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Preparing for Parenthood

A great beginning

January brings many new beginnings; a new calendar, a new outlook, a new resolution. For some people, 2019 will also bring a new little member to the family.

Like most new jobs, becoming a parent can be very exciting, filled with dreams, anticipation and maybe a little anxiety. Parenting can be a job that is one of the most difficult we ever have and maybe even one we feel the least prepared for. Unlike other jobs, this job of parenting will last a lifetime. This is a new role probably never played in life before.

Becoming a parent is life changing. What will you be doing as a parent? What changes can you expect to occur in your life and relationships? There will of course be physical changes for the mom, but there will also be emotional, social and financial changes for both parents. Fathers go through lots of changes too! These changes can be wonderful but also challenging at times.

Transition Issues Reported by Women:

  • Lack of sleep and tiredness
  • Changes in body figure
  • Personal double about parents competence or skills
  • Unpredictable shifts in mood and anxiety
  • Dissatisfaction with personal appearance
  • Increased chores and housework
  • Individual stress about roles and responsibilities
  • Changes in work situations

Transition Issues Reported for Men:

  • Financially providing for the family
  • Lack of sleep and tiredness
  • Increased chores and housework
  • Intrusive in-laws
  • Loss of free time for self and social activities
  • Decline in spouse’s sexual interest
  • Couple disagreement about roles

Welcoming a new baby offers opportunities for:

  • Enjoyment of the specialness and uniqueness of this new little person in your life.
  • Increased sense of family connection.
  • Celebrating milestones: first smile, first crawl, first crawl, and first step.
  • Ability to guide and teach the next generation.
  • Chance to engage in the greatest job you will ever have!!

How to prepare for parenthood

  • Talk about the transition before it happens. What do you hope or expect to happen?
  • Learn about child development. Knowing what to expect provides realistic expectations and a positive approach to parenting. Some stages of development can feel more difficult than others.
  • Reflect on your own past experiences and what you bring to this new relationship. Who do you want this child to become?
  • Think about how roles may change.

Home duties.

Work schedules.

Financial responsibilities.

Social activities.

  • Take an infant/child CPR and first aid class. Be prepared for the unexpected.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is new so don’t expect that you will have all the answers and know everything there is to know. Learning about being a parent is a lifelong journey with many stages with your child. Just when you think you have it mastered, they move to a new stage. Ask your own parents, medical professional, parent resource center staff, or other parents in your community.
  • Take advantage prenatal or parenting classes offered in your home community. Know you are not alone. Other new parents have many of the same concerns that you do. Learn to read the instruction manual – your child is the instruction manual!!

Parenting isn’t about perfection. It is about doing the best we can. Your child will make mistakes and so will you. Relax and find joy in the parenting journey, putting lots of “deposits into the relationship account”.

Bright Beginnings #1 Preparing for Parenthood

Bright Beginnings #2 The Transition from Partners to Parents

Find resources and available sessions for expecting and new parents by contacting West Dakota Parent & Family Resource Center or a Parent and Family Resource Center near you.

**Call today to be added to our monthly newsletter with information on parenting sessions new you.

The West Dakota Parent & Family Resource Center is a collaborative partnership between Dickinson Public Schools and NDSU Extension since 1997. For more information call 701-456-0007 or toll free at 1-877-264-1142.