Imagine you have just moved to a foreign country. You have the worst case of jet lag ever. The guidebook you brought, which seemed so comprehensive before you left home, does not tell you everything you need to know. You do not yet speak the language, and everything is confusing...

Andi Buchanan


Mother Shock

My sense of emotional dislocation reminded me of what I'd read about geographical dislocation: the phenomenon of culture shock and the general fish-out-of-water experience a person has when uprooted from her normal environment. So I did some research and discovered that the similarity between culture shock and what I was experiencing as a new mother was even more pronounced than I had imagined. The term "culture shock" was first coined nearly half a century ago by anthropologist Kalvero Oberg to describe the anxiety produced when a person moves to a completely new environment. In general, I learned, there are four phases to the adjustment cycle:

1. Initial euphoria, also referred to as the "honeymoon" stage, usually lasting from a few weeks to a month, where the newness of the experience is exciting rather than overwhelming;

2. Irritation/hostility, the "crisis" stage, in which many of the things the traveler initially found intriguing and exciting now seem annoying, frustrating, depressing or overwhelming;

3. Recovery, where the traveler eventually becomes acclimated to the new country and feels less isolated; and

4. Adjustment, the final phase, in which the traveler can function in both cultures with confidence.

These phases of adjustment seemed to correspond so neatly with the first year of motherhood, I realized Oberg had provided a perfect description of the process I was in the midst of—this dislocation, this coming to grips with an entirely new way of living, was a kind of culture shock. It was mother shock.

A mother's culture shock, what I call "mother shock," is the transitioning period of the first year of new motherhood. It is the clash between expectation and result, theory and reality. It is the twilight zone of twenty-four-hour-a-day living, where life is no longer neatly divided into day and night, the triple-threat impact of hormonal imbalance, sleep deprivation and physical exhaustion.

It is the stress of trying to acclimate as quickly as possible to the immediacy of mothering, a new conception of oneself and one's role in the family and in the world, a new fearful level of responsibility, a new delegation of domestic duties and a newly reduced amount of sleep.

Mother shock is not merely the hormonal plummet of the short-lasting "baby blues," and it is not the medical emergency that is acute postpartum depression. Mother shock is the transition, the period of adjustment to the weight of all the things required of mothers, a weight that presents itself all at once. (For that reason, I think of mother shock as something almost exclusively limited to first-time mothers. Mothers of two or more children certainly have their own overwhelming initial experiences, but that element of surprise — shock — is missing.)


Like the traditional breakdown of culture shock into four phases of adjustment, I conceived of mother shock as comprising a cycle of stages:

1. Mother Love(honeymoon stage, the first month): The pure joy of a mother's bonding with her newborn, analogous to the "honeymoon phase" of culture shock. This is the Hallmark-moment experience of maternal bliss that we routinely see in the media and expect to enjoy ourselves.

2. Mother Shock(crisis, months two to six): After a few weeks, the stress of the new situation — and in many cases the chronic lack of sleep — begins to take its toll. In culture shock, the second stage is mostly sparked by unmet expectations and the strangeness of being cut off from cultural cues. The second stage of mother shock can also include those features, with the added critical factor of sleep deprivation. No matter what type of sleeper your baby is, chances are you're not getting the same amount of sleep your body has grown accustomed to for the last twenty- or thirty-odd years. A chronic sleep deficit can be brutal, and it can also strongly affect judgment, perspective and sense of well-being. With little sleep and first-time-parent nerves, disillusionment, frustration and self-doubt can begin to set in.

In addition, new mothers are inundated with often conflicting advice from friends, family, doctors and even complete strangers. This can undermine a new mother's confidence, especially if she is insecure about her parenting skills or is exhausted (as new mothers usually are). A new mother may feel overwhelmed by the immediacy of her baby's needs and may also feel isolated. A mother in this stage may feel conflicted about her postpartum body, about returning to work or not returning to work, about breastfeeding or being unable to breastfeed. She may experience depression, and it is in this stage that postpartum depressioncan set in for some women.

3. Mother Tongue(recovery, months six to nine): Day by day, so gradually it might not even be noticeable at first, a mother becomes acclimated to the routine of life with an infant. Physically, her postpartum body may begin to resemble the one she had pre-pregnancy, and either her baby has begun to sleep for longer stretches of time, or she is now used to getting by on interrupted and generally reduced sleep. By this point her baby is also becoming more interactive (e.g., smiling, cooing, laughing), and with more proof that everything is turning out fine, the mother can feel more confident in her parenting choices, less thrown by changes in routine and generally more comfortable in her new role.

4. Mother Land(adjustment, months nine to twelve): This is the point at which a mother feels more or less fluent in mothering. She feels comfortable in her new role and has assimilated to this new place in her life. She is no longer a stranger in a strange land, and she may even find it difficult to imagine ever returning to the way things were before.

Not every stage of mother shock is discrete, and not every mother will experience each stage in the same order (or duration) in which I have described them. But nearly every new mother will experience some aspect of this total period of adjustment. I see mother shock as being two-fold: the series of stages I have laid out, a timeline of adjusting to life as a mom; and the less temporally limited experience of motherhood in general.

Mother love is something we can experience whether our babies are three weeks or three years old. Mother shock — our anger or disappointment or frustration as mothers — can be sparked from dealing with a colicky newborn or a tantruming toddler. Mother tongue, mastery of the intricacies of mothering, is something that we revisit sometimes monthly as our children change their routines or evolve developmentally. And mother land, the feeling of contentment at being a mother, is someplace we might reach with an infant sleeping on our shoulders or with a preschooler saying "I love you" for the very first

recommended for you


carpinteyroxdf November 04, 2014
锘縠sque routines by Tabitha Tease as well as gnarly gathering music coming from Disk jockey Nadoone as well as Dollsnatch.

Likewise anticipate mindblowing tiki cold drinks, old log onto predictions and plenty more surcharges. Bring your boogie footwear, browse stimulated attires and prepare to get together.

Elis Harry Survive along at the Humor Carton, Southville, BS3 8.45pm, Wednesday Next Sunday Last March

Welsh raconteur Elis Adam contains the beauty so that you can win over any sort of viewers with his intricately made stories which have been amply peppered together with comical events. They're a regular reason for the Rhod Gilbert arizona display on BBC Stereo Wales as well as fairly recently shown up within the Deceive Brydon Show on BBC2.

Final summer season Elis made his / her lastly continual solitary indicate on the Edinburgh Perimeter. Starring Meryl Streep."Mayday Mayday at Bristol Older Vic, BS1 8pm, Exclusive Lastly Friday Fourth of july The month of february

Might 1st. Padstow. Men drops go first off a good walls. Several years in the future he or she efforts to recall what went down following.

Free of charge gain access to together with suitable for everyone.

Foods and drinks

Whiteladies Road Farmers Market during Whiteladies Highway,Clifton, BS8 Seven.30am right until 2pm, Sat Independence day March

Any fortnightly Whiteladies Farm owners Publication rack returning recently.

There will be a great deal of scrumptious neighborhood along with truthful industry meals to pick from (like fruit and vegetables, fruit flesh, desserts, cakes, sausages, lamb, meat, bulgaria, striper, shellfish, offspring, dairy products, breads, safeguards, apple juice, extra virgin olive oil, dark chocolate, wine, cider, delicatessen, soup) along with home made burgers and also sausage comes. Furthermore sale are a wide range of flower arrangements together with crafts.

Celebrations in addition to Fayres

Development Celebratory Dancing Festivity on Colston Corridor, BS1 Exclusive Lastly (Six 9pm), Sunday Last (1 3pm 7.Thirty 9.30pm)<a href=>Nike Roshe Run Dyn FW Gray LightCyan</a> Weekend Fifth March (One 3pm)

Periods celebratory show up happening is one of the major college plus younger generation flow events around Great britain, concerning about The year 2000 younger people as well as being mostly of the occasions involving all the age brackets from three twelve months old baby room small children through to additional in addition to scholars.

Here is the eleventh joint trade show designed for Bristol painters Joan Wilson together with Arril John

<a href=>Nike Free 4.0 V3 Men DarkGray Blue</a>
<a href=>Nike Air Max 95 DYN FW Men Gray Cyan</a>
<a href=>Nike Free Trainer 3.0 Men Green Blue</a>
<a href=>Nike Air Max 2014 Men DarkGreen</a>
<a href=>Nike Roshe Run Mid Suede Black White</a>
angleqtm September 25, 2014
锘緼 way conducted I have a friend might probably guide Bindy, An additional of the actual personalities. With many Indo Canadian gangsters looking for to your man, Brokers of predominantly added competitions rarely hand them over somewhat practices. The reason being is they will just sit and also choose envy, Fear and hpye get started because Indo Canadians build wiping out <a href=>supra shoes</a> their own own apart.

'Blood bags' satisfy bloodlust in creature of the night cafeThe planet's desire for to gain customs has got a chance to thier food place in their most delicious and plenty of public manner in which. E <a href=>supra shoes</a> njoying shopping on the web of is obvious much like <a href=>supra shoes</a> heartfelt familiy line, A restaurant's seller in india does have. For this reason mostly of the usa imports that we are not appearing too peeved which entails.

Modern age bracket types bring a far mo <a href=>men</a> re hardy, Harsh n tight and also a boxy, Angular construction to complement a 3.5 litre V6 core, Providing 250 hp plus 253 single lb feet relating to twisting! Which included a consignments space with regards to 87 cubic feet, A toyota preliminary arrive set up to lug most jobs! Each of aircraft jet pilots have a five tempo guaranteed transmitting. One particular LX different along with a well-known 17 micron chrome effect tires, Gi <a href=>supra shoes</a> ves you keyless front door investment as well tilt/telescoping controls apart full power up tools, Travel manipulation in addition to a CD/MP3 stereo system making <a href=>supra shoes</a> a seven subwoofer use. All ex bf lower is appointed complete combined accompanied by 17 in combination train's locomotive's engine's train auto tires, An electrical taxi person cinema chair, An operating across rush six CD changer properly luxury specs just as natural heating and cooling in addition to the satellite television on pc radio station.