Having a baby can be one of the most joyful experiences in life when you catch your first glimpse of that little person and hear his or her first healthy cry. It can also be one of the most stressful moments when you think about how you’re going to raise him or her and how much your life will change. It can be a bit overwhelming, to say the least. When you and your partner or husband go from a family of two to three overnight, it can be a shock. In fact, your feelings could range from feeling more connected to your mate from bringing this new life into the world to sheer terror that you will now be raising this living, breathing human being until age 18 – quite a prison sentence if you ask me.
If you are closer to feeling the latter experience, one reason could be because the baby is making you incredibly sleep-deprived with his or her constant crying. Babies only know how to communicate through crying, which for us adults who communicate through words, is both good and bad. We are aware that something is wrong when the baby’s cries, but we do not always know what it is. As frustrating as this can be, remember that these moments do not last forever. The tiny, innocent baby that can fit into your hands will magically transform overnight into a chubbier, grinning little butterball.
Remember that there is no such thing as being a perfect parent. There are no perfect people before parenthood; in fact, we become less perfect afterward. If you thought life was busy and chaotic before, wait until you are in the throws of midnight diaper changes and feedings and then getting your baby ready for daycare in the morning while keeping yourself in one piece. If time-management is not your strong suit, having a baby will help you to learn how to manage your time better – otherwise, you’ll be late for everything with a frustrated infant in your arms.
Along with the joys and chaos of raising your beautiful, bouncing baby, maintaining a healthy relationship with your mate can become a challenge. Therefore, be sure to spend at least a few hours each week doing an activity that you both love, whether it is going out to eat or going to see a new movie. Text one another throughout the day while you are at work. Ask one another about your day, and sit down and listen to what the other person is saying. Remember what made you fall in love in the first place, which is why you now have this new bundle of joy!
Taking time for self-care can go a long way. Be sure to take regular baths or showers, eat healthy meals every few hours, take naps when you can, and even try to do an activity that you like. It might seem impossible and as though there is no time to relax. However, taking care of yourself helps to ensure that you regain your balance and that you don’t lose your mind in the midst of raising a newborn baby. It is amazing how effective taking a shower can be; it helps you clear your mind. Even eating a meal can give you some much-needed energy. While you may not have a lot of time to do enjoyable activities, try to watch a favorite television show, go for a walk, listen to music, or something else that makes you happy.
No man or woman is Superman or Superwoman. Raising a child requires a tremendous amount of energy and patience. Be sure to accept help from grandparents, friends, and cousins. Anyone that you trust and know will take good care of the baby for a few hours or a day while you can get some rest. It is typical to want to micromanage everyone caring for your precious child to ensure that they do it “right,” but eventually you will learn to relax and let others take the lead for a while.
Be sure to let Daddy do things his way, too. Both of you need to work as a team to raise a happy, healthy baby. Do not be afraid to ask Dad to watch the baby for a couple of hours so you can take a nap. Being able to recharge and function ensures that you maintain a proper level of sanity that is necessary to be a great mom. The payoff eventually becomes better and better. While your newborn may do nothing at first but cry, within a few months, he or she will begin to smile and coo at you. When you have had a long day or night, these moments can be so priceless. Above all, enjoy the journey! It goes by so fast!