Do you remember when your life was carefree, everything was so exciting and you were …
No one, yes no one, is prepared for the birth of their first child. Trust us we’ve been there!
You have been in your protective bubble, just the two of you doing things the way that you have always done them then bam it hits you. Your bundle of joy arrives.
Where’s the parenting manual?
You will have probably prepared meticulously and planned it all. Debated the names, the colour of the nursery, the never ending list of baby equipment, your hospital bag is sitting in the corner packed and waiting to be grabbed and flung into the car at a moment’s notice.
You think you are prepared but you are about to take a leap of faith into the unknown. Although you know things will change are you really prepared?
You have the amazing feeling of joy and the euphoria of having a new life entering your lives making you complete; you are proud parents, a family unit.
Along with the pleasure of becoming a family, also come the challenges of broken nights of sleep, the mystery of trying to fathom out the magic formula for settling a crying baby, the dirty nappies and how to bend their seemingly fragile little body inside those tiny clothes.
You reach for the parenting manual but where is it? It doesn’t exist, people will give you advice with good intent but that was their experience. It seems no two children are ever the same.
Overnight you take on a new identity, suddenly losing your first names and becoming ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ and it can take a little while to work out the dynamics of how this beautiful baby with endless demands fits with the two of you also being in a relationship with each other.
Whilst you are adjusting to these practical aspects of your new life as a family, situations start to present themselves that you were just not expecting.
Deciding who should do the night feeds.
You had it all arranged; you would take it in turns. Now you are finding that you have to wake your partner to let them know that the baby is crying and needs feeding.
Whilst you are awake, you might as well do it yourself and you now you are starting to feel resentful.
To your dismay, you seem to find the two of you disagreeing over what feels like everything. What has gone wrong? Who are these people who have started to sound like your own parents?
The good news is that what you are experiencing is perfectly natural. You have entered a new phase of your lives and in the absence of that step-by-step parenting manual to follow; you are actually doing a pretty damn good job.
You see, what you didn’t realise is that before your bundle of joy arrived, each of you had your own idea of what a perfect family was like, based on your own experiences.
It is only when it all becomes real and unfamiliar, that the differences between you start to show out, with your own unique expectations of parenthood making themselves known.
How can you make the wonderful experience of becoming parents as smooth as possible?
The key is flexibility, planning and letting go of the expectation that everything needs to be perfect!
The more you discuss with each other before you become parents, the easier it will be. Do you have friends who already have children? Ask them about their experiences in their first few weeks, I am sure they laugh about it now; I know we do when we think back!
What is the best way to get ready for parenthood?
Our ideas for how we want to be as parents are formed from what we experienced ourselves when we are growing up, both good and bad.
Our memories of our immediate and extended families and even the kind of programmes we watched on TV can all play a part. So, if your idea of the perfect family was created from watching the Simpsons as a child (as unlikely as that may seem!) this can have an influence on you later in life.
So we think the best way to get ready for parenthood is for the couple to understand themselves first as individuals and discover what is important to each of them about being a parent and having a family; and once you understand this, you can keep the best bits and together agree what kind of family you want your children to grow up in.
Wouldn’t that journey of self-discovery be a wonderful way to really prepare for the arrival of your new baby?
The Taylored Life Company Self Development Programmes are ideal preparation for parenthood, get in touch to find out more!