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Motherhood may sound like an exciting new adventure for many first time mothers or mothers-to-be. However, apart from the fun and joy, it also includes aplenty new changes to their current life that they need to adapt to after the arrival of their first child, which includes dealing with overwhelmed family members and friends.
Now, as a mother of two, based on my personal past experiences, let me tell you a bit about being a new mother and how everyone around you has suddenly turned into parenting experts the moment your first child is born.
Apart from having to learn and adapt to new life with a new member in the family, unfortunately as a new mother, you will also have to deal with overwhelming response from various parties, especially those who claim to know ‘everything’ about motherhood and volunteer to offer advice and help – that you did not ask for.
Of course it goes without saying, having to adapt to a new life with an infant can be utterly stressful and tiring – with night feedings, endless diaper changing, expressing milk, etc.
A new mother definitely does not have to deal with people that add up even more mental stress to her already chaotic life.
Unfortunately, sometimes these people are not just anyone out there. They are family members or someone close, whom you could not possibly decline or tell them off to avoid hurting their feelings.
In common cases, some of these people mentioned could possibly be:
Some husbands may feel left out after the born of their first child, claiming that the wife has became less affectionate and only cares for the child. They are unaware of the amount of energy the wife has given in to nursing their newborn child, day and night, especially in the initial months.
All they see is the wife is always with the child and neglected everything else around her, which is not the case. She’s just exhausted and have no strength for anything else.
One way that could possibly solve this is to have a private one-to-one conversation with the husband on how each other feels and what exactly is bothering him.
From there, both could try to work a way out to this problem. It requires good communications and teamwork to make this works as a family.
Among some of the things the husband could do is to balance out on the heavy responsibilities that a mother is facing by contributing whenever he can with simple chores at home such as emptying the trash cans, washing milk bottles, do laundry, try feeding the baby, etc. and not add on unnecessary stress to her life.
She would definitely appreciate that. With less stress and frustration, slowly the affection will return. After all, spending time doing house chores together could also be a loving thing to do.
Yes, mother-in-law’s involvement can be a little overwhelming for new mothers. Despite some may have good relations with their mother-in-law prior to their first born, however when the child arrives, everything changes.
Suddenly the mother-in-law is all over the new mother, telling her what to do and what not, claiming to know everything, basically leaving the poor new mother with no personal space or right to do anything with her own child.
These mothers-in-law would claim that they have been there, done that for their children, so their methods always work. They may be mothers themselves, but every mother has their preferred parenting style.
What’s worse is when the mother-in-law starts to micromanage everything and gets into the daughter-in-law’s personal space.
What they did not realize is that they may have the experience bringing up their children but their methods may no longer be practical today. Especially older Asian mums who believed in myths or old wives’ tales that may not be acceptable by younger modern mums now.
They have their beliefs, but it’s not right to exert their beliefs into someone. Many may say that they’re doing this out of love for their grandchild, but their daughter-in-law is the biological mother to the child.
She loves and wants the best (in her preferred way) for her child even more. After all, she carried the child for more than 9 months and gave birth to him/her – she definitely gets to call the shot.
Nowadays being a new mum doesn’t mean one has zero knowledge about how to handle a newborn. There are many parenting books out there, they have friends whom are mothers too, or they may even experienced dealing with young infants when they were young – as elder sister to her younger siblings, etc.
So it’s unfair for the mother-in-law to assume that all new mothers know nothing about parenting.
The best way to solve this is to go through your husband, whom she would listen to more than you. Let her know in a less harsh way that you would appreciate to be given some personal space and trust that you will be able to handle your child well, and if need be, you would ask for help.
Friends and/or Relatives, whom are mothers
Having a friend or family member finally joining the mother club definitely sounds fun and exciting. Finally they have one extra common topic to talk about.
However, sometimes their ‘excitement’ may have gone too far especially when they start dishing out advices that their friend or relative (the new mum) did not ask for.
It’s okay if they just want to share the joy. But when they start behaving like experts the moment you delivered your child, just because they’ve been there before you and start offering unwelcomed advices, that’s not okay.
Everyone has their own preferred parenting style that they are comfortable with and is convenient to them – whatever works for them.
It’s their call on how they want things to work for their life especially when they have to juggle with various things in life, so best for individuals to keep their motherhood to themselves and do not judge others for opting otherwise.
In a nutshell, Asians are generally warm-hearted beings. Sometimes so warm they did not realize that they have crossed the line or went overboard causing unpleasant feelings and unnecessary stress to the party involved.
So peeps, try to be mindful of people’s boundaries and respect their personal space, especially new mothers whom are overwhelmed with so many changes in her life. Let them slowly adapt and learn.
The best way to show them your support is to keep your thoughts to yourself, respect their choices, assist/advice only upon request and most importantly, do not judge them.
Finally to all new mothers, do your best and battle on with confidence. Always know that no one else knows what’s best for your child except yourself. Ignore negativity, embrace positivity. Peace.
Are you a new mother? Let us know whether you had the same experience in the comments!
For more stories on motherhood, read Millennial Motherhood: Here’s What It’s like Being a Malaysian Mom Today and A Mother’s Dilemma: Should I Stay Home and Care for The Baby or Go Back to Work?