Preparing for a baby involves many actions, including stocking up on diapers, buying clothes, putting together a nursery and creating a birth plan, but it also involves preparing for life changes. Having a baby ushers in a whole list of responsibilities that will affect every part of your life.
A baby's arrival brings with it the responsibility of caring for another person. Your financial priorities will have to change, and you will find yourself finding a balance between career responsibilities and those you have to your growing family. You will be building confidence in yourself as you gain experience with and knowledge about your baby, but you might feel anxiety about "doing it right." For you, preparing for the increase in responsibility might mean having a nest egg saved, choosing one parent to stay home with the new baby full time or taking newborn education or parenting classes.
Operating on little sleep and juggling your baby's constant demands is emotionally taxing. You'll have times of tremendous joy and little miracles followed by times when you doubt yourself as a parent. To help get you through this initial adjustment, parents should have a strong relationship and good communication skills. Have a support network of friends and family to lean on or talk to when things get tough. Talk with your partner about who will take what responsibilities when the baby arrives and then be understanding when your baby arrives and some days require a little more give and take. Remember that you're on the same team.
Changing Social Life
Expectant parents should also prepare for a significant decrease in the social events they can attend. Especially in the first few months, it is important to spend as much time with your new baby as you can to build a strong bond, but even once you've adjusted to life with a newborn, you might be too physically and mentally exhausted to consider having the type of social life that was possible before your baby was born. Once you begin attending a few more gatherings, you might also notice changes in the dynamic between you and childless friends.
Less Time for Your Partner
When the new baby arrives, it can seem for a few weeks or even months that the baby has taken over. It's easy to lose yourself and your relationship in the chaos of bringing home a baby because the amount of time you have to spend with your partner is significantly less than before baby, especially if one or both of you works. Spending less time together can lead to relationship friction, arguments, communication issues and resentment. Avoid this by maintaining communication. Talk about issues before they become arguments, and make spending time together a priority.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images