November 10, 2021 3 min read
When you first look at your baby after carrying her for over 9 months, it is a feeling of indescribable joy and happiness. Soon after that, life changes. From the baby keeping you awake at night to the excitement of seeing your baby reach milestones, motherhood is an incredible journey.
If you are going to be a first-time mother, have you considered what new changes you will undergo as a person after giving birth?
While we often talk about the visible physical changes once you become a mother, the internal and emotional changes are less talked about.
So, without further ado, here are the five changes most new mothers go through.
1. Changes in hormones
Many mothers say that they feel a noticeable change in themselves soon after giving birth. Some hormones in your body drastically dip or go up after childbirth which can make new mums feel this way.
Most notably, the estrogen and progesterone levels drop significantly. This is why some mothers might feel sad and empty. This is also the reason why some women go through postpartum depression.
The hormone that goes up, is oxytocin, the love hormone. It promotes bonding with your baby. Oxytocin levels go up when you make skin-to-skin contact with your baby and when you breastfeed, too.
The dopamine system in the body is also activated. This gives a boost to the feel-good hormones that make you enjoy new motherhood as you see your baby grow.
2. Changes in brain functioning
The part of the brain that is responsible for focus is also activated once you become a mother. This is the reason why you are more attentive and vigilant. It is what promotes the protective instinct. You are more focused on the safety and security of your baby. This change becomes more prominent when the baby starts moving.
Areas of the brain that involve cognitive empathy are also triggered when you become a mother. This kind of explains what we call the ‘mother’s instinct’, too. You are suddenly more attuned to your baby’s needs. For example, even first-time mothers without any experience can instinctively know what to do when the baby cries. Even when the baby is little and cannot communicate what it wants, mothers know what to do.
3. Changes in memory and retention
When people refer to the “mummy brain”, it’s not just a joke. Childbirth and stepping into motherhood can actually muddle your brain and impact memory and retention. As the brain works more to help a mother become a good caretaker by increasing her protective instincts and causing her to be more vigilant, it reduces the memory function.
Of course, this condition is usually not a sign of worry. By taking adequate rest, exercising both the brain and the body, and making a few lifestyle changes, mummies can reduce the effects of memory loss due to motherhood.
4. Feeling purposeful and stable
Once you become a mother, you continue to develop as a parent. You start feeling like you have a purpose in life once you have a child. Many parents, both mothers and fathers, say that having a child and watching it grow is the most gratifying experience.
When you nurture a baby, it does come with some challenges. But it is also a very rewarding feeling. Every little decision you make revolves around your baby. The fact that you are now responsible for another human makes you feel more stable.
5. Valuing connection and support
We all need human connections and support. But this need becomes more apparent after becoming a mother. You are instinctively drawn to other mothers. This is the reason why motherhood communities thrive. Mummies bond well and are encouraging and supportive towards each other.
The same is the case with support. As a new mother, things can get overwhelming. In this situation, any help feels like a welcome relief.
Motherhood is not an easy job. It’s a full-time effort and a commitment for life. It does have some challenges and struggles. But all mothers will vouch for it that motherhood is worth the while when you see your baby smile.
If you are a soon-to-be mum or a new mother, knowing what to expect will help you cope better with what lies ahead. Keep that smile on as you accept the changes with grace and joy.
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