Motherhood is a unique experience, an adventure that is equal parts drudgery and exaltation. The hours are long and the pay is terrible, but the rewards are limitless! You’re embarking on the job of a lifetime, and it’s going to change everything for you. Here are some important things to consider when preparing for this amazing journey.
Everything Is Going to Be Different
Becoming a mother is more than just a physical change. Beyond morning sickness and stretchmarks and the postpartum recovery, it’s also a process of psychological change. It’s an identity shift, a redefinition of who and what you are in this life. That can be jarring and upsetting for some people, but it can also be transformational. You’ll find you have depths, skills, and talents you never imagined you could have. Mothers have lifted cars off their children and fist-fought bears to protect them. There are few things more dangerous in this world than a mother who is protecting her child. You’re going to love this baby more than you ever knew was possible!
You already know that your sleep schedule is about to fall to bits. Over the first few months after the birth, you may also find that other things become less important. Your time will be consumed with caring for this new little one. That’s okay. Oxytocin works wonders to make up for this shift! You may find that the things that used to matter to you just don’t anymore. The house can get untidy and you can spend your days in sweatpants, but that won’t matter because you’re happiest simply bonding with the baby. And that’s okay, too, as studies now show that keeping your house spotless isn’t that healthy for your little one anyway!
Just be alert in case that Zen-attitude progresses into Postpartum Depression. One in seven women will experience it, and it can be dangerous. Call your doctor if your “baby blues” don’t get better within a few weeks or if you find yourself having trouble taking care of yourself or your child.
You may find that having a new baby inspires you to remake your whole life. You may think about advancing your career or going back to school in order to better provide for your family, or perhaps you’re thinking about getting a newer car with more reliable safety features. A lot of parents think about looking for a different home - a larger place with room to grow their family or one that is in a better school district. That’s all well and good, but it is important not to rush into any changes and to make sure you’re making the right decisions for the right reasons. Consider that babies really don’t take up all that much space for the first couple of years, and school districts shift rapidly; if you move now, you may need to move again by the time your baby is ready. Look over your finances and make a realistic assessment of the size of home you can afford. A good rule of thumb is to keep living expenses less than one third of your budget.
There are also good reasons NOT to move after having a baby. Factor drive time to work and family into your calculations and remember you don’t want to be too far away from your social safety net. You’re going to need the loving support of family and friends to get through any rough patches – especially if you’re going to be handling parenting alone. You’ll need their guidance, their advice, or even just their occasional babysitting skills, and moving could take you farther away from all that. Also consider the ramifications for your pocketbook. A bigger home usually means a bigger house payment and larger utility bills. Combined with the added expenses that come with a new baby (diapers, clothes, bottles, food, etc.), you may decide that it’s not the best time to be adjusting your financial responsibilities.
Becoming a new mom is the start of an exciting new phase of your life. You’re going to amaze yourself with what you can do and how strong you are. Your body created an amazing, brand-new human being to guide on the journey from childhood to adulthood, and you’ll be sharing a lifetime of memories and wonderful experiences along the way.
Guest Post by Alexis Hall of SingleParent.info
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