Mandy Moore opens up about feeling ‘inadequate,’ ‘not good enough’ as a mom

Mandy Moore gave birth to her first baby this year. She and husband Taylor Goldsmith welcomed son August, whom they call Gus, last February. Like most new parents, Mandy had wanted to be a mom for a long time and was over the moon. And, also like most new parents, Mandy found the reality of being a new mom very different from the expectation of it. While speaking with Lansinoh’s IG Live, Mandy opened up about some raw feelings on parenting little Gus. One of the hardest ones is that she often feels inadequate as a mother to him. Yahoo has a lot more on Mandy’s comments.

Mandy Moore is opening up about the feelings of isolation she’s experienced since giving birth to son Gus in February, particularly as a new mom amid the pandemic.

“I had these preconceived notions of myself going into motherhood,” Moore told Ream. “Obviously I knew it was going to be challenging, but I thought, ‘Oh, I maybe have this sort of naturally maternal side,’ whatever the heck that means. But I guess I just didn’t really recognize the worries, the fears, the sense of responsibility that is so ever-present moving forward once you become a mom.”

“I guess when I imagined motherhood, I sort of imagined like, oh, you find community… and you go to Mommy-and-Me classes and baby classes,” she said. “And I’m sure that’s a reality for some people in different parts of the country, but I don’t know if it’s something that I would feel necessarily the most comfortable with at this point in time, just considering what we’re kind of living through. And so it’s having to reframe these expectations that you’ve had about what it’s like to be a mom and what it’s like to connect with people. The isolation is something that’s really hit me that I wasn’t necessarily expecting.”

Moore added that she’s also struggled to maintain her friendships, because “I personally don’t have a ton of friends who have babies.” Describing herself as shy by nature, she said that it’s been “hard to find community” since becoming a mother.

The former teen star also opened up about other challenges she’s faced as a mom, including trying to “stay connected to myself and my identity outside of just being a mom.” She described leaving Gus at home for the first time last week to go hiking in the mountains with two fellow moms, noting that “physically I needed to do something for myself; I needed to tap into something that I was passionate about before he was here.” During the trip, however, she grappled with guilt at being away while feeling physically overwhelmed by the hike.

Moore also spoke about feeling “inadequate” sometimes as a mom. She shared that the attention she received during the pregnancy left her feeling “on top of the world,” only to then be plunged into the depths of postpartum life.

“Everything shifts to the baby,” she explained. “The baby obviously should take priority, but moms should take priority right alongside [them]… At around three months [after giving birth], I was hit with this wave of just not feeling good enough. I think it coincided with the chaos and the energy of those early months and weeks starting to wane; our time with sort of extra support was coming to an end… It was really scary and it makes me emotional to think about now. I still feel like I’m in it, but I’m finding my footing.

She continued, “I think as his needs really started to continue to change… I just felt this rush of like, ‘I’m not good enough for him. I don’t know how to be his mom. I know how to feed him, but beyond that, am I suited for this?’ I just felt so ineffective, and I would look at my husband who just seemed to have a supernatural ability to take care of Gus. Like, he could make him smile. He could make him laugh. He would get on the floor and roll around with him. And I just felt like whatever I did it just wasn’t right, and I couldn’t get him to sleep and it made me feel horrible.”

[From Yahoo!]

Believe me when I tell you that I could have given that interview. Every word of it, including the stuff I didn’t have room for (except for all the working on a successful TV show). I thought motherhood would envelope me like a mythical cloak. Instead, it was the greatest sense of failure I’d ever felt. I got emotional reading this and wish I could contact Mandy. I’d have her over for a real heart-to-heart. Especially because I remember covering her difficult pregnancy when she was so excited about becoming a mother. I know exactly what she means about the babies needing changing and it undermining her confidence. Kids change so much and so fast. You just get a rhythm down before the whole thing is blown up. Something that made the child deliriously happy the day before is all of a sudden thrown to the floor in screams of disgust. You can never win. As far as I can tell, that’s how it is until they’re 35.

Mandy did a good job of describing the way motherhood stripped her down as well. It’s hard to explain because folks get so defensive. But once you do point out something negative, others open up about all the ways they suffered. All I could think when they finally unleashed was, where was this when I was deciding to have kids? Fortunately, it helps to know you are not alone in these thoughts. Brooke Shields had just released Down Came the Rain when I had my first. I had the baby blues without knowing it and truly thought I was a monster. I will be forever grateful to Brooke for reaching me in the way she did. Mandy speaking up about these feelings in a real and relatable way will speak to a new mom feeling lost and isolated out there. I hope they find comfort in this. You aren’t alone, you aren’t broken, and you are not inadequate. I promise you.

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Photo credit: Instagram

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28 Responses to “Mandy Moore opens up about feeling ‘inadequate,’ ‘not good enough’ as a mom”

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  1. Mcmmom says:

    Oh my – if she’s feeling this now, just wait until Gus is older and can actually talk. The most inadequate I felt as a mother was when my kids became teenagers and I couldn’t solve their problems or address their emotional needs. Babies need a lot, but it’s more mechanical – for me, when they got older and everything felt so much more complex, I struggled more with wanting to be perfect.

    • Astrid says:

      I had the opposite experience. The very early months where hell and by the time my kids were teenagers, it was easy sailing.

  2. Shawna says:

    This is so relatable. My pregnancy was great, I felt great and was the healthiest I’ve ever been. Then I was launched into the painful and strange postpartum period, and all the sudden no one cared anymore about if my body or mind were doing OK. The baby had colic and breast-feeding was a nightmare that didn’t turn out. And because the pandemic lockdowns came about four months after he was born, this newborn months when you’re pretty much on lockdown yourself anyway, I feel like I’ve been shut in longer than everyone else. None of the opportunities or support that I assumed I would have for the baby are possible… not until babies can be vaccinated…. Trying to work a full-time from home without any outside help or companionship with a baby has pushed me to the limit.

    Reading Celebitchy is the one thing I have for myself…thanks for the community!

    • Darla says:

      Oh reading this really touched me, this pandemic has added so much emotional labor for just about everything. And being a new mom and alone has got to be up there with the most difficult. I’m glad you have Celebitchy at least. I can’t wait until the under-12′s can be safely vaccinated.

    • Murphy says:

      Thats exactly how I felt. Pregnancy was amazing, the best 9 months of my life.
      Post partum was the worst 4 months of my life. Its a trauma that I’m going to carry for a long time.

  3. Sakura says:

    I wish I could contact Mandy too. I would tell her that she’s doing an amazing job and that she IS enough.

  4. Katherine says:

    Honestly, my guess is the reaction like this could be from the shock of the baby actually being a person right away. Was pretty shocking to me. And he’s a stranger, essentially. So basically you are establishing this new relationship with someone and what you expect is a family member but they aren’t. So you need to first establish the relationship where they trust you and respect you and after that it’s easier and you can trust them and not worry as much because you know they’ll listen to you and not just go out and do random stuff for fun to tease you.

    • Nicole says:

      Ha! Boy was that a shock! For me it was the shock of being responsible for keeping this new person alive. It’s a scary responsibility.

  5. Twin falls says:

    Oh she’s down in it. So very relatable. The baby stage can be so hard but it doesn’t last forever…even though I remember being told things would get better in a few weeks and I could barely think ahead a few hours and wanted to scream at that advice. Hugs to all the new moms. You’re doing great.

  6. Sigmund says:

    I really appreciate when people are open and honest about motherhood like Mandy and Hecate here. I want to be a mom, but I already have depression and anxiety, so I know I’ll have to keep up with therapy and be vigilant of my mental state.

    I can definitely understand thinking, “oh, this is meant to be a natural dynamic, why am I so bad at this motherhood thing?” and beating yourself up for not being a perfect mom.

    • Nicole says:

      Make sure to educate your husband/partner about signs, too. I have seen so many husbands/partners fail in this regard and it’s not necessary.

      • lucy2 says:

        Good point. I know someone who has been in a very deep depression for some time now, and her husband did NOTHING for way too long and tried to ignore it until it was almost too late.
        I’d extend it to partners, friends, and family too.

    • CROOKSNNANNIES says:

      I can definitely relate. I’m starting to think seriously about family planning, and I have bipolar disorder. So that means I can’t take my current medication regimen (the most effective so far) during my third trimester, or while breastfeeding. And my doctor was honest that a lot of meds considered “safer” do not actually have years and years of research and evidence. I can’t imagine how I would function without medication, especially when full of pregnancy hormones.

      Then it’s like I’m at a greater risk of post partum depression than a person without that/other mental illness. I’m also a risk for post partum psychosis.

      It’s terrifying. I want to be a mom. But the idea of risking a developing fetus’s safety, and my own safety, is absolutely harrowing.

      I wonder if it’s wrong of me to even want this, and if I’m being selfish.

  7. Nicole says:

    The first one is always the hardest. Those first couple of years are awful and fathers just don’t process it the same way. Dad was always the one making mine laugh too and it really hurt my feelings. The second one was way easier. Post partum anxiety was still through the roof for me but at least I knew what to expect and knew to speak up about it.

    I always wonder what it must have been like to be a mother just a decade ago. Could you imagine having 8-10 kids and only having 2-3 survive? I’m grateful we live in a time where we don’t have to worry about that.

  8. Tootsie McJingle says:

    I very much feel this right now. I had our twin girls two days ago. They aren’t even my first babies and yet I still feel like a failure. One of my girls is really struggling with breastfeeding, which causes us both so much frustration and stress and makes me feel like a miserable mom. My other girl has been in the NICU since she was born and I haven’t even gotten to hold her yet. (She’s doing great and hopefully joining us in our room today!) Not being able to be with her just adds to the guilt and feelings of inadequacy. I’m tired, in pain from my c-section, emotional, and just wanting to do everything right. I also have a 5 year old and 6 year older. All I can say is, yes there are things that you will feel that you are doing wrong. There probably will be things you will do wrong. But as long as you are doing your best to keep your babies happy, healthy, and safe, you’re a good mom. My 5 and 6 year old are wonderful little thriving humans and I know I struggled with feelings of failure with them too. But gosh darn it I just love them and I know they love me too.

    • Regina Falangie says:

      I’m so sorry Tootsie. Hang in there, it will get better.

      Have you checked your baby for tongue tie? That’s when the ligament that attaches the tongue to the bottom jaw is too tight. No one mentioned it to me or checked my daughter. She was nearly “marked” as failure to thrive. Breastfeeding was excruciating for me but was a breeze for her older brother. I ended up pumping because I just couldn’t breastfeed her. It wasn’t until years later her dentist told me that my daughter was tongue tied!!! It can easily be fixed when they are newborn. It would have saved us both a lot of heartache. I had never heard of it before and the doctors never checked even though she wasn’t gaining weight her first 2 weeks.

      Hugs to you and all the moms and dads struggling. Keep doing your best, it’s good enough. ❤️

  9. Case says:

    Mandy has always seemed like such a kind-hearted and down-to-earth person. I’m sorry that she’s struggled — particularly, I can’t imagine what it’s like to deal with the normal difficult emotions and loneliness that come with new motherhood on top of the extreme isolation COVID has ushered in. I’m not a mom and I feel like my mental health has been all over the place particularly in the last few months, so I really can’t even begin to understand how she must feel.

    Her baby is absolutely adorable. I wish her and her little family the best.

  10. Gubbinal says:

    I relate absolutely to Moore. But I also have to add this: I’m in my 8th decade and have two sons, 47 and 45. No matter how old they become, they remain a constant trial and worry. The diapers may disappear but could be replaced by alcoholism, narcissism, addiction, a garden-bed filled with personality disorders, homelessness, delusions.

    And yet…I was indeed a more than adequate mother.

    I write this to be considered by those who are think very active parenting can end when your child is 18 or 21.

  11. Shadylady says:

    I completely empathize with her. With all three of my babies, I have this feeling of feeling sorry that they ended up with someone like me as a mom. I berate myself for everything wrong that I do and I worry that I will end up repeating cycles from past generations.

  12. Ann says:

    Oh, I can relate. Some things came pretty naturally to me, some didn’t, but it was always…..scary, at least at first. And the toddler and teen years are a whole different challenge. We are at young adult years now, I while I do find it easier because they are, well, people (and basically good people, lucky for us), it doesn’t really stop and new stuff arises.

    One of the hardest things for me was I seemed surrounded by people who were more maternal by nature and just DID it better. My older sister, my closest work colleague, my mother-in-law, lol. I realize looking back that my biggest mistakes were worrying too much and putting too much pressure on myself. I needed to take a few more deep breaths.

  13. KoolaidDrinkergal says:

    I feel for her, but my situation was so different I stayed at home with my kids as my husband made enough to support us (middle-class). Left my science career and it was the best decision of my life. Covid didn’t even effect us much, I homeschool and work part-time at home so life just went on other than no far-off vacations. I was exhausted when they were babies of course, but I guess I expected that as everyone complains about being a Mom. All of the time. How hard it is. Shrug shoulders. For me it has been amazing. Not perfect, but the best years of my life so far. So satisfying! I don’t have “mommy guilt”, but maybe because I am always with them and throughly enjoying it. Life is short and no job has been as satisfying as hanging out with my kids. Now I know why old people always look at me and my kids and say “enjoy it, it goes so quickly, these will be some of the best years of your life!” Wise words.

    • Rose says:

      There always has to be “that mom”.🤦‍♀️

      • Regina Falangie says:

        Rose, don’t compare and don’t judge. Live your own life, everyone else’s is already taken. All you can do is your best and I’d bet your best is really great!! Keep your chin up and keep loving your family. I’m rooting for you.

      • Gah says:

        I think Rose was commenting on the apparent lack of empathy in the above anecdote . It’s a rather misplaced comment and akin to saying how easy breezy getting knocked up was on a thread about fertility difficulties for example.

        I’m glad she has had such an easy time of parenting esp during COVID but to add her two cents here is tone deaf at best.

  14. Lunasf17 says:

    I’ve been a fan of hers since middle school. I totally relate to her. My baby was born in June 2019 and as soon as I started feeling like getting out the house and rejoining society, here comes a pandemic. No play groups or story times or any of that. It’s hard. My state was so shut down and looks like we’re going back to this. I have family and friends in TX and FL and even though I know how dangerous this pandemic is, part of me is jealous that they have places to take their kids to and are living pretty normal lives. I’ve had a few breakdowns to my husband, basically saying I wish I was a selfish anti vaxxer who didn’t care about harming others so I could just do what I wanted but I can’t put others or my child in harms way. Also celebitchy has kept me sane through all of it. Always appreciate the community and content. When my daughter was a few weeks old my sister-in-law was visiting and I was reading celebritchy and she was asking me what I was doing and I was like this is how I’m staying sane, please don’t judge me lol.

  15. AMA1977 says:

    When my older one was born, I truly thought I would never sleep again until he went to college. I had PPD and didn’t realize the extent of how bad it was until my younger one came along and the difference was staggering. It’s so hard. It still makes me feel like I might cry to remember how hard it was.

    Love to all the new moms, it’s tough and hard to know what’s coming next. Don’t be afraid to tell your partner, sibling, parent, friend, anyone and everyone that you’re having a hard time and need some help. Sleep helps, eating regularly helps, time in the sunshine helps, going for a walk helps. My mom told me that the baby wouldn’t die from crying and it was okay to put him in his crib or another safe place and walk away for a minute.

    Know that it will get better; it’s always hard, but it gets different-hard and you get better at handling it. My oldest is almost 14 now and the challenges are still there, but my toolbox has expanded so I feel more equipped to deal with them. Be kind to yourself; if the baby is fed, clean, dry, and safe, that’s a good job, mama.

  16. Eddee says:

    I really feel for her, new parenting is such a shock even if you feel prepared for it and it must be very hard to be so isolated due to the pandemic. My sister had her second during Melbourne’s first long lockdown and I know she found it tough being so housebound even though she’d done the whole newborn stage before.
    My first baby was born back in February around the same time as Mandy’s but since I’m in New Zealand I could still get out and about regularly without worrying about risking the baby’s health and attend all the baby classes with the other new mums (which was invaluable support).
    I was the opposite to Mandy though in the fact I thought I’d have to work hard at the mum thing as I don’t consider myself a naturally maternal type (I prefer toddlers to newborns) but I actually adjusted much better than I expected and enjoy it more than I thought. Though I still have the odd ‘this sucks’ patch when I resent the loss of my old life. I’m lucky that I didn’t have postpartum depression, my partner is hands on so I can go and play sports or catch up with friends sans baby now and then and my baby is pretty easy going. I don’t know how people with colicky babies do it! I think everyone’s parenting experience is valid and I applaud anyone who tells it like it is.

  17. Steph says:

    I feel th9s 1000%. I had my first in march and its been a struggle. Not at all what i had expected. Nice to know im not the only one 💗