A Practical Parenting Guide for Mothers-to-Be

 

Nothing can truly prepare you for motherhood. No matter how many books you read or classes you attend, motherhood does not come with a road map.

However, this does not mean you should throw research out the window or ignore expert advice. The more you know before the baby gets here, the easier you will find your first few weeks of motherhood. However, you should be aware that you can never possibly read enough to completely avoid all the roadblocks and obstacles that come with motherhood.

You will wake up in the middle of the night thinking, “What in the world is THIS?” at least once. And you will very likely learn something you did not know about babies within the first day. Is there anything you can do to prepare yourself for motherhood?

 

Plan to Do Nothing 

The first few weeks after birth can be hard both physically and emotionally. You might feel entirely prepared to take care of a baby now, but what about when you’re experiencing a storm of hormones and feel like you’ve been hit by a bus?

The truth is, you will not be at your tip-top shape after birth for at least a couple of weeks. You will be sore and tired, and you will experience an overwhelming surge of emotions. Trying to recover while also taking care of a baby can be rough. It’s recommended that you do absolutely nothing but sit on the couch and take care of the baby for at least the first three weeks. After all, your body and your mind will need time to recover.

However, this lull in activity means that you will have to do quite a bit of planning before the baby comes. You should consider putting together a postpartum plan, which can be just as important as a birth plan. This can be something as simple as a list of important contacts and people to call if you need someone to come and hold the baby while you nap. Or, it could be a fully fleshed-out meal train with pre-scheduled appointments and visits to the spa.

You might also consider hiring a cleaning service to take the load off of your shoulders, which costs the average household about $100 to $200. The important part is that you sit down and plan for the first few weeks after birth. Parents.com recommends getting meals taken care of, setting boundaries, and even hiring a postpartum doula. Above all, do not expect to be able to be able to clean or cook for the first few weeks you get home.

Prepare for Loss

This might sound strange, but you should plan on a feeling of loss as you enter motherhood. According to Psychology Today, many mothers feel a terrible sense of loss as they enter parenthood for the first time. Suddenly losing your freedom and having a baby depending on you can be rough, especially on top of all the physical concerns.

Even if you bounce right back physically after delivery (which probably won’t happen), you will still have to deal with a torrent of emotions. This takes time and should not be rushed. While being emotional after birth is common, you should still be on the lookout for symptoms of postpartum depression. Many mothers experience baby blues after birth, but signs of depression are more severe and far-reaching.

You should also watch for signs of postpartum depression in men. Postpartum depression can happen to any parent because it is likely caused by the lifestyle shift of having a baby, which any parent can experience.

While it is impossible to completely preparing for motherhood, taking a moment to plan for what life might look like can help tremendously. Having a baby is hard, both physically and emotionally. You will need time to recover after birth, and you should not plan on doing much for the first few weeks. Plus, that also means you’ll get to spend time with your new bundle of joy!