Feature image from AMWAY
When I was pregnant, so many people told me there was no way to prepare for a baby, so I didn’t try. “YOU JUST WAIT”, they told me. I was constantly jabbed and laughed at by seasoned parents who giggled with excitement at how fucked I was about to be. “You’ve got no idea!” they would giggle before wandering back to their hellish children.
I hated these people.
Ok, so there is no preparing yourself for having a baby. Let me be clear, nothing you can do will make you ready. There is no way you can know quite what it is like until you go through the process yourself.
But… There are a couple of things you could do to ease you through the transition. You can prepare a little for having children and it does make your life easier if you do. You can get ready.
Here are a few great habits to get into while pregnant. They might sound small and insignificant, but they will begin to set the tone for a slightly different kind of day. They are a step in the right direction and will make you feel a little more at ease when the baby comes.
1. Ask people about what being a mother is like.
Asking other parents about their experience with children is the first and most important step in learning about how your life will change. You will hear a thousand different stories. Everyone has a different experience with children, and everyone’s kids are different.
This is the lesson you need to learn. Your baby will be different again. Your baby will be an individual. It can be hard to really understand how different babies can be until you hear parents talking about their different kids. Wow! Every baby really is different.
Appreciate the fact that people talk about their children in the same way they talk about life. If they are negative people, they will talk about their children in a negative way. If they are people who find everything difficult, then they will find having children difficult. If they are easy, fun loving legends, then they will find having children to be easy and fun loving.
2. Start doing a load of washing every single day.
Babies are small, but they make a huge amount of mess. And their mess stinks; wee and vomit and chunks of food and spilled milk and poo and snot. Babies are wet, stinky creatures by nature and need to be changed a few times a day. In the first few months of my babies life, I was changing his clothes about 5 times a day. Now that he is 10 months, he still goes through 3 to 4 outfits a day, including pj’s. That is a lot of washing.
If I left the washing for just one day, it was disgusting. If you can get into the habit of doing a washing every single day, you will be on top of the washing from day one.
3. Start going to bed at the same time.
Don’t worry about waking up early, or getting used to waking up at night. We’ve all seen those people in TV shows who set their alarms for the middle of the night, to condition their bodies to survive without sleep. Don’t do that. Right now you need as much sleep as possible.
Simply start going to bed at the same time every night. This will help in a number of ways. It will help get your body into a rhythm. You will get as much sleep as possible before the baby comes, while helping you to get used to a more structured day.
Babies thrive in a consistent structured environment. They love being able to predict their days and they are comforted and relaxed in a predictable pattern. This can be hard for us to get used to as parents.
By beginning to go to bed at the same time every day, you are leaning more towards a baby environment without sacrificing precious time before the baby comes.
4. Start speaking kindly to your partner.
Practice this. It takes work to get really really good at it, and you want to be as good as possible before the baby comes. Be patient, kind and supportive to your partner even if they are giving you the shits. Tell them you love them. Tell them you are glad they had a wonderfully easy day when yours went to hell. Tell them you care about their dumb crap and all their stupid friends. You will need this in return very soon. Start giving them all the love you can - It is a habit that needs to be exercisesd and built and reenforced.
5. Walk for exercise.
This is probably the only exercise you will do while you have a newborn. Walk. Walk. Walk. It is wonderful for pregnancy, so you are probably doing a lot of it already. Just keep walking and you will walk your way through labor and into motherhood. Surgery, labor, sore muscles and time constraints mean most first mothers will get their daily exercise just from walking for a while. This is time well spend if you can get your bub to sleep during this time and catch up on a few phone calls.
6. Forget your to-do list.
Start keeping a daily list of one or two things. That’s it. Just one or two things to achieve in the day. For a few weeks, my list had only two things on it. 1) Go for a walk. 2) Drink 2 litres of water. Now is the time to celebrate the small victories.
7. Be a better friend.
This is something you need to get on top of now. Once the baby comes it might all fall apart for a while. So connect with your friends as much as possible now. Get into a habit of ringing, texting and catching up with friends now, so that when the baby comes the habits will already be in place. Now is the time when friendships are difficult and you will need them the most.