Mothering yourself

Mothers Have Needs, Too

Many pregnant women fear they will lose themselves in motherhood. Although it is true that the demands on you will be great, you can look forward to developing your own interests, and you can pursue goals you have set for yourself. Motherhood can strengthen your ability to cope and provide you with a new appreciation of life. Your needs as a person are important to the health and development of the family. You must take your needs seriously. Integrating your needs with your baby's and finding a balance that works is fundamental to family happiness. The following exercise will help you set priorities as you enter motherhood.

Write down five activities, pursuits, or interests that are important for you to maintain in the year following childbirth. Promise yourself that you will look at this list again in the month after your baby is born. This way your can remind yourself of the personal interests you want to integrate with motherhood.

Becoming a mother does not need to rob you of your selfhood. Stay away from martyrdom. Martyrs never make good mothers; what is gained in giving is taken away in guilt.

The Changing Family

The birth of a baby cannot be viewed as an isolated event; it is a family event. Whether a baby is greeted with love, joy, fear, or trepidation depends both on circumstances immediately surrounding the birth and on much that has come before.

Social scientists say the American family is in a state of crisis. Changing cultural roles for women and the challenges of blended and single-parent families add to the adjustments already needed when new life is brought forth. Financial and caretaking responsibilities are now shared more equally between the sexes. This change has given women new freedom, but it has also produced conflicts for those pulled between the demands of family and career.

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