Excerpt From the: Peaceful Birth Workbook by Elizabeth MacKay.
Everyone knows that becoming a parent means that our lifestyle will entirely change, but many mothers and fathers to be don’t realize that they can take steps to prepare for this new life. We’re not talking about stocking up on diapers and taking mat-leave—we’re talking about preparing both mentally and emotionally for a new phase in life.
Preparing for change can also prevent postpartum depression, which has been shown to be caused by a feeling of being overwhelmed by the birth, not having enough help and a sense of isolation.
Besides post-partum depression, a lack of preparation can also cause fear to come up during childbirth, which can cause the labor to slow down or stall.
The most important thing to remember about being a new mom is that it takes almost every waking moment to look after a newborn, so please:
- don’t try to get anything else done
- sleep when the baby sleeps
- if possible, try to get someone in to help you, even if for just a few hours a day, to cook some food, do the laundry and clean the kitchen (this truly cannot be stressed enough—get help!)
- remember, your only job, as a new mom is to look after your baby and yourself, that’s it.
You will be busy around the clock with activities related to keeping you and your baby safe and healthy, and there will be some sacrifices in other parts of your life.
What can you prepare for?
While not all of the following will be applicable to you, as the saying goes, “hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”
Loss of your free time:
- Not seeing friends or going to many social events
- Not staying current in your field
- Having to give up important interests, such as exercise or hobbies
Lack of money:
- Not having the life-style you used to enjoy
- Stress about how to pay the bills
- Feelings of inadequacy
Changes in your personality:
- You may not care about things you used to care about
- Not having much to talk about with your friends (except your baby)
- Exhaustion and isolation may cause depression and stress
Changes in your relationship with your partner:
- lack of sex-drive due to fatigue
- Possible feelings of insecurity or jealousy
But all of these things can be out-weighed by the fact that you have your beautiful little baby in your arms, so some of these things won’t even matter to you any more and some will.
The point here is to think about these things so you are prepared and can more easily transition into motherhood. As well as to know that these are all very normal feelings and that you are not alone. So find a mommy group or a breastfeeding group to join before you give birth, so that you already feel comfortable going there when you are ready after the birth. I cannot stress how important it is to have people to share your feelings with.
Image by Ashlee Dawn Photography found [here].