What Is It Like to Become a Mother for the Very First Time? No one can give one definitive answer to this question. Every woman is different. No two women will have the exact same experience. Your experience is based on your own unique set of circumstances at the time you give birth.
Becoming a mother is a universal experience for those women who walk this path, but it is not the same experience. You will not have the same experience as your sister, your mother, or your best friend. For one thing, you may be living in a different time than your mother, your personal circumstances are different than your sister’s, and your feelings about becoming a mother may be different than your best friend’s. In fact, the similarities are limited while the differences are many:
Every woman must have a baby in order to be a mother: some adopt, some become pregnant, some hire surrogates, some get there by accident, and some plan for it.
Every woman experiences the “moment” when she becomes a mother: some give birth, some attend a surrogate or birth mother’s birth, some pick their baby up from a 3rd party adoption agency or international orphanage, and some suddenly find themselves responsible for a relatives children.
Every woman must fulfill her responsibilities as a mother: some do it poorly while others do it well, some resent the responsibilities while others welcome it, some detest being caretakers while others enjoy it, some have the financial means to make it easier while others struggle financially and find it difficult.
Every woman is a mother until either she or her child dies: some develop close relationships with their children while others are estranged, some are involved in their children’s lives while others rarely talk to them, some are a source of wisdom and advice while others leave their children to “fend for themselves.”
As universal as some experiences may be, there are more differences than similarities. Why is this important to know? Because in the Western culture there is a tendency to believe in a homogenous experience of motherhood. A woman becomes pregnant and expects to feel joy and contentment. She fantasizes about giving birth and feeling an instant and overwhelming love for her new baby. And she imagines a fairy tale experience of “life after the birth” in which she holds and rocks her baby while breastfeeding him on a daily basis: the stereotypical mother-infant symbiosis.
She doesn’t imagine much more than this. She has nothing else to compare it to, unless she has seen other women such as her sister or friends become mothers and therefore knows how diverse the experience of becoming a mother can be.
Our Western culture promotes this fairy tale idea of motherhood that is propagated through the media. We’ve all seen TV commercials starring mothers trying to keep their house clean only to have their children (and family dog) stomp indoors with muddy hands and shoes and with one fell swoop destroy all of her hard work. Yet she keeps a sweet smile on her face and simply “wipes up” after them.
One downside to a homogenous image of motherhood is that mothers try to live up to this image. And when they can’t they feel guilty. Another is that we believe we should feel blissfully happy as mothers, under any circumstances, and feel like there is something wrong with us if we don’t.
All woman are different, therefore all mothers are different. Don’t expect to have a fairy tale experience of motherhood. Just have your experience. Accept the normal ups and downs of your emotions, learn as much as you can, follow your own instincts in addition to seeking professional advice, and blaze your own trail as the unique mother you are meant to be.