterday, and I thought this was a perfect opportunity  to ask my lovely daughter-in-law, Hannah, if she'd like to write a guest post for me. She graciously accepted and is sharing about transitioning into motherhood (she is the mother of our delightful grandbaby Sophia and has another baby on the way). It's a reminder for us all of those early days of being a Mum - and how we learnt to adjust. So, without further ado - let me introduce you to Hannah. (BTW Hannah has also just started her own blog called Woman on the Way - perhaps you could pop over afterwards and say Hi!)

SLEEP DEPRIVATION

A bit over two years ago, I became a mother to a beautiful little girl who we called Sophia May. It was my lifelong dream to become a mother, and finally after 25 years, it happened. I had planned for this time, reading books and talking to other mums about what to expect. However, nothing prepared me for the shock that the transition to motherhood gave me.

I have never been one to cope well with lack of sleep. In fact, I would say I have higher than average sleep needs – 9 to 10 hours is my ideal although I can function okay on about 8. Of course, this sort of sleep is just not possible with a newborn! Sophia was actually a pretty decent sleeper at night, at the beginning only waking 2 or 3 times and then only once through to when she was about 8 months old. It wasn’t just her waking that made sleep difficult for me though. I developed postnatal anxiety and this made it very difficult for me to relax enough to go to sleep. I would take hours to drop off, only to have to repeat the process every time Sophia woke me up for a feed. This resulted in a very tired, very grumpy me, and I began to wonder when the dividends were going to pay for all the sacrifice I was making for this TINY UNGRATEFUL HUMAN!!!

Mother and daughter - the transition into motherhood
Soooo Tired!

LOSS OF CONTROL

I had read a book about developing a routine with your baby which promised that if I followed their recommendations, everything would be fairly hunky-dory and predictable by the time the baby was around 12 weeks old. I came to despise this book when it didn’t happen, at the same time despising myself for somehow not being able to get my child to comply with what the “rule-book” said. I saw myself as a failure as a mother – where other mums at church had babies who would sleep quietly in their prams throughout the 1.5 hour service, I battled to get my daughter to have longer than a 45 minute nap at home in her cot. Looking back on it, I see now that my expectations were ridiculous, but at the time the loss of control over what my day looked like was devastating for me.

FEELINGS

I think I expected that after I gave birth, I would be overwhelmed by an unsurpassed love for my child that would make every sacrifice I made for her seem trivial, and every day with her interesting. I was shocked to find myself instead feeling quite resentful of Sophia and the burden her care placed on me. In the first few months I didn’t even find her particularly interesting – she just didn’t do very much (my husband and I used to affectionately call her our little “blob”). Don’t get me wrong, I did experience a mother’s love, but I found it to be something that grew over time rather than being instantaneously there in massive proportions. It also didn’t necessarily obliterate other more negative feelings that arose in me, as I expected it would.

The transition into motherhood
She was a blob at first… a very cute blob who didn’t do much at all

ADJUSTING MY ATTITUDE

So how did I get through this challenging time and adjust to my new role as mother? Well there were a few things that helped, but I’d like to focus on the most important one for me – my faith in Jesus. I believe God brought these challenges to me to teach me about myself and my need for Him. I realised how utterly self-centred I was, placing my own comfort, happiness and need for control above everything else and everyone else around me. This wasn’t the example that Jesus my Lord gave or how He calls me to live as a Christian. He came as a servant to the needs of those around Him and died on a cross to pay the debt to God that sinful humans owe. If He, my King, was a servant, then why should I expect my life as His follower to be different? I needed to have an attitude change and Philippians 2:3-7 told me what that needed to be: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves…. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God…. emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant….”

I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that realising my attitude and expectations were wrong was the beginning of things improving for me. God never intended motherhood to be about satisfying my own selfish wants and desires. He intended it to teach me to serve others more and so become more like Him. Of course, this isn't something I am able to do in my own strength – I have to daily depend on Him to give me the strength, wisdom and patience to mother our little girl well. I think that’s the whole point actually.


THE NEXT ONE

Our second child will be born in August this year and I think it's going to be another time of testing for me. Will I have a different (less selfish) attitude this time and will that make a difference to my experience of the whole thing? I hope so, only time will tell. I can say this though: I now absolutely love being mother to my beautiful Sophia and I am so grateful to God for teaching me all He has. I am somewhat apprehensive of the (surely) many more things God has to show me through “trials of various kinds” (James 1:2), but at least now I can say with the psalmist “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”

Mother and daughter - the transition into motherhood
Mother and daughter
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Thanks to my lovely daughter-in-law for guesting today and don't forget to visit it Hannah at:
Woman on the Way  (https:www.womanontheway.com)
We all remember what it was like to start a blog from scratch - it's hard work and such a joy when others stop by to share some love.



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The transition into motherhood is not always an easy one


73 comments

  1. Hello Hannah! I'm Sue and I'm Leanne's BBB (Best Blogging Buddy). My daughter had her first baby 4 years ago and having worked in the corporate world, with very little contact with little humans, Ethan was a shock to the system. He suffered colic and it was so distressing but like you she came to terms with it all and is a wonderful mother. Her second child is due June 10 so I'm sure she will feel much more confident this time around. It was lovely to meet you after hearing about you and your gorgeous Sophia. Good luck with baby #2 and I must tell Rachel to check out your website. P.S. Great guest post for Mother's Day , Leanne. xx
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

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    1. Hi Sue - isn't it exciting that we both get to be Nans again in the next few months - excited for our kids, but also pleased for us that we have another little one to spoil (although I get in trouble for being such a pushover!)

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  2. Thanks Sue! I've heard all about you too so it's nice to connect like this :-). I've entered the blogging world thanks to Leanne and I must say I am very much enjoying it! All the best to your daughter with her second bub too.

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  3. Hello Hannah, and Leanne,
    No one, I repeat no one, can ever take the place of a mother.
    So precious and unique is her role -- primarily to her child, and through her child to everyone else in the family and to the community.
    I am glad that in today's world, when a person's value is weighed in terms of salary, promotions, and material possessions, the significance of motherhood, for which there is no salary or promotions, is widely spoken of, recognised and more importantly, valued.
    Motherhood, which comes with all its trials and tribulations, is a role to be greatly proud of, mainly because a mother plays such a significant role in the development (especially emotional development) of a child. Mother plays a big role in the making of a good human being.
    Wish you all the very best, Hannah!
    I shall now drop by at Hannah's blog.
    Pradeep / bpradeepnair.blogspot.in

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    1. Hi Pradeep - you are so right about how important mothers are - they are often undervalued these days and I think every parent who invests themselves in the life of a child should be recognized for their efforts. Those early days with no sleep are definitely the toughest (but there's always a new challenge - even when your kids become adults!)

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    2. Thanks for your comment Pradeep, it's encouraging to hear the role of mother being spoken of in such positive terms. Being mum is truly a great responsibility and a great privilege!

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  4. Leanne, thank you for introducing us to Hannah. Hannah, good to meet you, and oh yes, I identify with so many of your initial reactions, although many years ago now. I remember squinting at this helpless little baby lying on the bed in the nursing home a few hours after her birth and thinking, "You'd better be worth all that!" My roommate was the traditional "Oh isn't she gorgeous and beautiful and perfect?" type of new mum. Me? Definitely not so much. But time changes so much, and of course she was worth every scrap of "all that"! Is it true that Variety is the Spice of Life?



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    1. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one Shirley! I had friends who were also of the "madly in love at first sight" type and I spent a long time feeling guilty that that wasn't me! I think it's just that everyone's journey is different - perhaps those mums find managing a toddler much harder, whereas for me it's a breeze compared to the initial hard days! And of course now I madly love my daughter ever so much and would say a thousand times over that it was worth every scrap of effort and sacrifice that I made :-).

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    2. They don't warn you about how tough new motherdom is do they Shirley - or maybe they do and we don't believe them. My time with new babies is a bit of a haze - mainly from sleep deprivation!

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  5. Love Hannah's honesty. I remember a culture among young Mothers of never admitting struggles with their new borns, glad this attitude is out. Babies/children are a lot of work!

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    1. I'm not sure that it's an attitude that's completely out sadly Haralee - but I do have friends who have also been honest about their struggles so that is encouraging to me. I think we need to be real about the pain as well as the joy! As they say, nothing in life worth doing is easy :-)

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    2. I think the Yummy Mummy culture of today would be such a hard thing to live up to Haralee - all these women who seem to have it all and are so "perfect" - such a hard image for normal women to deal with isn't it?

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  6. Wonderful, honest insights into the joys and despair of new motherhood. And yes, we all love our little ones even tho they turn our lives upside down. Babies really are miracles from the Lord, aren't they? I'm looking forward to visiting your blog, too, Hannah

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    1. They certainly are - I still look at Sophia sometimes and wonder over the fact that she is half of me and half of my husband and started from just two cells that met. It's incredible. Thanks for your comment and for stopping by my blog :-)

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    2. She's also 1/4 me - and that just blows my mind to think that we are part of an ongoing family legacy! Children are definitely a blessing from the Lord - but that doesn't guarantee they'll be easy to raise :)

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  7. Transitioning into Motherhood can be hard, but so rewarding!! I hope you had a fabulous Mother's Day!! xoxo

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    1. For sure Nikki, there are both those elements to it (thankfully there's the reward too or else no one would have children lol). Thanks for your comment :-)

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    2. It's really a huge undertaking Nikki - but the payoff is worth the struggle isn't it?

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  8. Love the honesty Hannah shares in this post. I'm not yet a mother, but I can only imagine how one's life changed once you bring a life into this world. I've seen my sister and friends experience many of the same things. Kudos to all of you Mom's out there who sacrifice so much!

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    1. I have come to appreciate the sacrifices my mum made in raising me and my siblings so much more since I became a mother myself! It is truly a role to be highly prized and it's encouraging to hear of others like yourself who speak well of it :-).

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    2. It's like all things in life - until you experience it yourself, you don't truly grasp the highs and lows - you think you understand by watching, but experience adds another layer on top of it all.

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  9. Hannah, I think you need to write the next 'Self Help for Mothers' book! With some realistic 'what-to-expects' and a large dose of faith and reliance on the Lord. I'd buy a copy!

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    1. That's sweet of your Diane, we'll see how my blogging goes for a start - maybe there'll be a book somewhere down the track ;-). It would be heavy on reliance on the Lord for sure!

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    2. When you're famous Hannah I'll be able to say - "I knew her when she was just a Mum doing it tough and doing it with love and a smile!" xx

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    3. You'll also be able to say "I taught her everything she knows!" ;-)

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  10. What a beautiful mother and baby! How lucky you all are.

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    1. Thank you Laurie, it is certainly true that I have received far more blessing than I deserve :-)

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    2. They're both beautiful inside and out Laurie - we are so fortunate to have them in our family.

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  11. I rely on posts like that and the experiences of others to form a solid opinion about motherhood as I haven't had the chance yet to ponder over that or go through it myself. I can only imagine what a lovely yet challenging experience it might be!

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    1. Glad you found my post helpful Chelf. I'm not sure whether I missed out on similar honesty from other mums before I had kids or whether I just ignored it and blithely formed my own opinions on what it would be like, but I do wonder how my experience would have been different if I'd had more realistic expectations.

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    2. Motherhood is different for everyone isn't it Chelf? At least if we go in with our eyes open and then use that to make our own experience deeper and more fulfilling then it's worth listening to those who have gone down the path ahead of us :)

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  12. Being a mother these days seemed liked way to much work so I didn't have kids. I am sure the rewards far out number the challenges for most though.

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    1. Sounds like you anticipated the challenges far more than me, Heather! But as you say, the rewards do make it all worthwhile :-)

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    2. It's a difficult choice for women isn't it Heather? Do we sacrifice and have children or do we simplify and stay child free. It's different for us all and always an interesting point of discussion.

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  13. Thank you Hannah for such an honest and vulnerable sharing of motherhood- I'm sure your words bring comfort to so many new (and old) moms during this holiday time. Here's hoping your transition into being a mother of two brings joy, laughter and an abundance of self-care.

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    1. Thank you Lois, it is a bit scary to think I'll be doing it all again in a few months time! Hopefully a bit better having learnt from experience though...

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    2. Number two is the next mystery isn't it? We assume we have it all worked out with the first one - but when the second is a different kettle of fish the learning curve begins again. Hopefully No2 will be as delightful as Sophia x

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  14. It is a such a strange transition. It was something I desperately wanted but then felt guilty for not embracing all the changes.

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    1. I completely relate, I felt exactly the same. I guess it's hard to anticipate the level of upheaval it will bring to your life for a while though - a shock to the system that takes a little while to adjust to!

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    2. The message that women get today is that it will all come together smoothly if you are hands on and well organized and follow all the great advice on the internet. The trouble is that babies haven't been told that - and they don't stick to the rules!

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  15. I love this post Hannah, and that you are courageous in tackling a subject that is often a bit taboo - resentment towards our children and major adjustment issues in motherhood! Thanks for your honesty xx

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    1. Thanks Sue, I think it would've helped me if others had been candid about the subject before I had kids, so I am endeavouring to do just that :-).

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    2. It was lovely to see how much support there's been from other blogging mums who have experienced similar journeys with their babies Sue - that's one of the joys of blogging - community :)

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  16. Hello Hannah and Leanne! I had read your post and you know what? It is a totally inspiring sharing! Motherhood was never easy for women ! But you had done it sucessfully! Thank you so much for your sharing!

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    1. I think being a mother is in fact the toughest yet most rewarding job in the world! Glad you appreciated my post :-)

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    2. Hi Quoc - thanks so much for stopping by and I'm so glad you enjoyed Hannah's post - it was lovely having family share on my blog and for it to be such a relatable post x

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  17. It is lovely to meet you Hannah. I know that motherhood first time round is particularly challenging. Well-done to you on finding your way...and congratulations to you on the upcoming arrival of another child.

    Thank you so much for linking up for #lifethisweek 20/52. Next week's optional prompt is My Biggest Fear. 21/52. #LifeThisWeek. Denyse

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    1. Thank you Denyse, let's hope I've learnt something for the second one!

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    2. We're all excitedly looking forward to No2 Denyse - if Hannah and our son do as good a job with the next as they have with Sophia then my heart will be very happy indeed!

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  18. Hi Hannah, Pleasure to meet you here and welcome to our wonderful blogging community. I'll pop over to your site in a minute to say another hello.

    I don't have children but I still read your post with great interest. I too have heard all of the myths - the intense love beyond all loves from the moment you lay eyes on your child; the get them into a routine and life will be idyllic etc. I so appreciate you being honest about the reality. My niece is expecting her first child. I not only look forward to telling her of your experiences but, more, to have her follow your blog so the two of you can chat directly.

    Sophia is absolutely gorgeous, but then the apple didn't fall too far from the tree so it's not unexpected.

    Leanne, thanks for encouraging Hannah to post. I hope that both of you had a wonderful Mother's Day.

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    1. Karen - thank you so much for your kind words - Hannah really appreciated your encouraging comment on her blog too. She's doing so well to leap into the blogosphere while parenting a 2yr old and expecting another! I always wonder how mothers and people who work full-time manage to fit a blog in amongst their busy days!

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    2. Thank you for the encouragement, it's so nice to be getting so much positive feedback :-). I would love to "meet" your neice (still getting used to this cybertalk haha) - does she have a blog too? And what is her name?

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  19. Congrats on the coming of your second one. I have watched most of my friends become parents in the last few years. It is definitely a huge transition. Being kind to yourself is important.

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    1. You are so right about being kind to yourself Angela - mothers are particularly prone to judging themselves and falling short of their own expectations - I still do it now (30 years after being a new mum!)

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    2. Haha yes "be kind to yourself" - sounds so simple but yet us mothers do seem to find it hard to work out what it means exactly and apply it! I hope two years of experience has helped me start to get the right balance. I appreciate your thoughtful sentiments, thank you :-).

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  20. This is so relateable! It was tough when I first had my babies and thought it was supposed to be all magic and rainbows all the time, but there were times when I was bored and resentful and regretting.... I felt like I was doing something wrong, but this helps me feel good and normal. I am still mostly happy and in love! Just growing as a mother every day :) Thank you to your daughter in law for this much needed post.
    ♥ Jay @ motherbodysoul.com

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    1. I think our society today projects all the rainbows and sunshine and quietly hides the bone deep weariness, the days when you don't get to shower until the afternoon, the days when you forgot to eat breakfast and didn't get to drink your coffee when it was hot, and all those other "real" parts of mothering Jay - but I think you all do an amazing job raising these little humans entrusted to you x

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    2. I think it is a shame that the reality of motherhood is often hidden in TV shows and the like - well, often even in real life! Much easier to support one another when we're totally honest. It's certainly validating to hear other mums coming out and saying that they had a similar experience - thank you :-)

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  21. Hi, Hannah - It is lovely to meet you here. Sophia is absolutely gorgeous. It is wonderful to hear about your new little one expected for August. Tell Leanne to post LOTS of photos!
    Warmly, Donna

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    1. It's a hard balance Donna - Hannah and our son seem to make beautiful babies (if Sophia is anything to go by!) I'd be posting them all over FB if I had the chance - but boring my friends to death is probably not a good idea - I do try to squeeze a couple into my coffee posts at the end of each month though :)

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    2. Well I certainly think she's gorgeous but then I will freely admit my bias :-). It's nice to have others so interested, very encouraging indeed :-)

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  22. Hi Hannah - welcome to the blogging world. Sophia is adorable. I bet she is excited to be a big sister. I don't have any kids yet but we have plans on starting a family soon. I actually can't wait to start experiencing motherhood. I'll drop by your blog Hannah to share some love. Can't wait to see photos of the new little one.

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    1. Thanks so much for your lovely encouraging words to Hannah - this blogging journey is so much fun and I keep telling her about the lovely people you meet along the way - I am sooooo glad I discovered it before I got any older!

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    2. Thanks for the warm welcome :-). Sophia does say the words "baby sister" with considerable excitement, but it is hard to know how much she actually understands! She is definitely ready for a little playmate though and I think once she has adjusted to the change, it will be really great for her.
      Motherhood is fantastic - I know in this post I was pretty real about the struggles, but the joys are equally real and very much make up for the pain that comes inevitably with it. You'll love it :-)

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  23. You have such a great perspective. Love this. Thank you for the encouraging words….it really made me think.

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    1. Hi Lasha - thanks for stopping by. I always think it's such a blessing when people are honest about their lives - it helps us accept the ups and downs in our own lives when we realize we're all in this together.

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    2. Glad to be an encouragement to others, and I think I have felt equally encouraged by such a positive response to this blog post, so thank you :-).

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  24. It's so nice that you had your daughter in law for a guest post, truly shows how generations of women support and empower one another. Especially when raising another generation with all its difficulties. You look like a beautiful family, thank you for sharing :)

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    1. What a lovely comment Narkis - yes I've been very blessed to have Hannah as a DIL and the mother of my delightful granddaughter. It's also been lovely sharing this blogging adventure with her now that she's started her own blog.

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  25. For starters your daughter-in-law and the baby are beautiful :-) This post is as real as their smiles, its filled with heart and the grae of God sprinkled all over. Motherhood is for sure one of the greatest priviledge and joy one can have. We an all learn from each espeially because there is no manual for such an important life-long role.
    PS: I LOVE your M.A quote “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.” Yes and amen!

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    1. They are both beautiful inside and out Nancy - I feel very blessed to have them both as part of our family. I also appreciate Hannah's honesty in her post - especially in this era of Yummy Mummies who all seem to project an artificial perfection in their social media.
      And Yes - that MA quote just spoke to my heart and I had to include it on my blog

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  26. I didn't have the sort of feelings you had with my first one but it came with my second child. There were almost 4 years between the two and our first child was out of diapers, fed himself,he walked talked and slept all night he was a little person and then we had a newborn. The lack of sleep I thought would kill me. lol I wish my walk with God would have been stronger then because I do believe my life would have been easier.

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    1. Both my babies weren't great sleepers Victoria - I loved them both dearly, but oh I would have killed for a good night's sleep! Just as the first started to get his act together in that dept, the next one came along and it was another couple of years before I didn't have to get up in the middle of the night to pat them!

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If you'd like to have a conversation, feel free to email me any time - leanne.lecras@gmail.com