How to Mentally Prepare for Your First Child

There is a baby on board and it is time to get excited! As an expecting mother, you have gone through the months of nurturing the baby during its growth process - slowly and carefully embracing every movement, avoiding foods and putting your feet up a little more. You also share this special experience with your partner as you navigate the new milestones during scans and check ups together. Sometimes, there might be a sense of fear that accompanies all the excitement. You read and learn all about the pregnancy as it happens but often you are less than prepared for the moment your first child is earth side and mentally grasping everything involve. Therefore it is crucial for each parent to equip themselves with some mental preparation before bub’s arrival. The kind of mental prep that makes you feel confident about every aspect from pregnancy through to newborn days. Read on for our top mental preparation tips in navigating the mind through this new and thrilling landmark in your lives.

A solid grasp relating to potential risk factors

Postpartum Depression or PPD is the leading cause of non-ob related hospitalisation cases. This type of depression affects a considerable amount of new mothers. Due to the influence that this might have on both mother and infant, it is crucial to find adequate ways in both preventing, identifying and treating PPD. Having a firm grasp of all the components associated with PPD can help mitigate the situation. Unfortunately, there is no sure-fire formula that can predict whether this will apply to your specific scenario; it will aid greatly when mindfulness and awareness has a bit of attention during the sensitive time of a women's mind undergoing many new hormone changes. Instances, where new mothers could possibly be at risk of developing the condition, include:
  • Lack of a support system from partners or close friends and family.
  • Stress-related events, especially during pregnancy.
  • A hierarchical history of PPD in the family.
  • Domestic issues such as marital problems.
  • A previous occurrence of PPD in the expectant mom.

Awareness of what is to come

While planning for pregnancy and parenthood may look one way to many of us there are still many factors that can occur that we can't control. When things aren't in our control and challenges present it can easily overwhelm a new mum. It means setting your expectations lower than usual at this time to combat the many unpredictable events that can happen as a new mother. It can even start in pregnancy - being placed on bed-rest for an indefinite period of time, and hyperemesis gravidarum (a severe case of morning sickness) can be the first process of taking a pregnancy expectation and mental toll on a first time mum to be. The best-recommended practice is to read as many books and articles, as well as to watch as many videos as possible on platforms such as YouTube. Our blog offers a range of helpful articles to help you cruise through all of the different stages in your new baby’s life. Knowledge will be your power in all phases of adjusting to your new life as you know it.

Having a strong support structure

Knowing that you have support in the form of your partner, friends and family to whom you can speak to and relate to will significantly help reduce anxiety and stress and will provide a much-needed life raft to help you cope with all of your concerns. Three ways in which you can get the best form of social support structure include:
  1. Accept help from your circle. You might be going through many daunting obstacles. Allow your family and friends to help you steer through them. Even if just to listen when you are having a bad day.
  2. Transparent lines of communication with your partner. If you are in the position where your partner is going to play an active role in the baby’s life, take the time to speak to them. This can be anything from the parenting plan, to the concerns from both parents, or the financial implication involved.
  3. Find a network of like-minded individuals. There are many groups on Facebook and other platforms that can be particularly helpful to what you are going through during your pregnancy. Joining just one of these groups will make you feel safe in the fact that you are not the only new-mom-to-be that is facing these challenges. Who knows? You might even make a few new friends in the group and can have playdates with the babies.

The importance of emotional wellbeing

Wellness and wellbeing as concepts do not just consist of a physical component, but a mental sense of wellbeing as well - a fact that is overlooked by many. The human body undergoes a metamorphosis from a psychological standpoint during pregnancy. Increased levels of stress and anxiety can have a detrimental effect on both mum and baby and can put both at risk for birth complications. Some ways on how you can increase your emotional wellbeing include:
  • Make use of the various techniques of stress and anxiety management that works for you.
  • Pre-empt your mind on how you plan on addressing challenges should they arise.
  • Discuss the parenting plan with your partner if they are going to be involved.
  • Participate in childbirth and prenatal classes with one of your support structures.
  • Ensure that you make time for yourself to do the things you love to do, before baby’s arrival and after as well.
  • Avoid talking about yourself negatively.
  • And lastly, ensure that you are mindful at all times about your mental and psychological health.

Key Takeaways

  • In summary, ensure that you are prepared by reading up on as many informative articles as possible.
  • Try to plan ahead on any possible challenges that you might encounter.
  • Most importantly; take time for yourself!
Feeling trapped and out of touch with your newborn - consider a 1:1 consult to have an open conversation and leave you confident with understanding your newborn here.
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