What Are The Emotional Challenges Of Being A Mother?

Young mother playing with her baby at home

Die by accident or through Neglect. In this subject the central preoccupation is all about how well the mom can relate to her infant. Worry about being abnormal, insufficient, ungenerous, or lacking in some of the basic repertoire of human feelings towards the baby. Worry that the infant’s development will be hampered by these real or imagined deficits.


The third theme concerns the mother’s ability to supply and manage a physical, psychological and social environment in which the baby will be safe and can perform the activities of Life-Growth and Primary Relatedness. The most important use of the supporting community is to protect the mother and buffer her from the demands of external reality so that she can concentrate on establishing her connection and skills concerning the baby.

The husband or partner has always played a huge role in this regard, and it has begun to play a greater and greater role as the nuclear family has become more and more isolated from extended support systems. Another role of the supporting matrix is to nurture the mother emotionally and to help educate her about the care and needs of her infant. This help is needed and appreciated to different levels by different mothers based on their present skills and confidence.


Will the surrounding environment criticize or leave her? How much will she have to bend to other’s expectations and risk losing self-esteem, freedom, independence or dignity to be able to keep their support. Will he flee, draw or try to find attention elsewhere? Traditionally this supportive network could have been comprised of female community members and the extended family, particularly the woman’s own mother.

It’s long been recognized that becoming a mother often evokes a re-organization of a woman’s connection to her own mother. As a woman starts to arrange her thoughts and feelings about becoming a mother herself it is almost inevitable that she’ll compare and contrast her experience, aspirations and choices to those of her mother. Because of this her connection to her own mother is often brought into question again or for the first time.

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Does she identify with her mother and see her as a positive version, or is her mom the version of what she tries not to be? The totality of her own experience of being mothered becomes a significant influence on how she responds or chooses to act as a mother herself. The fourth theme concerns the new mommy’s need to change her vision of herself. As she shifts her individuality in a very primal way from “daughter” to “mother”, the girl may feel an intensified identification with her own mother which might be negative or positive.

The change from “wife” to “parent” also frequently evokes fears and feelings of guilt and obligation towards her spouse for reallocating so much of her attention to the baby. If the woman stops working the change in her status and the changes in her everyday life style might be dramatic. It’s typically necessary to re-organize life in practical ways.


New decisions need to be made concerning actions and behaviours which had previously been self-defining. New choices must be made about allocation of time and investment of energy. It is among the most fascinating aspects of the experience of being a mother that a woman finds herself at the intricate position of being a bit on each side of the experience. As a new mother, she desires, demands, and receives, empathic support, care and understanding exactly like her baby does. Like the baby who’s attempting to make sense of and structure a chaotic new world of experience, the new mum also faces the challenge of experiencing and de-coding the chaotic communications and behaviours of her new baby.

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