Before becoming a mother, a woman has expectations in her mind about how it will be.
For example, she may think “I’ve always wanted to have a strong career throughout my life.” However, when the time comes to head back to work she is consumed by heart wrenching longing to be with her baby.
On the other hand another woman may have always wanted to stay home with her children, yet three months in she has a realization she would like to go back to work. There are many variations in between. This is just one example of where the space between reality and expectation may fall.
In this space, thoughts creep in such as “I did not expect it to be like this.”/ “Why am I feeling this way?”/ “Does this make me a bad mother?” / “So many other women do it, why is it so hard for me?
I invite you to have self-compassion when you are experiencing this space. The truth is, all mothers are new mothers first and having not been there before, how does one know what it will be like? I assure you that these thoughts and feelings are common. It can be helpful to be aware of the difference between expectations and realities. Letting go of self-judgement during this time is important.
It does not make you a bad mother if want to work or a bad career woman if you want to stay home. Just different than you thought.
You are not less of a mother if it is harder than expected or more of a mother if it comes easy. Just different than you thought.
It doesn’t mean you won’t have a wonderful relationship with your child if it takes time to bond, when others say it was an instant connection. Just different than you thought.
Different than you thought is not “good” or “bad”; just different.
This article about self-compassion gives a list of 15 times a parent can use self-kindness instead of criticism.
Here is another article about 20 ways to use self-compassion instead of criticism.
Be kind to yourself in this space mama.