Becoming a mum is life-changing: so many new things to grasp, so many emotions to deal with.
And while it is for many of us, a wonderful time – it can also be hugely challenging and overwhelming, bringing up feelings we don’t understand or find difficult to share.
When we asked our mums to tell us the hardest thing about being a mum they really opened up: it’s not all a bed of roses – there a some really tough things to deal with.
Here’s what you told us you found most difficult about the experience…
1. Lack of sleep
It’s really no surprise a number of you put this as one of the toughest bits of being a mum; no one feels good when they’re getting half the zzzzs they used to and looking after a baby to boot.
“I could cope with the daytime tasks easily after being well rested and fresh,” Maria K told us. “But I haven’t had a proper night’s sleep for about 2 years…”
Sarah W says this: “No one – and I mean no one – can explain how sleep deprived you are going to be and how it affects you. “You wake up in the morning wondering what time you’ll be able to climb back in to bed that night.
“I also feel as mothers we put up a good front and it looks like all other mums are coping and you’re the one screaming on the inside but I bet if you asked those other mothers they also are screaming on the inside x.”
2. Baby brain
Loads has been written on what this is and whether it even exists: if our mums are to be believed there’s definitely something in it.
Lenne W told us: “My scatty brain hasn’t left me 1f641.png 🙁 and it’s been 4 years since my first was born…”
3. The unknown
“The unknown when pregnant with your first child – I didn’t have a clue about how to look after and care for a baby, fortunately it all came naturally,” Amy M told us – and we totally get that.
4. ‘Losing’ yourself
Sure, you’ve gained an amazing little new member of the family – but you’ve also become a mum. For some, how you see yourself – or how others see you (or how you think they see you) changes.
“For me it’s almost dealing with how I’ve changed as a person,” explains Raegen B. “I love being a mum but found it an emotional roller coaster dealing with my differences since being a mum.
“I’m more paranoid, have less interest in hobbies, feel immense pressure to be the best and constantly worry about the future.
“I was never like that before so it’s a learning curve for me having to deal with the new emotions being a parent brings to the table xx.”
And along the same lines, Nicola P said this: “I don’t feel like a person anymore – I just function for my kids and that’s it, so long as they are healthy and happy, I’m happy. “I do crave time to myself too as I never get any, but then I feel guilty for saying that! Can’t win.”
5. The isolation
Once a new baby comes along, you can’t just do your own thing like you used to – and this can be tough.
“Being on my own with one was fine the only thing I found hard was being ill and taking care of a child… now I’m a single mum of 2 I find it really hard to get out on time & various other things. I get lonely too,” says Cassie P.
Samantha agrees that “the loneliness” is what she’s found hardest too.
6. Post-natal depression
Not everyone gets this, but for those who do – it can put a real shadow over the birth of a new baby.
A number of you cited having PND, Vix Lester saying: “My symptoms weren’t ones I recognised as PND – but I think there is such a stigma and certain light on the condition: it is extremely misunderstood xx.”‘
7. Potty training
Once your little one gets older, a number of issues come in to play that many of our mums found hard – potty training being one of them.
“Potty training…is by far the hardest thing I’ve come across so far with two children 5 and 3 (both full trained now thank god),” says Chelss F. “So many times I just wanted to give up and keep them in nappies for ever.”
8. The tantrums
Whether they come with the terrible twos or sooner – a number of you said you found dealing with your little ones having a paddy to be difficult.
Dani W said: “It’s the tantrums I struggle with, I am so jealous of people who can keep themselves calm…during one of her tantrums is the only time I cannot control my emotions.
“I find myself sitting with my legs crossed in a basket, squeezing her so hard to try and calm her down all while I’m bawling my eyes out myself. “But I think it’s because I know myself how hard it is to express feelings you don’t understand ?.”
We get your pain, Dani.
9. Returning to work
For lots of reasons – going back to the ‘rat race’ after having a baby can be difficult. There are the practical issues to deal with – the daycare/work juggle as well as the emotions around saying goodbye to your little one for all or part of the working week.
“The hardest thing for me was leaving my daughter to go back to work part time when she was 12 months,” says Claire W. “I felt so guilty and still hate leaving her now 18 months on x.”
10. Changing relationships
All that comes with having a baby can really affect the relationship with those closest to you – something Carla C says she found difficult. “Managing my time between my daughter and hubby,” was, for her, one of the toughest things to deal with.
What do you think?
What did you find hardest about being a new mum? Tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook