- Expecting parents often have conflicting emotions, and that’s okay—but you can take action to better prepare for parenthood and make this time more enjoyable.
- First, you should throw all of your expectations out the window and open yourself to whatever comes your way.
- Some additional tips include maintaining an honest relationship with your partner and connecting with other expecting parents.
- It’s also important you reach out to loved ones for help and spend some time alone.
- Lastly, make “go with the flow” your rule of thumb while you await your baby’s arrival.
If you’re an expecting parent, you’re probably a ball of mixed emotions: joy, love, excitement, but fear and uncertainty, too. This is completely normal and you should feel no shame in feeling nervous or scared. However, you can take some proactive steps to feel better about this whole thing and bask in all of the good feelings, instead.
The Complications of Expectations
First and foremost, you should cast aside all expectations. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Saba Lurie explains why you should swap expecting for accepting: “One of the things I suggest to expecting parents is to abandon any expectations they may have! These expectations can vary widely. Some expecting parents anticipate that things may go terribly awry and that they will be confronted with a slew of challenges (which may well be the case). Other expecting parents may believe that things will be easy and that their little one will be different from any babies they have experienced before.
What’s tricky and true is that each baby is different. How you respond and feel about bringing a new baby home may change once the baby comes and may then change again (and again). Being open to whatever you’re met with is easier said than done, but if an expecting parent can attempt to be present with and accept how they’re feeling on a day-to-day basis, that could help them ease into this transition.”
While a lot of things aren’t in your control during this time, deciding to set aside your expectations and focus on accepting your feelings is in your control. And it can go a long way in your preparing for parenthood, as well as raising your baby, your toddler, your teen.
5 Tips for Expecting Parents
Now that we’ve taken that first step, let’s delve into a few other helpful tips for preparing for parenthood and staying sane during this often hectic—but also exciting—time:
1) Have open and honest conversations with your partner.
It’s vital during this time (and really all of the time) that you and your partner are open and honest with each other. “This is a special time for you and your partner as you begin this exciting stage of life as a family. The more you listen and discuss feelings early on, the less likely hurt feelings and frustrations will develop,” Maria Lianos-Carbone explains. “Open communication and empathy is crucial to your relationship now more than ever.”
2) Connect with other expecting parents.
Another helpful tip is to connect with other expecting parents, as they’re likely experiencing the same feelings, fears, and challenges as you! Simply knowing that someone else knows what you’re going through can provide a lot of consolation. Furthermore, they can provide you with additional preparation tips that have proven to work for them!
3) Create a support network.
Also, create a reliable support network and turn to them whenever you need to. “This is the time when your partner, family member, or friend can help guide you through your feelings,” Lianos-Carbone explains. “Your mom, sister, or best friend is just a phone call away; reach out for guidance, for help, or even just to hear a friendly voice,” she says.
4) Make time for yourself.
The fourth item on the list is to prioritize valuable time alone. Yes, it’s important to spend time with your partner and to turn to your family and friends for support—but it’s just as important that you set aside some time for yourself. You can use this time to process feelings, to take a little breather, or to simply enjoy your solitude.
5) Go with the flow.
And finally, decide to go with the flow. You’ll try your best to predict how the weeks and months will unfold, but you just can’t know for sure. This goes back to the whole expectations thing—they won’t do you any good. It’s best to shake them off and instead focus on processing all that comes with this new milestone.