35 Women Share Motherhood Myths They Want To Warn Future Mothers About
You can't fully prepare for parenting. But all the mistruths that society perpetuates about it don't help either.
Recently, Reddit user Stranger_not_danger made a post on the platform, asking its women, "What do you think is a lie about motherhood you want to warn future [parents] about?" and I don't know if it's the anonymous nature of the internet that prompted the answers or something else, but the amount of honesty in the replies takes this thread to another level.
From personal feelings to family dynamics, continue scrolling to check out the most-upvoted ones.
#1That as a woman you will be naturally more equipped to care for the child than the father will. That's b******t. With the exception of producing breast milk, men are just as capable of attending to a baby's needs. Parenting is a learned skill just like any other.
Image credits: BrittLee8
#2Not every woman is meant for motherhood.
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#3You are not “the giving tree” like the shel Silverstein book. Do not bend over backwards giving everything and doing everything for your kids. It only makes them entitled and you depressed. In fact, the job is slowly returning responsibility to the child so by the time they are 18 they are independent.
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#4Two kids is harder than one. Don't have another just to entertain the oldest, I know a few people that did that.
Also I don't think anyone emphasises how much you will lose yourself and truly get exhausted by it.
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#5That you have to sacrifice every single bit of your body, time, and soul for your children. If breastfeeding is sucking the life out of you, literally and figuratively, and you hate it and it upsets you, then stop! Formula has kept babies alive for decades. If you’re at your wits end and are about to have a breakdown, it’s okay to lay baby down in the crib safely and walk away for a moment to catch your breath. Believe it or not, you don’t actually have to do those staged monthly photos with a sign that shows how old your infant is which you then post in FB.
Literally do what works best for you. You have to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others. A mentally well and happy mom is best for a healthy, happy baby.
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#6That you won’t have a favourite kid. You will.
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#7That you’re going to be happy all the the time even when baby is wanted- you’re not! In fact, you may even feel pretty bummed or miss your old life frequently and that’s normal . Older relatives telling you you’re a bad mom for not being 100% sparkles and s******g rainbows over baby have forgotten what it felt like
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#8Sometimes you don’t immediately love your kid. When they placed my kiddo on my chest it was weird and took a couple days before I reconciled that this squirming loud person was the one I carried for months. I love my kiddo more now than I did then, after getting to know them.
And that’s ok. It’s not always that perfect love where nothing else matters instantly. Sometimes it takes time.
It’s also literally impossible to spoil an infant. If they are crying, they need you. Whether that’s changing, food, or comfort. When you let them “cry it out” you’re just teaching them they can’t depend on you. Studies show their stress levels don’t diminish when they stop crying. They just realize you’re going to fail at being there for them.
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#9That it gets easier.
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#10(am a child but) if your older kid is 10+ yrs older than the younger kid, don't expect them to b a parent to the younger 1
My 16 yo cousin has to p much b a mom to her 3 yo sis cuz her actual mom is either out or in a rlly bad mood most of the time
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#11You may not want to be a mother. Don't just have kids because that's what everyone else is doing.
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#12That you're always going to make the right choices for your child.
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#13Disciplining your child is harder than it seems.
It is very easy to spoil your kid. Especially if you have the means to, it is incredibly easy to want to spoil the f**k out of them. To buy them everything they want, either because you love them or because they won't stop crying.
It's so easy to want to blame another person for YOUR child's mistakes. You might even often have to catch yourself mid argument and realise that it is YOUR child who was in the wrong.
This all becomes even more true when you're a step-parent. You want to be the ideal parent and have your step-child get along with you or at least take some liking towards you. You'll inevitably have to buy them something at some point, but it's easy to want to shower them with your money to try win their favour. It's an easy trap to get caught in.
I don't know why so little people talk about this.
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#14Motherhood is not your identity. Don’t forget who you are before you had a baby. That person still deserves her dreams, ambitions, and experiences.
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#15Your job is to raise good humans who can be independent one day. Not to make them your best friend. They will have their own friends. If you’re relying on your children to be your friends, you’re doing something wrong.
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#16That every woman has maternal instinct and will eventually develop baby fever. Or if you enjoy spending time with children then it means you should become a mother.
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#17That breastfeeding is easy and simple. Big nope to that one. My first one didn't latch properly, so I pumped. 2nd one latched fine, and I was really happy, until 3days later when I could peel the skin of my nipples. I cried every time when my baby was hungry before he was near me. I dreaded it so much, I was in constant pain. After a bit over a week I started pumping again. And I felt like an absolute fail. This time it was my fault, and that somehow was way worse. I knew it was fine, he got my milk and even formula would have been great, but it messes with your, already hormonal, brain so much.
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#18That if you’re young and healthy it will be easy and safe. I was only 27 and a healthy active person, and pregnancy destroyed my body and I now have a ton of medical and very expensive dental issues that I never had prior to pregnancy. I’ve already lost 6 teeth and may need partial dentures. I have extreme tension headaches and vertigo, as well as horrible acne and hair I never had before. They really don’t stress enough how even one pregnancy can completely break down a healthy body
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- don’t look at it in terms of natural vs medicine-lead. Think of it in terms of what leaves you in the best of shape, physically and mentally, to be fit enough to care for your baby 24/7
From this perspective epidural > C-section > natural (drug-free) birth
- only have babies if you feel your life will be incomplete without them AND if you’re fine taking care of them in case you become the sole caregiver
- if you’re in a relationship, only have babies if your partner is equally keen. One fence sitter + one wannabe parent = not enough
- you don’t need a lot of money in the first year. You can rough it with second hand equipment and breastfeeding
- make sure to have health insurance for both mom and baby
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#20That you'll eventually get your body back.
Besides the fact that is hard to loose weight, sometimes you just don't have the time or the energy to diet and exercise, specially after a c section.
Sometimes all I want to do is watch TV in my PJs and binge ANY high calorie snack there is in the house.
If I had a dollar for every time someone has said I'd loose weight by breastfeeding I'd be fkn rich.
Body changes after pregnancy.
I had to say goodbye to many pretty and expensive shoes :(
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#21That you are supposed to let a child “just cry it out.” No. That is garbage. You answer their cry, each and every time. By responding to them saying they need something in a consistent manner, you are literally laying the foundation of their trust in the world for the rest of their lives. If they don’t get their needs met when they express the need, they will learn to mistrust and be afraid of the world. Always answer the cry.
Image credits: Scareyourfamily
#22I know this comment isn’t for everyone, but, uh, when the father says he is going to be responsible and involved no matter what, many times they aren’t. Just ask yourself the question of how you would raise a child by yourself if it came to that.
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#23That unless you breastfeed full time then ween them onto organic food, you're doing a bad job.
I could only breastfeed my child for 4 weeks due to being so anaemic and ill after his birth, my body literally couldn't produce enough milk to feed him. So I started to bottle fed him and it was the best thing I could have done, as it allowed my husband to take over some night feeds and let me rest. When I weened him at 7 months old, I fed him a healthy, balanced diet. I remember being mum shamed by reading posts on social media from parents who made all their children's food and blended it all themselves etc. This guilt lasted about 1 week from me, then I released that I worked full time, fed my child a healthy diet and they were happy and healthy, and I moved on quickly from the guilt.
We're all just trying our best to survive parenthood while trying to support and encourage our little ones to become happy, loving little humans in themselves.
#24The moment when you birth your child won’t necessarily be a magical, happy moment like the movies make it out to be.
I was miserable. I felt sudden relief of all the pressure and pain, yes. But I was so horribly shocked about what had just happened to me that I didn’t feel happy. I felt traumatized and terrified. I was happy that my baby was okay, but I felt like I was just beyond messed up and dazed.
I felt like a bad mom for a long time for not being over the moon with joy. But it’s normal to feel that way and there’s nothing wrong with it . Birth IS traumatizing for a lot of women.
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#25This may sound harsh but don't expect to have a 'village'. Many people I know with young children struggle becaue they don't have a support network or childcare from grandparents. The thing is, a lot of grandparents are in their 40s/50s and are still working full time and struggle to fit everything in. I had no support when my girls were small and because of this, as a grandmother, I want to be there for my kids and grandkids but still have to work full time and can't always have them on my days off. Feel like I fail as a parent AND a now a grandparent most weeks.
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#26People call it having “kids”. I don’t like that phrase. IMHO Ultimately your job is to raise kids into good adults. People who can have loving respectful relationships. Who can be responsible and find their way in the world. You need to teach them values and ethics. Money skills, how credit card debt can hold them back. When they are really young how to take care of their nice belongings. Not to waste food and water. The importance of taking care of yourself and how to do that when life is challenging. The ability to laugh at yourself and not take things to serious.
Many of these lessons are learned by example the parent/parents or family lives by.
#27Traditionally, “selfless” has been the highest compliment a mother can receive, and it’s a big fat lie. When the epitome of motherhood/womanhood is to lose one’s self completely, embracing this model only teaches our children, especially the girls, to do the same. We are better mothers, leaders and teachers when we model boundaries, self-care and self-respect. Obviously there is a great deal of unavoidable sacrifice involved with being an attentive mom, especially in the infancy and toddler phases, but it shouldn’t define a mother beyond that. Reminds me of the Jungian quote - “The greatest burden a child must bare is the unlived life of its parents.”
#28that it's an end of your own life.
no! not unless you make it so
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#29That you need to buy all kinds of gimmicky specialty items or your baby will suffer life long consequences. Like, I didn’t have a diaper wipe warmer, and my kids are successful adults...Don’t let capitalists take advantage of you and instill fear!
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#30That it gets easier or ever truly ends. It doesn’t and it won’t.
I have 3 kids, 20, 21 and 24. Teenage years are HARD and expensive if they play sports, especially travel. Don’t under estimate that commitment either, financially or time wise.
You also don’t stop ever being a parent. Especially if you’re a single parent. My husband died 5 years ago and finishing raising them alone blows.
Both of my sons are military and although they are perfectly capable and have done deployment, they still ask mom for things. Part of me enjoys it, it’s nice to be needed but…. other part is annoyed. You’re an adult, figure it out. Depending on the situation, I don’t help. You fix helicopters, you can make a doctor appointment.
They are my biggest joy and greatest accomplishments but it really is a life long commitment.
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#31That thinking it’s “the best thing you’ll ever do” is enough to have a kid.
That you can just figure it out.
That it’s ok to be a mom if you haven’t begun to deal with your own childhood trauma.
Having a kid means learning to put another human first. Always. Not at the expense of your own well being, I’m not into self sacrifice and that can absolutely be a form of abuse in itself, but too many people enter motherhood lackadaisically and, as someone who has worked with survivors of abuse and neglect for nearly two decades, I’m over it.
It’s wild to me that anyone can be a parent when you need to apply for a drivers license! It’s wild you can hire full time care to raise your kids while you don’t spend any time with them at all. It’s wild that folks use an ACTUAL HUMAN to magically solve their problems.
I get it. Society makes you think that way. Birth control should be more accessible. Motherhood should be more equitable.
But we are putting real human lives at stake when we don’t implore people to really think and ensure they are ready to be a parent before doing so.
Note: once someone has a kid that kid should be theirs and the child welfare system sucks, is racist and classist and horrible. I’m talking about preventing it BEFOREHAND. Which is why, for the love of goddess, reproductive healthcare should be free and accessible to everyone.
If I see one more post from someone who is thinking about having a. Baby, and someone else writes back saying that “it was the best thing I ever did” WITHOUT mentioning how it’s working out for the kiddo…..
It’s. About. The. Kid.
Image credits: AtypicalCommonplace
#32Nothing puts a target on your back for abuse like having a child. I can't stress this enough.
Image credits: Candid-Complaint2267
#33That it's all joy and happiness and sunshine and the best thing ever. I saw a friend of FB asking others opinions on having kids as she wasn't sure. So many people were like ,"it's the best feeling ever and there's so much joy". Not a single one told her that it would likely also strain her marriage due to the extreme changes in the first year after having a baby, that she would feel exhausted and that as the child grew they would still demand a lot of her time and attention, and she would lose freedom to do whatever whenever, and she'd have make sure they had a sitter to have dates etc. No one told her the reality. They only tried to sell her on the dream, and I know damn well they all had the downside experiences too. I always wanted to be a mother, love my son and have no regrets, but I never doubted or was unsure of wanting him. And there is happiness and joy, but those are not the only feelings by far. And I feel society tried to deceive women into motherhood being so rewarding and amazing. It can be. But it can also be soul sucking and isolating and no one admits that enough.
#34That all your friends peace on you. I haven’t been isolated and my friendships haven’t changed. It just takes a bit more work (like any life event).
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#35Everyone will judge you but very rarely people will compliment or encourage you.
Having babies ruins your body and it’s take it’s toll on self esteem.
Kids aren’t moldable like you think, they all come with their very own disposition and temperament. You can do everything “right” and still have a hard kid.
0-5 are the easy years, wait til you have teachers and school friends parents calling
It’s mostly not fun, even the fun days like holidays and vacations are a lot of work.
Giving birth is the most miraculous thing a woman can experience.
Everyone has mom guilt