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Adjusting to Becoming a Parent

Posted on 5/11/2012 in Pregnancy & Baby & Well-Being

Having your first baby is a very rewarding experience -- something that many new mums won’t admit to until
after their baby has grown. Once the baby comes, you will feel love that you never knew existed, but you will also feel terrified, exhausted, frustrated and stressed. Parenthood is a steep learning curve, but the following tips will help you cope and get to the point where you love your new role.

Your baby

In the first few months especially, you will find caring for a newborn to be time-consuming, dirty, sometimes mundane and often hectic -- and you will do it all while sleep deprived. You may find this to be a huge jolt from the existence you knew before, like when you lived a carefree life with few responsibilities and your weekends and evenings were free.

If you feel like you can’t cope with the constant demands, this is normal. Just make sure you always speak up and ask for help instead of trying to be the hero. There is absolutely no such thing as perfect parenting, but as long as you love your baby and learn to trust your instincts, you will get through it!

Yourself, the mother

At the moment it probably feels impossible, but don’t be afraid to take time for yourself, even if it’s 10 minutes of peace in the shower. It’s not being selfish! If you’re a single mother this will obviously be more difficult, but if you have a partner then enlist their help so you can do one thing for yourself each day that doesn’t involve your child, such as exercising, reading, writing, going shopping or talking with a friend. Even getting out for a walk with your baby can be a great way to re-energise; just remember to wear a comfortable nursing top and bring your diaper bag with you in case of emergencies!

At some point you will feel ready to take advantage of babysitting offers from friends and family. While it may feel wrong for you to go anywhere without your baby, remember that it’s important to take time to do things that will keep you healthy and happy so that you can be a better caregiver for your baby.

Your relationship

Besides beauty rest, it’s the parents’ relationship that often suffers the most during those early months of parenthood. It’s important that you and your partner acknowledge from the start that having a baby will be difficult, and make a promise that you will always talk about your problems and frustrations.

The major issue is generally that parents become so wrapped up in parenting that they forget to make time for each other, which can damage the relationship. You may find your roles in the relationship will change, which can be very hard for both parties, and especially in heterosexual relationships when traditional gender roles become strengthened.

To lessen the impact of these changes, resolve to work as a team and be respectful of each other’s roles. Additionally, even though you may have less time than you did before, it’s crucial that you still spend as much quality time together as possible.

Above all, remember that the baby stage of your parenthood doesn’t last forever. Older children bring problems of their own, so enjoy the baby stage while it lasts!


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