Essential steps in preparing for baby (that you might not have thought of)
Preparing for when the baby comes is more than just getting the nursery painted. You may have the car seat purchased, the baby shower cards written and sent, but there are some vital steps to take before the baby comes. And yet these steps can be easy to overlook.
- Make sure you and your partner are in a good space (relationally)
There’s nothing like bringing home a new baby to stress the cracks in your relationship. Raising kids is hard, so it helps to go into it with a relationship you can depend on. Before the baby arrives spend some time investing in each other. There are some excellent books out there, such as The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman that can help stir up some discussion. Consider investing in a couple sessions of couples therapy to deal with some of those issues that have never quite gotten resolved. Or spend some time with other couples whose relationship you’d like to emulate. Go on dates, do something romantic together and build into your relationship.
- Build your community
Being on maternity leave can be quite lonely, especially if this is your first time. It can be quite a shock when you are used to seeing lots of people at work and having projects and deadlines to challenge you. Take some time now to investigate where to find programs, playdates and meet-ups. There are lots of Facebook groups for new moms and dads, and the Early Years Centre has a number of programs as well. Yes this might feel like a daunting idea – to meet up with moms or dads you don’t know. But it’s also a great way to meet new people going through similar life journeys. After all, you need someone to commiserate when you’ve slept two hours in the past three days, or celebrate with you when your baby says their first word.
- Discuss expectations with your family
Does your mom think she is going to be holding your hand the whole time you’re in labour? Do you want her to? Are you counting on your parents to take care of your toddler for the first two days/weeks/months after your new little one comes home? Do they know that? Shocking as this may seem, your family are not mind-readers. So if you have expectations, it is incredibly helpful for you to communicate them. It’s also helpful to ask your family what their expectations are. Plan some time to ask your parents how they see themselves contributing when your new addition arrives, and let them know what you need as well. This can save a lot of hurt feelings and heartache.
Communication, intention and appreciation can all help make your transition to parenting smoother.