What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Before we become parents, the perception we have of parenthood is often not quite the reality. A life of sleepless nights, diapers and feeding does not seem that attractive. Still, once that baby is in our arms, you will finally get to appreciate the joys and tears of being a parent.
As an expectant parent, you probably know that becoming a parent for the first time is life changing. What you do not know is how life changing it actually is, and there is no going back. The good news is, we have all been there and are here for you with everything you need to know about taking care of a newborn and generally parenting. So without further ado, here is the good, the bad and the ugly of parenting every future parent-to-be needs to know!
There is a reason they are called bundles of joy! Before having children, you can never imagine the happiness they bring. There is a feeling of total amazement of bringing a life into this world. Once your baby arrives, you will feel fulfilled in a way that is difficult to explain without having gone through it, it really is one of those great sensations in life that must be experienced to be believed!
There’s some great support out there
Ireland has come a long way in recent years when it comes to parenting support, be it in the form of mother and baby groups. breastfeeding workshops and new parent Meetups, there’s a proliferation of really valuable support networks and online forums which simply didn’t exist back when we were kids and our parents we embarking on the great journey of parenthood.
Even baby retailers such as Mothercare are happy to host regular parenting events within the confines of their own stores to help foster that sense of community and ensure new parents are equipped with the essential skills to cope with the turbulent, amazing journey ahead.
You will become more confident
Many parents can attest that parenthood makes them more mature and enables them to grow their self-esteem. You will find that you no longer worry about what others think but instead, will be worrying about more meaningful things like family, health, and work.
Resilience is something you gain in abundance and you’ll start seeing a lot of the personality traits of your own parents emerge in your behaviour patterns over the coming years, for better or worse!
You will love every minute of parenting (eventually!)
Being a new parent’ it’s both terrifying and exciting at the same time. Although there will be times you will be wondering if the whole parenting gig was a good idea, and you might be filled with self-doubt and second-guessing if you are doing everything right, at the end of the day, it will all be for a good cause.
There is no instruction manual for raising a baby
As soon as you announce that you are pregnant, you will suddenly be bombarded with advice from well-meaning friends and family. However, it is important to switch off and remember that this is your child and not theirs. Sometimes, the best advice on parenting isn’t written down in a manual. It is listening to your maternal/paternal instincts.
Community-based sites like Rollercoaster.ie and WhattoExpect.com can help you immensely with some of the day-to-day struggles but remember, you only want the best for your child, and you alone can make the best decisions for them.
Breastfeeding ain’t easy
You have probably been told that your baby will latch and breastfeed naturally. The truth is that it doesn’t always come so naturally. For many women, especially for the first child, it is usually one of the hardest things to do. So do not feel like a failure if your little one is not able to latch and suckle on the first or even second day. It will take you both sometime before you get it right.
Some babies just won’t sleep
The first 6 six weeks of your child’s life can go so smoothly, with the baby sleeping most of this time off. However, it can have quite a few bumps with the baby waking up after every few hours, even at night. So do not count on 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep once the baby arrives
Going back to work
This is probably the hardest thing for most working moms to do. Still, at some point, after the baby is born, if you are a working mom, you are forced to leave the loving bubble of your new family to return to work. The idea of waking up at 6 am after a rough night with a crying baby may seem impossible even to fathom. There is also the guilt of spending so many hours away from an infant who is totally dependent on you. Still, no matter how hard and how long you have prepared for this day, you need to be ready for mixed emotions.
You might lose friends
Parenthood disassembles and reconfigures your life in ways you never thought possible. And just like a puzzle piece, some friends will still fit after the reconfiguration. Some will not fit until much later, and others will never quite find their way back into your life; this is perfectly normal.
Parenting can be mentally and physically testing; relationships can suffer as new habits set in and post-partum stress is a very real issues which many Irish mothers can face in the early stages of parenthood.
As a parent, we all make mistakes. In some cases, these mistakes are as a result of poor information or just poor judgments. The good news is that it is all just part of learning the art of parenting. So do not beat yourself up if things are challenging, it’s not supposed to be easy, this struggle’s real!
Hopefully, you will learn from experience over time on this wonderful, life-changing adventure, and before you know it, your judgment, happiness and overall sense of wellbeing will also improve as your family flourishes.