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Riding the rollercoaster of new parenthood

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In 10 short weeks, our baby girl will be born. We will finally meet our child and see the life we have created. I believe that children are a gift from God and create a deep bond in a partnership.

As you have read in my previous columns, I and my wife have been drawing up plans for many things – from finances to getting ready for the delivery. However, it is only now that I have realised that one thing is missing: our emotional readiness. Quite simply, we have been concentrating so much on the practical needs of our first baby that we have so far forgotten to question whether we are emotionally fit to be parents. And this is perhaps the most important part of all.

Luckily, we still have more than two months to do that, and we are going to make the most out of the time. If like us, you are looking for tips for managing the early days of your infant’s life, read on…

 

Make the due date part of your life

 

According to Stanford Health Care, only five per cent of women deliver on their estimated due dates. A due date is calculated as 40 weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period (although hopefully you should know this by now!). To keep reminding yourself of the due date may sound a little obvious, but it is a way to bring attention to the final goal – the safe delivery of your baby. Not only will it focus the mum-to-be on the changes happening within, but by making it part of your daily conversation, it will engage everyone around you, and help them prepare, too.

 

Remind yourself of the good things about being a parent

 

As I mentioned above, babies are gifts from God. They are supposed to bring joy and new goals into your life but at the same time, nervousness and anxiety can also come along. Use distraction techniques to stop you dwelling on the possible negatives. The internet is a good place to start – there are endless videos showing mothers and fathers playing with their child and lots of funny moments to enjoy. It’s hard to worry when you’re laughing!

 

Don’t expect perfection

 

It’s pretty normal for new parents-to-be to worry about whether they will be able up to the (pretty daunting) task of looking after their child. But bear in mind that there is nothing such as the ‘perfect’ parent; mistakes are part of the journey. Parenthood is a steep learning curve, but remember that a baby’s needs are pretty simple: your unconditional love and  commitment is a good start.

 

Write letters for the baby

OK, unless you have a child genius, this might initially sound a little silly. While your baby can’t read, this is about strengthening your future bond. Write down your hopes and dreams for your child and put them in a keepsake box for when they are old enough to appreciate them. You can also document the events that took place at the birth, detail the earliest months of your baby’s life, sharing your thoughts and emotions around milestone moments.

In this way, your child will be able to understand the depth of your feelings for them and research shows that it can help enhance early parenthood for parents and children alike.

This column has been a series of letters to my own darling daughter.

 

Practise the routine before the baby’s arrival

 

It’s all very well talking about what you will be doing when the newborn comes along. But how will you cope with the reality? Can you effectively divide your time between work and the baby? Where will you get emergency formula from? How will you cope if you’ve had no sleep? While you have the luxury of time, it’s a good idea to run through these things. This means you can then relax and look forward to the arrival of your bundle of joy.

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