Moms Are Sharing What They Wish They Knew About Being A Mother Before Becoming One, And It's Incredibly Eye-Opening
Society almost never talks about these things, but you should.
Becoming a mom involves some super obvious things, like, say, being responsible for a tiny lil' human. But motherhood also comes with other things that don't usually get discussed, often leaving new moms surprised.
Here are 37 things moms wish they knew before becoming a mom:
1. "I'd heard of postpartum depression, but not postpartum anxiety. It hit me hard after my first son and even harder after my second. I can't stop worrying and thinking about the worst-case scenario. I'm scared all the time."
"When something actually happens, like they get sick, I don't eat or sleep for days. The pandemic obviously accelerated everything. The anxiety has basically taken over my life. My youngest is two years old, and I have just started seeking therapy and am on medication." —essenceatl
2. "How freaking hard breastfeeding can be, and that it doesn't work out for everyone. But that it is ok if it doesn't, as long as the baby is fed."
"Fed is best." —erinkate
3. "I was unprepared for how babies have no concept of day and night or how to fall asleep on their own. I remember putting her down at night in the first week and being so stressed and confused about why she would cry and not just fall asleep."
"By the second one, we knew what to expect and how to manage the sleepless nights when she couldn’t sleep at all. We’d just lay in bed drifting off for a few minutes in between her cries." —allisons4f76e2141
4. "I wish I knew not to take mommy bloggers' word for fact. I felt and still feel at times like I'm a failure because these people post perfect images of their bodies and their kids and their experiences."
"It's all smoke and mirrors. None of it is real. Just because they 'lost the baby weight in six weeks' and their kids are 'sleep trained by six weeks,' it doesn't mean that's reality." —kittenaerobics
5. "I didn't feel that 'overwhelmed with joy and love' the first moment I saw my son when he was born. I didn't feel that warm fuzzy feeling of bonding."
"It made me feel guilty and sad. Then my mom told me that it was normal, you didn't get to know this little person yet and the bonding would come. She was right." —plearnn
6. "There's a very delicate balance between letting your children have independence to discover the world and keeping them safe without being overprotective."
"It only gets tougher the older they get." —stormwatcher
7. "I didn’t know my bladder would be forever changed."
"Watch out for trampolines and sneezing!" —meghansensenig
8. "I wish I had known just how many babies come early and end up in the NICU. It's not something that is often talked about with expectant mothers, and I was not at all prepared when my daughter came eight weeks early."
"The NICU is a scary place, but it's also a wonderful place with amazing nurses who take care of your baby like their own. I owe my daughter's life to the doctors and nurses there.
I just wish that mothers were taught more about the NICU so — on the off chance that their child does end up there — they at least have a little knowledge about what to expect." —anniey4ebe4c169
9. "How little my single friends understood about my new transition into motherhood. I’m a stay-at-home mom, and all my single friends expected me to adjust to their schedules since they had 'actual jobs.'"
"They would contact me last minute any time they wanted to hang out, telling me to just ‘bring the baby out, too’ if I couldn’t find anyone to watch her. One friend lost her job and had the audacity to tell me, 'Since we’re both unemployed, we should go on a vacation somewhere.'
It's not easy to stay friends with single people once you’ve had kids. They need to be pretty patient and understanding if they want to stay in your life." —skim021417
10. "That doctors wouldn’t believe me when I said my baby was sick. That first-time mom treatment is real, and it almost cost my daughter her life."
"At four months, she got a rash. We were sent home twice, and they attempted two more times after we were admitted. It took a total of a week to find out my baby has scalded skin syndrome — a rare form of staph. Her skin literally would fall off if you touched her. A $30,000 plane ride and a week in PICU, and it’s like it never happened." —lizashleyc
11. "Safe co-sleeping practices, like removing heavy blankets, not going to sleep under the influence, etc."
"Co-sleeping may not be for everyone. However, I personally credit it for the success of nursing. In addition, I was able to get so much more sleep with him close to me. The last plus — waking up to baby kisses some mornings was definitely not unappreciated!" —some1anon1acct
12. "How much I actually am enjoying motherhood! I went my whole life saying I didn’t want kids because I enjoy being selfish with my time and money."
"My mind changed after I had a miscarriage and was pretty distraught. I successfully conceived at 39 and have the most amazing, ridiculously funny, entertaining, smart, and loving daughter! I still can’t believe we created this beautiful being." —alisonm43cd2fbbc
13. "Everyone will have an opinion on everything you do as a mom as soon as you get pregnant. If they don't like the name you've picked, the stroller, maybe a coat you've bought, then you'll probably be told about it!"
"I'm now pregnant with my second, and I'm very selective about what I tell people because the weight of pleasing everyone on my first gave me severe anxiety, and I never felt like I was a good enough mom to my son." —erbcu95
14. "How they can drive you insanely crazy. You literally can't wait for them to go to bed."
"But when they do, you miss their little faces so much you go and kiss them while they sleep. Motherhood is one crazy ride." —janineg48bd93644
15. "The absolute fear you feel constantly. Along with the immense love you feel for your children, there is an intense fear for their well-being. Constantly. It seems irrational how often you think your baby has stopped breathing or a rare venomous spider has secretly bitten your child in a spot you can’t see."
"The number of times night and day you check for these things and worry about these things is astounding." —mafvdox
16. "No one ever tells you how much the baby is going to love you. And just how much you will love them."
"I honestly thought and had this fear that the baby wouldn’t like me. I couldn’t believe how much he truly loved me." —sleepykitty666
17. "Children can be irrational little beggars with a death wish. You cannot childproof the world. They will have accidents no matter what you do, so don't beat yourself up too much about it."
"Also, get into the habit of allowing your baby to be with other people you trust, even if it's only 10 minutes at first." —kayblu02
18. "How much having a kid would amplify my mental illness. I always struggled with anxiety, but postpartum kicked my ass. A year and a half later, I’m struggling to feel like myself."
"My typical coping techniques aren’t as effective. Eventually, I found the only way to get better was to go to therapy. A work in progress but I couldn’t recommend it more." —tabbertot
19. "I didn't anticipate how much I would lose my identity and what made me, me. I was pretty individualistic before I had a baby and that really fell by the wayside in the first 12 to 18 months postpartum. It naturally morphed into more of a sense of family, that we were a family unit, and my decisions, thoughts, and feelings really changed so I wasn't just thinking about myself. Having a baby fundamentally changed who I am and I'm ok with that."
"I also started sticking up for myself at work, and I no longer quietly accepted the shitty assignments. I got promoted this year because (I have to assume) of my insistence on speaking up for myself, sharing my ideas more freely, and asking others to collaborate more often. None of that would've happened without becoming more collectivistic." —katies1957fiat
20. "I would say that you are not a bad parent for wanting to be on your own sometimes. You are a parent but also more than just a parent. You are still yourself with your own interests and needs. It's ok to have time on your own, time for a hobby, or time to exercise or meet a friend."
"'Me time' is really important, and I think makes you a better parent. My therapist says 'you can't pour from an empty jug,' so make sure you’re taking care of yourself and that there’s juice in your jug. It’ll help you be the best parent you can be." —rkcs
21. "Baby boys get boners. It's normal."
"I was so nervous that I was accidentally breaking my son. Somehow, I missed this during sex-ed and baby class. No one said anything! I thought they only happened after puberty." —tharris2962
22. "The psychological torture of waiting for your child to get a sentence out when they've said the first three words at least ten times."
23. "You can't kiss every booboo and make it better."
"My first had a heart defect and passed away at five months old, and the helpless feeling is still with me 13 years later. It influences how I parent my three healthy rainbow children.
On one hand, I'm more cautious medically and more willing to advocate for them and trust my gut. On the other hand, I want them to live for whatever time they've got here and let them experience as much as possible because life is unpredictable." —donielleleem
24. "That you’ll love something more than yourself. A lot."
"That idea alone is terrifying." —m30www
25. "Even though I still have my circle of friends, I'm spending more time with other moms. I can bring my little guy and not feel bad about it or the need to apologize when he throws a fit."
"Moms know what other moms are going through and don't question it. But I'm afraid my non-parent friends are going to question my parenting." —d43b162e36
26. "The emotional weight of being a parent is so different than I expected. I knew I would love him, and I knew I would worry. But it’s like my heart is literally outside of my body."
"I am constantly worried about what will happen. Because what hurts my son literally hurts me, sometimes even more than it hurts him." —fletcherlt
27. "Exclusively pumping is ok. Baby gets breastmilk, daddy gets to help with feedings, and mama gets to keep body autonomy!"
"I pumped for the entire first year with all my children. I didn't have to struggle with breastfeeding because I was able to plan for pumping. I didn't worry about latch issues or nipple pain. Exclusively pumping saved my body AND my mental health." —christinkeophilak
28. "That breastfeeding — while very rewarding — would cause me to have permanent raisins (pointed nips) for the rest of my life."
"I seriously would have thought about it more had I known. Now, I must wear a bra more often than I would have liked, and I’m barely an A-cup." —rystmom2
29. "I was surprised at how little physical contact I wanted from my husband after our daughter was born. She needed to be held a lot, and, frankly, I was touched out."
"It can also be hard to adjust to becoming the second most important person in your partner's life, too." —noimpillagingeverybody
30. "You'll never 'have it all.' It's impossible to invest 100% of yourself to work, motherhood, your spouse, and yourself. You’ll fail in all of these departments at some point. Accept that there's no such thing as 'having it all.' Prioritize what's important at the moment, and there’s always a trade-off."
"As long as you’re doing what’s best to keep your kid alive and healthy — there’s therapy for the rest. Ask for help when you need it! There’s no shame in getting help (cooking, cleaning, babysitting, grocery shopping, etc.) when you need it.
If you don’t prioritize your needs, no one else will either. As moms, we’re so good at taking care of others, we don’t do it for ourselves. Your partner, kids, or work are only thinking about themselves. You also need to do the same and prioritize yourself as well. You can’t help them if you don’t help yourself first." —amberh4cc750528
31. "How much your body changes. That gets highly glossed over. Some people bounce back, some do not."
"Never heard anything mentioned about your abs separating during pregnancy before I was pregnant. I could stick my hand in the space where my abs used to be. My stomach got incredibly stretched out with big babies and will never be the same again." —loisd42adcea87
32. "You lose some of your hair, and sometimes it doesn’t come back."
"Whereas other body hair can be thicker, darker, or grow different in places it didn’t before!" —jordanlindseyg
33. "How lonely it is. Especially when your friends don’t have kids yet and can’t understand why you don’t want to get a babysitter or are too tired to go."
34. "Your toddler will ask you a million questions a day."
"A MILLION QUESTIONS A DAY! And get ready to head the word 'mom' almost as much as the questions." —kimberlyschottborgh
35. "I love to travel, and I thought my kids would be more portable."
"I thought we could pick up our lives and move to another country and my kids would grow up bilingual and I'd do humanitarian work. But once my kids hit middle school, they were so over traveling. They hate trying new foods and have no interest in new cultures. I can't even get them to take a 20-minute car ride, and if I separate them from their friends, I have ruined their lives." —sarahs402d05f80
36. "Your body will be different after pregnancy. Your shape changes and that is OK. It's also OK to be a bit disappointed that it's changed as long as you don't berate yourself for it or dwell for too long."
"We spend so much time fussing over the baby bump and don't think about the other side, and this came as a genuine shock to me. You. Are. AWESOME." —cuteclcactus91
37. "The guilt you feel."
"I feel guilty for going to work when my daughter is sick, even though she is with her grandmother. I feel guilty for wanting to sit on the couch and read and not play with her. I feel guilty for not having a bigger living space, for her being an only child, for having to cook dinner or clean instead of spend time with her. I really feel guilty when I want to get away from her. My husband, her dad, never feels guilty. It’s insane." —hairbymorgen
Were these eye-opening for you? Or are you a mother who can relate? Maybe you have your own you'd like to share. Let us know in the comments below!
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.