Everyone knows that becoming a parent means that your lifestyle will change drastically, but many mothers- and fathers-to-be don’t realize that they can take steps to prepare for life after baby. We’re not talking about stocking up on diapers and going on maternity leave – we’re talking about preparing both mentally and emotionally for a new phase in life.
Preparing for the change that comes with being a new parent can also prevent post-partum depression, which has been shown to be caused by feelings of being overwhelmed by the birth, not having enough help, and a sense of isolation.
Besides post-partum depression, a lack of preparation can also cause fear to come up during childbirth, which can cause the labour to slow down or even stall.
The most important thing to remember about being a new parent is that it takes almost every waking moment to look after a newborn, so please:
• don’t try to get anything else done
• sleep when the baby sleeps
• if possible, try to get someone in to help you, even if for just a few hours a day, to cook some food, do the laundry and clean the kitchen (this truly cannot be stressed enough—get help!)
Remember, your only job, as a new mom or dad is to look after your baby and yourself, that’s it.
What can you prepare for?
Keep in mind that since you will be busy around the clock with activities related to keeping yourself and your baby safe and healthy, some sacrifices may need to be made in other parts of your life.
While not all of the following will may be applicable to you, as the saying goes, “hope for the best, prepare for the worst”:
Loss of free time:
• Not seeing friends or going to many social events
• Not staying current in your field/profession
• Having to give up personal interests, such as exercise or hobbies
Lack of money:
• Not being able to maintain the lifestyle you used to enjoy
• Stress about how to pay the bills
• Feelings of inadequacy
Changes in your personality:
• You may not care about things you used to care about
• Not having much to talk about with your friends (except your baby)
• Exhaustion and isolation may cause depression and stress
Changes in your relationship with your partner:
• Lack of sex-drive due to fatigue
• Possible feelings of insecurity or jealousy
While some of these won’t even matter to you anymore, and others may matter more, all of these things can be outweighed by the fact that you have your beautiful little baby in your arms.
The point here is to think about these things so that you are prepared and can more easily transition into parenthood. These are all very normal feelings, so remember – you are not alone!. Find a mommy group or a breastfeeding group to join before you give birth, so that you already feel comfortable going there after baby arrives. I cannot stress how important it is to have people to share your feelings with.
How can you prepare?
Talk with your partner about each of the above-mentioned changes that you may face. Write down the three that concern each of you the most.
Your three main concerns:
Your partner’s three main concerns:
Now write down some things you can do to prepare for each concern.
Action Plan for your three concerns:
Action Plan for your partner’s three concerns:
Last of all, talk about how your relationship might change once the baby is born. What small things can you prepare for now to help you minimize the emotional strain of a changing relationship?
Excerpt From: The Peaceful Birth Workbook