Becoming a Parent

Having a child can be both wonderful and overwhelming. After 9 months of pregnancy, of hopes and dreams you are faced with the reality of someone who is utterly and totally dependent on you. Many parents find this is a frightening experience and fear that they cannot meet this demand. They fear they are not doing the right thing, that they will somehow damage the child.

Becoming a Parent

 

Source: Family Life

 

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Having a child can be both wonderful and overwhelming. After 9 months of pregnancy, of hopes and dreams you are faced with the reality of someone who is utterly and totally dependent on you. Many parents find this is a frightening experience and fear that they cannot meet this demand. They fear they are not doing the right thing, that they will somehow damage the child.

You listen to advice from your parents, parents-in- law, doctors or friends. Often the information is contradictory, leaving you more confused than before – choose one person you trust and stick to their advice – trust yourself as well – draw on your own experience as a child.

Books and other people also tell you that you should feel instant love for your child but for many parents this doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time for this love to grow. It also seems that everyone expects us to know how to parent, how to feed the squealing baby, what we should do.

Parenting is a new experience – you can’t expect to know everything – don’t feel disappointed in yourself or frightened by your feelings and your baby. Ask for help and give yourself time to adjust.

You may also feel that your partner is unable to care for the baby. You feel he will drop it or damage it in some way. Just as you need to learn so does he. Give him opportunity to learn so that he can become involved in parenting and not feel an outsider.

Becoming a parent may change your relationship with your partner. You may feel that the baby takes up all your time and energy, you may feel exhausted by continuous interrupted sleep, overwhelmed by the demands and wrapped up in your new baby. While you are so enthralled with your baby it may be hurtful and confusing to realize that your partner may not be, and that he seems to be withdrawing from you. He may however be feeling excluded and pushed out by your involvement with your baby. Share your feelings, spend time together and build your parenting team. For the new parent who has given up work and involvement outside the home, being at home may be boring, unchallenging and lonely. You may need more from your spouse but you push him away excluding him from family life. Both of you are left unhappy.

After the birth of your baby your sexual relationship may change. You may feel differently about yourself. You are now a mother and if sex is allowed, it may feel as if a third person, the baby, is in your relationship. Intercourse may be painful, you may be too exhausted, you may fear getting pregnant again, you may not like your changed body and your breasts may painful and full of milk. All these things may be difficult for both of you.

Here are some guidelines that will help you adjust to the new arrival and help you to build your parenting partnership.

  • Discuss our ideas, your needs and what you want with your partner, listen to each other and arrive at joint decisions.
  • Make sure your relationship is stable and strong. Plan how you are going to keep your relationship alive and growing. Spend time together, give yourselves a break from parenting, allow yourselves time out to play and enjoy your sexual relationship.
  • Discuss the changes in your life style. The baby will not automatically fit in with you – you will have to make changes to accommodate the baby.
  • Discuss how it feels to lose your freedom and independence, career, the home you previously had for just the two of you, the added financial stress.
  • Discuss the number of children you plan to have, whether you are disappointed about the sex of your baby.
  • Talk about the role of the grandparents – how are you going to include them in your family.
  • Talk about how you will bring up your children. How will you discipline them, which schools will they attend, what religion will they adopt and what you expect from them.
  • Talk about your own feelings about being a new parent, your new roles and how you will share them, what do you expect from each other?

The best gift you can give your children is united parents, committed to each other, committed to the relationship or marriage and committed to your children.

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