Our 5 easy tips to get you emotionally prepared for parenthood
1. Have realistic parental expectations
To start off with, we need to understand that “There’s no such thing as the perfect parent.” Parenting is a continuous learning experience, cut yourself some slack if not everything goes to plan. You might end up having a high-needs baby, or you may have an easy baby. You might find breastfeeding comes easily to you, or it might take a bit of perseverance. Until they come along, you won’t know your baby’s temperament, or what their feeding/sleeping patterns will be. Embrace the unknown and try not to let it overwhelm you.
2. Prepare to slow down your pace
Accept now that you’ll likely be doing everything at a much slower speed. Whether that’s initially recovering from birth or even getting out the door for a breath of fresh air, give yourself time adjusting to being a new mum.
There’s no rush and most things can wait. You’ve got a playdate at 11am, but you turn up at midday because your baby is hungry again? No worries! People are going to understand and that’s life with a newborn.
3. Practice self-care while pregnant
Remember to take time for yourself. Look into prenatal yoga or Pilates classes (a great way to relax and meet some like-minded mums to be). Plus it’s great for any pregnancy aches and discomfort you might be having!
Both you and your partner should sleep as much as you possibly can. You are likely to experience sleep deprivation for a little while once you give birth, so this is the perfect time to enjoy lazy weekend lie-ins together.
4. Discuss parenting duties
Have an honest chat with your partner or your support network about your expectations. Talk through parenting duties, household chores, and how you feel these should be shared.
Emotional support is also key when you’re a new parent, and not feeling emotionally and practically supported can cause potential relationship or family problems if everyone is not on the same page. Read up on shared parenting and how to split parenting duties evenly once your baby arrives.
5. Prepare your support network now
Family and friends can help support you through your pregnancy and beyond, when you become a new mum. Connect with like-minded parents or soon-to-be parents as well. Research local new parents groups and pregnancy classes in your area. Combine it with a hobby like prenatal exercise classes. It’ll keep you healthy and fit, while giving you the opportunity to meet pregnant mums in your area.
When you’re pregnant it’s important to make healthy food choices and continue to gently exercise. Talk to your healthcare professional who can guide you best on your pregnancy.