Women need to cope with psychological, social, and physical changes during the transition to motherhood period. They experience heightened vulnerability and contend with tremendous challenges as they transition to motherhood. There exists a broad array of health problems related to pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, and breastfeeding encountered by women. For example, pains related to the birth process and the feeling of exhaustion may affect the ability and desire of the mother to care for her newborn child. The developmental, emotional, and physical challenges that women encounter can be addressed through the provision of social support and matrescence awareness.
Women experience emotional and physical challenges during the transition to motherhood potentially. Sacks reveal that a section of women she has helped during the postpartum period believes they are neither good at motherhood nor enjoy their new status (n.p.). Caring for the baby is one of the most challenging responsibilities that mothers have. During the early stages of transition, mothers do not understand how to focus their attention on their babies. Besides, mothers think about their external relationships, hobbies, careers, and physical needs like having sex and swimming (Sacks n.p.). Hence, new mothers need social support and guidance to become competent caring mothers. Social support produces optimal outcomes on women’s transition to motherhood (Leahy-Warren 369). Helping new mothers with household chores and infant care can have desirable results on the emotional wellbeing of mothers. The help offered by husbands or babysitters alleviates the physical strain experienced by mothers. New mothers can also be given opportunities to interact with other mothers with similar predicaments (Wilcox and Dew 29). By interacting with other mothers, new mothers are reassured that personal experiences are valuable. Similarly, new mothers can enjoy emotional support and company from partners, neighbors, relatives. The emotional support and intimate interactions enhance the competence of new mothers as parents.
Adolescent mothers face substantial development challenges related to motherhood responsibilities. Good physical and emotional wellness can influence the process of transition to motherhood. Adolescent mothers harbor negative thoughts about being mothers (Davis and Moore 84). Teenage mothers, for example, reflect on how becoming mothers at a young age is likely to affect their future life plans. Sacks believes that the feelings exhibited by new mothers, especially adolescents, are best explained using the concept of matrescence (n.p.). Matrescence is a situation during the transition to motherhood in which the body and hormonal changes affect how women feel emotionally. Matrescence equally conditions how a new mother fits into the contemporary world (Sacks n.p.). The new mothers are uneducated on the matrescence feeling, and consequently, they end up mistaking the body and hormone changes as postpartum depression. Mothers can be educated on matrescence to cope with such changes, thereby feeling happy about their new motherhood status (Perry-Jenkins and Claxton 25). In this way, new mothers can demonstrate commitment to caring for their babies as they learn how to fit into their new reality.
Transition to motherhood represents a period in which mothers undergo bodily and hormonal changes as they assume their new maternal tasks. The period is marked by adjustment to new status and roles. In addition, the new mothers adjust to caring for their babies, as well as cope with their physical, emotional, and social needs. Indeed, providing social support for mothers with regard to caring for babies and performing household chores is important in facilitating the transition process. Further, engaging mothers in talk therapies alter their perceptions regarding motherhood. Moreover, mothers need to talk to other women in similar situations to bolster their motherhood experiences.
Davis, Shannon, and Sara, Moore. “Bearing Children, Becoming Mothers: The Influence of Childbearing on Unmarried Women’s Gender Ideology.” International Journal of Sociology of the Family, vol. 36, no. 2, 2010, pp. 77–91.
Leahy-Warren, Patricia. “Social Support for First-Time Mothers: An Irish Study”. The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, vol. 32, no. 6, 2007, pp. 368 – 374.
Perry-Jenkins, Maureen, and Amy Claxton. “The Transition to Parenthood and the Reasons ‘Momma Ain’t Happy.’” Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. 73, no. 1, 2011, pp. 23–28.
Sacks, Alexandra. “A New Way to Think About the Transition to Motherhood”. TED Residency, May 2018, https://www.ted.com/talks/alexandra_sacks_a_new_way_to_think_about_the_transition_to_motherhood.
Wilcox, Bradford, and Jeffrey, Dew. “Motherhood and Marriage: A Response.” Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. 73, no. 1, 2011, pp. 29–32