The experience of pregnancy and adopting the new stage of life is different for every woman. And we understand that sometimes it can be very scary and overwhelming. In addition to the stresses, the hormones are also coursing through your body. In this blog we talk about the development of motherhood feelings. These feelings come to life differently in every woman. One is already in love during pregnancy, the other experiences love at first sight during childbirth and for others the motherly feelings come later. Remember, there is no right or wrong. In this blog we will let you know how these feelings come about.
What are maternal feelings?
Maternal feelings are the strong and instinctive feelings of a mother for her baby. These feelings are expressed through love, protection and nurturing. Also, these feelings are so powerful and unconditional that they can even be seen on a brain scan. On the brain scan, the mother's feelings are displayed the same as someone who is in love. The brain and body are affected by two hormones, oxytocin and vasopressin. Oxytocin is the cuddle hormone and vasopressin make the mom more freeing and causes her to value a monogamous relationship more (Center for Youth and Family, 2021).
Are maternal feelings important to the baby?
These strong maternal feelings are also important for your baby. Of course, a newborn baby cannot take care of itself yet. Attention, love and care from the parent(s) contribute positively to the baby's development and growth. Research has shown that babies literally develop and grow better when they receive attention, care and love from their environment. So moms, dads and family members; spread some love and cuddle up. Your baby needs it (Center for Youth and Family, 2021).
Love at first sight
Many women experience inexplicable love at the sight of their baby. The motherly feelings surge through the body, without you perhaps knowing you had them. You know immediately that you would do anything for this little person and immediately take on your new life task. And that is: being a mom. This can feel a bit overwhelming and exciting at first, and it's likely that there will be a degree of uncertainty involved. Which, of course, is not surprising, since your baby is so small and vulnerable. So take your time getting used to your new role, if this is the first time you have become a mom (I'm Pregnant, 2022).
Love at second sight
But also many women do not feel those love and mother feelings immediately, and need some time for that. Often the cause of the lack of these feelings is a difficult birth that you need to recover from. Try not to blame yourself for the lack of motherly feelings for a while, it is completely normal and human. Be patient and get to know each other at your own pace, you will see that the motherly feelings come gradually or all at once (I'm Pregnant, 2022).
Maternal feelings continue to fail, now what?
However, do the feelings of motherhood remain and are the uncertainties constantly increasing? Then we advise you not to walk around with this for too long and to seek help. You can do this with your family doctor or a nurse practitioner. It could be that you are suffering from postpartum depression or something else is going on (Center for Youth and Family, 2021).
What might help is to think of parenthood as a journey or quest. After all, if parenthood is new to you or you, it's not surprising that you don't yet know how everything works or what exactly your baby needs. Not only do you have to get used to each other, but you also have to get used to the new role in life. And that takes some time, so give yourself (and your partner) that time too!
Center for Youth and Family. (2021, January 1). I don't feel like a mother at all yet. I am very insecure about how I am doing as a mother. Is that normal? CJG Noord-Beveland. Consulted on February 6, 2022, from https://www.cjgnoord-beveland.nl/informatie/baby/veelgestelde-vragen/ontbreken-van-moedergevoel
I'm Pregnant. (2022, January 13). Your motherly feelings. ikbenzwanger. Accessed February 6, 2022, from https://www.ikbenzwanger.com/i_moedergevoelens.php