How pregnancy sets the tone for parenting

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Pregnancy is a prime opportunity to set the tone for parenting

The ups and downs, the discomforts, and the joys of pregnancy are a practice round for what’s to come. It’s a great time to work on your very personal strategy for muddling through the unknown. There is no right or wrong in parenting. So, you get to start right now developing and building on a course of action and interactions that suit your family.

Pregnancy is a fitting interlude to evaluate the many, widely available suggestions about parenting, on the backdrop of your actual tempo and temperament, to see what methods actually sit right with you for both your pregnancy and your parenting approach.

How you digest your life can influence your future child

There’s a trove of research showing what you eat during pregnancy may well become your child’s preferences. And just as your taste has long-term health implications for them, the same may be true for how your emotional palate during pregnancy sets up your child’s initial relationships to their own ability to identify and express their feelings.

There’s a common idea that you should be glowing and happy throughout the spell of pregnancy. This may be true for you at times, but in other moments, you might feel quite the opposite. If you have a lingering voice that suggest that by feeling anything short of glowing, you’re not doing right by your baby, you can dispel that myth right away. You’re already teaching your baby to ultimately experience a healthy, full-range of emotions. There’s no better environment for them to come from than yours!

Pregnancy is an opportune time to create a parenting wellness plan

The pregnancy phase of parenting is also a great time to cultivate and solidify your primary relationship with your partner, which can get easily occluded during the whirlwind of early parenting. So, lay down some plans now for date night (or date day if you’re just too sleepy at night!), and build in some tools for navigating quotidian tasks, doused with creative ideas for new activities that help you bond when your usual inclinations may not be available–think laying in the dark listening to podcasts, reading aloud to each other, enlisting a personal chef to deliver a nourishing meal once a week–activities that are nurturing and fulfilling, while minimizing effort.

Despite symptoms or sensations that may be occupying much of your attention right now, pregnancy is a relatively luxurious time to plan and set some intentions for how you’re going to carve out space and time after baby arrives. I encourage you to make an actual list of a few things you’d like to preserve in your relationship, explore in a new way with your growing family, or simply discover within yourself. Me time can get easily bypassed for new moms!

Of course all of the strategies stand to change when baby arrives and you learn more about who everyone is in this new context, but having a working plan is a good launching place.

So, as and when you’re able, just notice your interaction with yourself, your receptivity to your emotions, and your curiosity about the unfamiliar. By doing this, you are already setting the tone for how you interact with and ultimately teach your child to interface with life.

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