It may have been just the two of you for so long, but now your lives are about to be transformed with the coming of your little one! You’re bound to feel a whole range of emotions from happiness to worry to excitement to nervousness. This is a major transition in your life and so many of your priorities and values will change. These emotions that come with preparing for the birth of your baby can be overwhelming and you might wonder if you are already in the right headspace to become a Mom and Dad. So, let’s go through some of the ways you can mentally and emotionally prepare for this life-changing milestone.
Parents aren’t expected to be perfect. You will make mistakes, and that’s completely okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Declare some positive affirmations everyday, “I can do this!” “I am strong!” Parenthood is a steep learning curve and as the old adage goes, “there is no manual for parenting.” Don’t be pressured by the picture perfect posts you see on Instagram, because reality isn’t as rosy as our social media feeds. It’s fine if you haven’t figured out how to be a parent just yet, especially for your first baby. It will take time and some trial and error. The important thing is being willing to learn and just simply loving your baby!
Your pregnancy journey is your own, so you shouldn’t compare it to anyone else’s. Some women don’t have terrible morning sickness, while others do. Some women experience intense fatigue, others don’t. Some women go through normal delivery, while others have to undergo a cesarean section. No experience is superior. It’s okay if you don’t feel that pregnancy glow. It’s okay if you’re having a harder time than your friend who just gave birth last month. Accept that you are going through your own journey and pat yourself on the back because you’re doing great no matter what!
Talking to your partner openly about your insecurities and hopes as a new parent is essential to your relationship. Honest conversations are key to having a strong bond especially since parenting is new territory for you both, and the year following childbirth will be the most stressful for you as a couple. You can also make a list of tasks and identify who will do what once the baby is born. Learn to be patient with one another and accept that you won’t be on the same page about how to accomplish tasks all the time. Be sure to cut each other some slack!
Having a solid support system during and after pregnancy makes a positive impact on your mental health. Connect with the rest of your family and friends especially those who already have kids. You can ask each other questions and share stories about your experiences. Listening to these stories will allow you to see how different your experiences are and find ways you can help each other out. Don’t be afraid to share your pregnancy fears, and ask for help when needed. Showing your vulnerable side isn’t a sign of weakness. Opening up about how you feel with people who are close to you will do a lot of good. Apart from your spouse, count on your friends and family to support you.
Always take some time everyday to do things you enjoy or which help you relax. Keeping yourself happy and calm is a good way to ease yourself into motherhood. When you have a self-care routine in place you can carry over that routine even when your baby is already born. Self-care can take many different forms. You could take a nap, write on a journal, make art, cook your favorite food, watch a movie with your partner, and so much more. Do something for yourself, because you deserve it!
As we’ve said before, there’s no manual on how to be a good parent, but there are some skills which you can practice beforehand like changing a diaper. You can ask your doctor about the proper ways of holding a baby, burping techniques, and swaddling. You can also find credible sources online to read to help you feel more prepared when your baby comes.
Pregnancy entails so many changes. Remember that it’s okay to acknowledge your fears, to take care of yourself, and to reach out to your loved ones for help when you need it.
- Lopez, Lindsey. Is There Any Way to Emotionally Prepare for Parenthood? May 23, 2019.
- Bright Horizons Education Team. Tips and Advice for Emotionally Preparing for a Baby.
- Ellis, Rachel. Preparing for Pregnancy Emotionally. March 2, 2020.
- Adilova, Nasiba. How to Prepare for Pregnancy Physically and Mentally.
- Penry, Katie. 6 Ways to Mentally Prepare for Motherhood.