Vanessa Lachey is thrilled to be having her second child (a girl) just after the holidays, but she admits that motherhood didn’t come as naturally to her as she expected.
There is an expectation that mothering instincts kick in at conception. After all, women “glow” when they’re pregnant. Lachey didn’t feel that way. She didn’t really bond with her unborn child until she found out she was having a boy. Once she had more of a concrete notion of the child she started to feel more like a mother, but until then she felt like she had to fake that mother love. She says: “I felt guilty because everyone told me about this love I’d feel, and I wasn’t there yet. I remember asking Nick, ‘Is something wrong with me? I’ve wanted this my whole life and I’m forcing myself to have those feelings.’”
Then after she had her first baby she struggled with postpartum blues and had to take it slow while she settled into motherhood. Nursing was a challenge for her and it took much longer just to feed her son than she expected. I’m so glad she’s sharing her story. Being a new mom is hard enough with the crazy hormones, fatigue, and new little person depending on you for their very existence. Not everyone slips into the role immediately. Just as it takes time to get to know someone and build a relationship, sometimes you have to grow into motherhood.
And that’s OK.
For example, not everyone has a picture-perfect nursing experience. I nursed all four of my children, and it worked well for us. I had no major issues. But I didn’t LOVE it. I never got completely comfortable nursing in public and envied mothers who gracefully used a gorgeous nursing blanket and seemed to effortlessly feed their babies. I struggled with straps and sleeves and was totally exhausted so it wasn’t like I wanted to go out in public anyway. My first child fully spit up two-thirds of whatever he ingested. I smelled like and was soaked in sour milk for most of those early days. I love being a mom, but it’s not always a Hallmark card. It’s so refreshing and helpful when a celebrity like Vanessa Lachey is able to share her experiences to demystify motherhood. Not everyone has to experience motherhood in the same way. Lachey gives some great advice I wish every mother could hear. She says:
“Worrying is a waste of time. Once Camden was born, certain fears calmed down. I no longer thought, ‘Will I be able to do this?’ My instincts really did kick in. We stumble and make mistakes, too, but that’s what learning is. That’s the beauty of it. Every mother out there knows what she’s doing, whether she believes it yet or not. Don’t feel like you’re not doing enough when you see a mom posting about making applesauce after you bought it. It’s fine! Just for raising a little human being you should be commended.”
The trouble with the Internet (over-sharing, fake or embellished social media personas) is also the beauty of it. Yes, we can get discouraged if we compare ourselves to another mom who seems to have it all together, but it can also be a place to share real experiences so moms can touch base and have a sounding board if they need it. I really appreciate Lachey’s encouraging words. And if her advice is not enough to boost your confidence, just think about the best dad you know and ask yourself, has he ever fretted over whether he should make or buy his children’s applesauce?
I didn’t think so.
Photo courtesy of Vanessa Lachey via Instagram