“I never wanted to have children,” Brigitte says. “Until I met my current husband when I was 30. A year and a half later I was pregnant.” When her eldest daughter, now 13, was born, Brigitte noticed how much the baby affected your daily life. “The spontaneity disappeared. It was no longer possible to go to the city or to the hairdresser. Then I had to think about what to do with my daughter. I also changed emotionally: I cried when I saw the news and suddenly I did not dare to ride a motorbike anymore. Driving. I felt very weak.”
We talk about the hard sides
Brigitte already knew some people who had children: a few friends who lived far away were already mothers, and her sister had given birth to her first nine months before her. But talking about the hard aspects of parenthood, and the things that aren’t fun in that? they did not. Not even Brigitte herself, when she had just given birth to a child. “I found it hard, and didn’t want to admit I was struggling with things. I felt like it made me a less good mother.”
It is this taboo that perpetuates the situation, says health care psychologist and owner Self and pregnancy Merith Cohen de Lara. Cohen de Lara sees women seeking help “definitely monthly” because they are overwhelmed by the changes involved in having a baby. “They think they’re a bad mom, because they just don’t like it. And then they feel so ashamed that they need psychological help. If more women honestly said that sometimes it’s too hot and sometimes they’re unhappy, that’s a good part of the clients we have now that they wouldn’t They have to come to us. Once they are convinced that there is nothing wrong with them, that really removes a burden on them.”
Getting used to motherhood
Laurinda Greek track would also like to open up the taboo. The Greek Railways is the owner of the Maternity Care Agency nursing home In the Haarlem region, author of De Baby Bijsluiter and mother of two children aged 16-21, according to her, at least half of women should get used to motherhood, and it makes a lot of sense that you don’t feel like it. method during pregnancy.
“Everything changes when you have a baby,” she says. “The relationship with your partner, with yourself, your daily routine, you suddenly find other things that matter…really everything. This is perhaps the biggest change a woman faces in her life. With every other change we say: of course someone has had to get used to a new job, A new school… so why don’t you get used to it?”
I can not imagine
She compares it to the situation we are in right now with the coronavirus. “Do you know a few months ago what it would feel like to be 1.5 meters away from everyone, not being allowed into the supermarket with a lot of people and not being able to go to work? It happened in other countries, it’s something for you that you haven’t experienced before, so you can’t Imagine that, the same with motherhood.
Nearly every woman should get used to this, Grecobor and Cohen de Lara say, and it probably belongs in every generation. So did our mothers, and so did our grandmothers. Because so much has changed in their lives as well, many of them stop working – compulsorily or not – for example, once the children arrive.
You must find great
What’s new is that we all seem to love it. “With our grandmothers and mothers, having children was just a part of life, and they didn’t think much of it,” Groenebur says. “They can also say to someone else, ‘I don’t know anymore, can you help? “It doesn’t seem to be happening now.” Cohen de Lara: “Now everything has to be very flexible: you consciously choose to have a child, so you always have to love him. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have to choose him. But that’s, of course, ridiculous.”
She is also the most shared on social media: happy kids with nice clothes, clean mom and makeup. “These images have to be captured in the right nanosecond,” says Brigitte. “Then Olvarit goes across the table or the kid spits on your sweater.” Cohen De Lara: “And then when a picture of a sleazy mom comes out, it’s absolutely sloppy again. Where are the pictures of normal moms?”
Farola, a mother of three, notes that the image on social media is often only positive and this is also expected of you as a mother. “I try to be very open and honest about motherhood, but when I use social media for something I don’t like, people say, ‘You should be happy that you have kids.'” She is, she says. But these things can go well together.
This is exactly what Cohen de Lara teaches to women who come to her because they feel like a bad mom. “Just because you love your child and would give anything for it, doesn’t mean you’ll love it when he starts crying at 3:30 in the morning, spitting on you, or can’t meet friends because you don’t have a babysitter. You really have to see these things separately. “
live with a child
Farola was 26 years old when she gave birth to her first child. Then she had one friend who already had a child, but she always took him “under her arm”. For her, having a baby didn’t change much, Farola said. There was no one to really tell her what it felt like to have a baby. When I was pregnant, I told people about their birth with smell and color. But no one told me what life is like with a child.”
A lot has changed for Farola. “I was really shocked. My whole world suddenly revolved around the baby. When I could sleep, do my housework… I wasn’t expecting it at all. It made me feel so lonely, I didn’t expect that I always go by train to my friends who live far away, but how Can I do that, for example, by breastfeeding?”
It’s an issue specifically for highly educated women, says Farola, who is now using her experience as a postpartum doula. And the Greek path sees this in his practice, too: “They believe they have to do everything perfectly and keep all the balls high. Often the less educated person has a child at a younger age and has lower expectations of motherhood.” Farola: “Highly educated women are very interested in the mental development of the child, what the child should do, what you should do as a parent to help this child as much as possible, which is safe,”. My mother always said, I did what I thought was right. But now we feel we have to be perfect parents. Added to this is the pressure of friends who give a lot of unsolicited advice. “You don’t do that, do you?” “You do, right?” They don’t ask what you need, but they think they know best. And through the forest of conflicting advice, you have to struggle your way, while you don’t know everything yet.”
All four women advise new mothers to give yourself time to get used to your baby, accept that you are not doing everything right and above all: know that it is a part of it and that every difficult situation will pass. Greek path: “You suddenly have someone else who is totally dependent on you. You don’t yet know why he cries or why he’s calm, what he likes and what not. And you can’t figure that out either, because you know not yet.”
“It took me years before I thought: ‘Now I’m in control of it,'” says Brigitte, now a mother of three. Now that you’ve talked about it with others, you’d think 90 percent of moms sometimes find it hot or unpleasant. “Just went for a walk with a friend who also has kids. She talked about her mistakes with motherhood. It’s good to be able to share that. Lucky, I guess. Not me and it doesn’t make me a bad mother.”