Parenthood is an incredible gift. But you must agree that parenting might be the toughest responsibility in the world. New parents who are giddy with excitement to welcome their baby must prepare for the upcoming journey. Preparing your mind for the new shift in life will surely give you some unwanted stress. There is no denying that parenting is not all rainbow and unicorns.
There will be sleepless nights, failures, and disappointments, and this is all perfectly normal. Every parent goes through this journey and they learn along the way. Don’t be scared. With the proper attitude and mental preparation you can tackle them. Here are some tips for you to emotionally prepare for a baby.
Keep your expectations in line with reality
Parents might get overboard with expectations and dreams. A lot of those expectations might fail to become a reality. If you temper your expectations, it will save you from being overwhelmed with every situation that you haven’t prepared yourself for. You might not be able to do everything that you have planned or things might turn out less than perfect, but that’s what life is, right?
Prepare for the unexpected
Life is full of surprises and some of them will make us overjoyed or some can make us crumble. As a new parent, you should expect every outcome, even birth deficiency. According to the CDC, one in every thirty-three infants in the USA is born with some kind of birth defect. Many of these can be detected before birth, especially if you opt for genetics testing.
Depending on your risk profile and whether you are older new parents, you may want to learn more about conditions like autism, congenital heart disease, or hearing loss so that you can better prepare for the unexpected.
Parenting a child with autism can be a lifelong commitment. For example, knowing how to potty train an autistic boy to bring him up as an independent adult is a whole different form of parenthood. If you know about the early signs of autism, you can easily detect them and likewise help your child. You should emotionally prepare and make yourself aware of coping with different autistic conditions.
Congenital heart disease
Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect. It affects the heart’s function and structure by missing some parts of the heart. It can be mild or severe. Kids with severe cases need surgery within the first year of their life.
In the USA, 3 in 1000 babies are born every year with some kind of hearing loss. A number of factors like infections, premature birth, down syndrome, genetics, maternal diabetes can contribute to congenital hearing loss. Hearing loss can affect your babies’ hearing and speaking. Treatment like a cochlear implant, ear tube, and hearing aid can help your baby in this case if it is detected at an earlier stage.
Prepare a plan
As a baby will change your life in every possible way, you should draw out some manageable plan for your work, house, and finance. You should set aside some money for 3-4 months if needed. You can work out a plan with your employer how you are going to manage your work schedule after the baby is born.
Try not to worry so much
Those who are expecting their first child often worry about their parenting. Thoughts like not being a good parent and failing your child might clog your mind. But to ease your mind, you should know that nobody is perfect and every parent makes mistakes. All you need is to love and support your child.
Take care of yourself
You should physically and emotionally prepare yourself for the baby. If you are not healthy and physically fit, you can’t take care of the baby. Eat a healthy diet and try to sleep as much as you can. You will surely miss sleeping for 6 hours at a stretch after the baby is born.
Connect with your partner
A new baby can both strengthen a relationship or put stress on it. You and your partner need to create stronger communication bonds between yourself so that you can draw strength from each other. It is better to decide on things like child-rearing philosophy, household chores, and financial issues before the baby is born. Both partners need to emotionally prepare for a baby and be each other’s support.
Seek out social bonds
Parents can help a great deal by sharing their experiences with other parents. Connecting with other parents will prepare you for what is to be expected. Sharing your thoughts and worries with your near ones will make you feel less alone. Don’t hesitate to ask your friend or family for help when needed.
Don’t get stressed over careers or life goals
Many pregnancies come as a bit of a surprise. If that is your case, you might get overwhelmed with worries about your life or career goals. Don’t think that you are never going to achieve them or you have to sacrifice everything for your child. Parenting shouldn’t shackle your dreams; it should provide room to grow for both you and your child.
Set aside enough recovery time
It can take more than 6 months to normalize your body after birth. Mental recovery or adjustment to the birth and parenting might take longer. Give yourself enough time to adapt to this situation. Seek additional help from your support system so that you can get a chance to slowly ease into your new role.
On a final note, there is no denying that becoming a parent for the first time is a bit scary. You might worry too much about one thing and something that you have never imagined might happen. If you don’t prepare yourself mentally you will be at risk of postpartum depression and anxiety with all the stress and overwhelming experiences.
Don’t underestimate your mental health after the baby is born. Share your thoughts with others as much as you can and get help from a psychologist if needed. Remember that the first year after birth is said to be the toughest of all. If you can bear the stress and exhaustion you will have a wonderful journey ahead.