For nine months you have been anticipating this little bundle of joy. You’ve prepared the nursery, bought enough diapers to probably last a lifetime and baby proofed your home well ahead of time. Understandably with so much to do, you have little time left for anything else. Nonetheless, there is just one more aspect you need to consider before welcoming baby home – how your life will wonderfully, and at many times, unexpectedly change.
The big transition
You’ve probably heard this a thousand times over, but here it is again: Parenting is challenging. Caring for baby will take up most of your time and attention, and will potentially leave you with much less sleep than you would like. Your schedule will be determined by baby’s needs, at least for the first six months. Although the rewards are wonderful, like when you catch her smiling at you for the first time, or responding joyfully to your voice. You will also have periods when you’re feeling stretched and overwhelmed.
If that happens, don’t worry and don’t feel guilty. You just need a little ‘me time’ to rejuvenate and get back to your best self. Get daddy or grandma to take over for a few hours while you have some much-needed rest. You’ll feel much better after that – guaranteed!
With so much of your attention focused on baby, it can take a toll on your relationship with your significant other. After baby arrives, you are not just ‘husband’ and ‘wife’, but also ‘daddy’ and ‘mommy’, ‘baby-calmer’ and ‘baby changer’, ‘baby feeder’ and ‘baby playmate’, and the list goes on. Combined with the financial demands to provide the best for baby, the dynamics and level of intimacy within your relationship will certainly change.
However, with combined determination and effort, your relationship can grow to be stronger than ever. As difficult as it may be at times, always keep communication between the both of you as open and honest as possible. Try to place yourselves in each other’s shoes to better understand what the other is going through. Most importantly, allocate a few hours or one day each week for just you and your partner. Take that opportunity to reconnect, get to know one another better, and fall in love all over again.
Relationships: lost and found
As you enter parenthood, you may find that you have increasingly less in common with some of your pre-baby friends as time goes by. Gone are the days where you and your spouse could be out late into the night celebrating with friends, or go on spontaneous group trips to the beach. You may also find that you are now more interested in ‘baby matters’ rather than shopping for the latest fashion. As a result, you may just stop spending time together, with each leading your own lives.
Nonetheless, being a parent also means that you have many opportunities to meet new friends and other parents who you can share this stage of your life with. The key is not to isolate yourself, but to go out and socialise with others. Take a parenting class, or join in on a play date with other mommies. You may just find yourself a new support group.
The ultimate reward
Yes, it is undeniable that your life will be changed for good after baby arrives. Nonetheless, try to enjoy every moment of it as you learn to master your new role. Be open to the many surprises that will certainly come your way and always look on the positive side of things. Remember that you are doing it all for your little precious… and that should be rewarding enough.