Author Eligreg López
For first time parents, pregnancy can be a bliss. If this period is risk-free, you’ll find yourselves awning in the thought of your soon to be born baby. The only thing is nobody is quite prepared for what’s coming. The transition from pregnancy to parenthood is a period of adjustment that most people feel is quite difficult. Nothing in the world can prepare you for this new stage of your life but we would like to share some thoughts with you. Remember that parenthood has never come with a book and no matter how much advice you receive, it’s the experience of holding that child of yours in your arms that will change your perspectives on life.
Parenthood is a universal experience. Since the beginning of life, all beings have reproduced to be able to endure. Us, as humans, experience joy at becoming parents. The catch of this whole situation is becoming a parent for the first time. The transition between these two stages is crucial in the lives of many people and that’s what we’re going to talk about: How to ease the passage from having a baby in your womb to taking care of a baby and choosing how to raise that child.
The BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth Journal published in 2009 a study on the transition to parenthood. Even though it could be considered outdated, it goes to show the great similarities every parent must face, from the early stages of humankind to their last. Being a single person with no children is certainly different than having to care about someone.
Nobody knows what it means to have children but parents. Seriously. No matter if it is a priest or a teacher: If they don’t have children, it’s impossible to really know what it means to feel the responsibility of being the person designed to care for that human being in such a vulnerable stage of their lives.
The study we previously mentioned was held in the United Kingdom, where people feel in a somewhat stable environment to have children and raise a family. Those interviewed expressed that besides family and friends with children, health professionals and midwives, the main source of reliable information were antenatal courses.
You will never learn everything there is to know about your family and your children but getting educated on these issues can relieve you from many distresses. Nobody knows everything there is to know about children and how to raise a family but it’s alright.
Expectations vs Reality
Pregnancy, when risk-free, can be a bliss. From your family to the media and every surrounding tell you that motherhood will be a joyous experience. You start envisioning every moment of your parenting days as they tell you. The only reference you have is the parents around you and the things you see on the internet, on TV or even in movies. You dedicate in choosing every décor you want for your baby’s nursery and when watching parents you tell yourself what you would do in that situation
The reality is another. When you’re facing your child for the first time you feel love, you feel scared, you feel so many things at once that it overwhelms you but it’s necessary that you know everything is going to be alright.
Children are tiny. There is nothing to fear. Their minds will develop and so will their feelings. We know that this new stage in your life might cause you some distress but that is also why these lines exist. New parents need any help they can receive and family members, friends, health professionals, doulas alongside books, courses and blogs can be quite helpful.
We can’t tell you how it is really going to be. Maybe your experience will be the best in the world or it will feel like drowning sometimes. What matters is that you feel alright most of the time and that your child is being taken care of. You should try to battle those over the top expectations and know that the only thing certain is that you need to have your baby in your arms to know how you feel about parenting.
As Developmental Science talks about it on a post “The transition to parenthood is profound, as many parents already know. Developmental scientists consider it to be one of the most massive reorganizations in the lifespan, changing the brains, endocrine systems, behaviors, identities, relationships, and more, of everyone involved”
Your life changes when you have a child. It seems quite perfect that pregnancy lasts nine whole months where you prepare yourself to birth a child. When that new human being arrives at your life, undoubtedly the feeling starts showing up. Ask any parent.
While pregnant you don’t really know who is that person inside you but once you meet that special little chap, everything you’ve learnt, heard, or read starts to make sense. Good thing that child still needs a lot of closeness and caring in the first years of their lives.
That time when you get to see your child face to face and your parental instinct shows up is when you start to decide your parenting methods and how do you want to approach that child. This is an advice we strongly believe in and we want to teach you. Don’t try to hurry things up. You, as a parent, need your time to figure out things and that’s fine. Everything will find a solution, all you need is to love your child first. Writer Robin Hoffman talks about it in The Huffington Post.
Maybe you started outlining your parenting style way before he was born but as we assured before, one definitely know as a parent what will work for each of our families the moment that we have our child in our arms. You might as well choose from this list from Parent.co or outline your own parenting method, the results will be the same: As your child grows, you’ll learn which things work better for you and your family.
As the BMC study outlined, education is the best tool you have. It also showed that mothers were the ones who got more education regarding children upbringing and those first days as parents. It is true that aspects of breastfeeding are almost only concerned to mothers, it is important that in our modern society we keep the other parent involved too. Whoever is raising the children should get totally involved in every aspect of their beings.
Every bit of help to make the transition from pregnancy to parenting is great
We’ve been outlining how impossible it is to know everything about children and parenting from others but we need to remind you that it does help. Try to remember this advice when you’re at that critical moment that is having your newborn in your arms after that busy time pregnancy was.
If you’re on this journey with company, also remember they exist as people. You need to take care of your partner’s feelings, that’s why you’re together. As they take care of you, you take care of them. It’s just logical. Share the co-pilot seat of parenting with a person that you feel is your accomplice in many aspects of your life. Before baby, during pregnancy, it is good to start outlining parenting methods and when the baby comes you will have a partner in heart and soul.
New baby, new friends.
Trust me on this one. You might keep your closest friends but single people and people with family sometimes don’t match. You’ll find yourself talking about what your child does or doesn’t do, that new thing you read online, the new priorities in your life and if your old friends don’t seem to accept that, you’ll be making new friends. And that is not bad, don’t feel guilty about it. Your priorities are just different.
Remember you are a person too
You liked music before your baby, you liked a certain movie, going to certain places, talk about certain things. Remember all this once your baby is born. You might not have the time or the energy at first but you will, eventually. Remember that you were someone who enjoyed certain things and you need to keep being yourself. Your kid will love you, I can attest that.
If you feel like failing, keep trying.
During pregnancy, the very thought of raising a human being might seem overwhelming. When the baby is here you might feel that too. The love you have for your child will overpower any feeling of failure and you will keep trying to do your best.
Love comes first
A bassinet is good, that new brand of diapers that don’t cause a rash is great, who are going to be the baby’s godparents is also good to know but, above all, love is going to be the most important thing you feel/do/give to your baby. Love your child with all your being and you’ll be the best parent in the world.
That period where you transition from pregnancy to parenthood is crucial in your life. Your baby won’t remember anything, don’t worry. You will figure everything out if you are aware that you love your child and you see what works best for your family. Parenting isn’t easy but millions of parents over the years only prove that parenting is a natural ability. Let your child teach you what love means and you’ll have a hang of parenting.