Most marriages are started based on the expectation of having children. While a lot of couples go into marriage with the hopes of starting a family immediately, some couples intend to take their sweet time and enjoy their marriage before the arrival of little pattering feet and loud crying voices tumbling everything off its place.
Whichever category a couple falls into, preparing for baby arrival requires quite a bit of preparation. For the hopeful couple, this is a dream come true, while for the couple who is not ready, this might be a nasty surprise. Therefore preparing for baby arrival requires emotional, physical, psychological and mental preparation.
For example, during pregnancy the preparations for the parents will take a lot of getting used to the changes in the mother’s body. In order to adequately prepare for the arrival of your child, you need to get ready for some major changes and desensitize your mind; and for a child that isn’t the first, it’s quite important to prepare the older siblings, too, for the arrival of a new child.
Tips to Preparing for Baby Arrival
1. No two pregnancies are the same. Whatever you might have heard about pregnancies and pregnancy expectations, your symptoms might be totally different. While some people feel great from day one to labour-day, others have morning sickness, which lasts all day for more than the first trimester.
Swollen feet and eyes might be a phenomenon most women deal with, which for some reason totally escapes you. And not to forget the unexplainable cravings for weird food, and the urge to cry or yell, at the slightest sense of adversity. These experiences might end up colouring your pregnancy expectations and you have to be prepared, because it would be a trying and exhausting period.
2. Get older siblings ready. This tip to preparing for baby arrival is important if the expected baby already has an older sibling. There is a possibility that the older sibling(s) feel threatened that the new baby would take their position in the life of their parents. This might appear a trivial issue, but many a sibling rivalry are as a result of piled up childhood issues not sorted out well.
Most children, especially young ones throw tantrums and might even go as far as to profess hatred for the newer arrival, but this must not be met with equal vehemence. It’s best to start involving them in preparing for the child even before birth.
Start telling them about the new child and how they will be responsible in helping mum and dad take care of him. And don’t forget to always profess your unchanging love for the older children. Even though you can’t give a 100% attention as before, never neglect necessary things you always do with the older sibling(s), because of a new baby.
And if you must stop something, explain to the child and make up for it as much as you can. Never make a child feel he is less loved because of his sibling.
3. Financial responsibility. Having a child is like subscribing to a 20-year-plus money draining plan. You spend money right from conception to antenatal to postnatal and even on grooming and training the child to an adult. You need to get ready for this lifetime financial commitment, as part of preparing for the baby arrival.
4. Seek help when necessary. The challenges of having a child can sometimes be overwhelming, both physically and emotionally. Asking for help in such a situation is absolutely fine. You don’t have to play superwoman or super-couple. If you can’t cope with doing house chores and running errands, then don’t force yourself to do all that. Get some domestic helpers if need be; if you don’t want a stranger around, then ask your family members for some assistance.
5. Natural birth is just as good as a caesarean section. Do not ignore medical advice and stubbornly stick to a process that could put you or your child in danger. If you need to do a CS to get your child out safely, there is no shame in it! Ignore any traditionalist views trying to shame you into a harmful natural birth. If a natural birth is safe for you, then by all means enjoy the experience.
6. Post-partum depression is real, do not be ignorant. Intending fathers need to read up on this phenomenon and endeavour to support their partners in this situation. Having the blues after childbirth is not a sign of ungratefulness or wickedness, it just is. Get professional counsellors to treat this situation, and never let any outsider get to put any stigma on you.