With any transition in life, there is an adjustment period. When we move to a new city or accept a new job, there's always a bit of time that passes before we feel comfortable in new surroundings or a new role. Sometimes, big transitions leave even the most capable among us feeling a bit of imposter syndrome and thinking, "I don't know what I'm doing."
Motherhood is perhaps the biggest transition many of us will make in our lifetime, and it is totally normal to feel like you don't know what you're doing at first.
A recent survey of 2,000 American mothers conducted by OnePoll suggests it takes almost 14 weeks for new mamas to feel like they've got the hang of motherhood, the New York Post reports. And that is a few weeks shy of the four months and 23 days suggested in a previous survey done back in 2012.
These marketing surveys are not exactly scientific but an actual study published this month in the journal Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare backs them up. It suggests that, for most moms, the confidence boost doesn't come before the 6-month mark.
"About 25% of first-time mothers experienced a period with low maternal confidence, low maternal mood and high parental stress; yet, for most mothers, their confidence, mood and stress improved in the first 6 months after birth," the study's authors write.
So if you're feeling like you don't know what you are doing today, mama, know that one day soon, you will.
That day may be 14 weeks, 4 months or 6 months from now, but it will get easier. And if that day feels too far away, don't be afraid to ask for help.
Not being a walking encyclopedia of infant care doesn't make you an imposter. You are a mother, you're just a new mother.
It's okay to be new at something. We don't walk into a new job expecting to know everything on day one, or head into our first yoga class thinking we'll be bending into a human pretzel that afternoon. It takes time to get comfortable, and it takes practice to get proficient. You have to change a few diapers in the light of day before you can do it in the dark.
You might also like:
- After having a second baby, I needed to rediscover my parenting confidence
- Why being a first-time mom is so hard
- Confession about motherhood: I've been winging it