As a nurse I’ve had the privilege of working with new parents in the early days after their child is born. I often get to hear stories about their birth experiences: the beautiful, upsetting, and the “not what I was expecting.”
But beyond the actual birth it’s the early transition into parenthood that parents find really tough, like “boot camp” tough! The first major shocker is the lack of sleep, then the loss of ‘me time’, worries about how to be a great parent, and changes in relationships. New parents often tell me, they had had NO idea!
I can’t help but think… we plan for marriage and not just the wedding day right? Same kind of thinking. Building a solid circle of support is a must do for expectant parents. Because, sometimes things don’t go as planned, and life with a baby can be a lot more challenging than you ever thought. Let’s face it, recovering from birth and becoming a parent all in the same day is no joke!
So while you are pregnant, think about those closest to you – the ones you can really count on. Maybe it’s your partner, family, midwife, doula, doctor, nurse or other friends who are also pregnant, and/or those who are already moms. Think about that someone who can help you with the little things, like getting groceries when you are low. How about that person with a good listening ear to share your birth experience with? Is there anyone who has breastfed or is breasfeeding that you can call for advice? A friend to meet with when it seems like the walls are closing in? Lastly, be sure to check out established supports in your community, and work them into your plan. Connect, connect, connect.
Tell those in your support circle that you will likely reach out to them for help (they will feel so honoured!), and when the time comes, don’t be shy to ask for help.
Becoming a parent is a amazing journey, but like any great adventure, planning for it takes time, thought, discussion, and self-reflection.
It’s no secret that each birth experience and trip into parenthood is different; some journeys coast smoothly down path A and then soar to C, but having a map, resources, and a lot of support will make it a success!
Whether you are planning for your first or fourth child, each experience will be as unique and special as your baby-to-be.
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For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.