When I was expecting my first bay I went into research mode and loved "nesting" . I knew this baby wouldn't be our only child and so I wanted to make sure I was spending wisely on all the baby products that I would need and to make sure i was getting the right product for us.
I loved nesting. I sat on Pinterest on those nights where sleep wouldn't come and soon was picking colours and themes for their room.
My hubby and I browsed the baby shops, had pram demos and made sure the seat in the car was installed properly. We were prepared for Baby!
But we were not prepared at all. Unfortunately we skipped some of the most important discussions and preparations. We were not set up for when baby arrived.
The real discussions and perpetration's we should be having with our partner before baby arrived
Dealing with sleep deprivation.
Being a third time Mum now I understand the impact of being sleep deprived has on how we function and how we are a mother. I honestly believe that if we were able to sleep properly then everything else irons itself out in our postpartum season.
But the reality is, sometimes we just can't get that sleep. At the time too, the weeks can turn into months and then into the years. I'm not saying this to scare you or have you anxious. Because I do believe there a ways to help and our mindset can be changed and also support systems can be put into place. You will find ways to cope so much better if these discussions are had before baby arrives.
This is the most important thing to discuss and plan and arrange to have support systems for.
Middle of the night responsibilities.
This of course flows on from the last point, but discussing who is responsible for the middle of the night duties before it is actually the middle of the night is a good discussion to have.
Changing nappies, warming up bottles, shushing and patting, changing sheets, feeding.
There are going to be seasons that change really quickly in the weeks, months and then years. What worked before will absolutely not work in the postpartum seasons. How the housework load is shared will change.
Having this discussion before baby arrives will make sure that you both are aware of what needs to be done to keep up. I often hear about the assumptions that parents had and how they differed from reality at the time.
Mental Health and Self Care.
Having a mental health tool box will be a lifesaver for both parents. You can discuss what ways you can fit in some time for yourselves for a breather and some self care. You could discuss when you might schedule it in.
Its really important to know how to approach the subject and to regularly check in with each other, even every day to make sure that the mental health is being looked after, especially in the post partumn season.
Building a support system.
We have so much to learn and change in today's society when it comes to having a village and support network. The reality is that we can't do this parent gig alone. There is also the need for having professional support for what might be thrown at you.
Build a professional contact list. This can be started in your pregnancy checkups that you have. Ask for advice and recommendations lactation consultants, dietions, baby sitters, child nurses and pediatricians.
Talk about how you might find Mother's Groups or other new mums to talk to.
Having other parents to talk to who are going through the same things as you can be a huge support. Do you know where to find friends? you could try your local library who likely has baby bounce sessions, ask the maternal health ward at your hospital, contact the Australian breastfeeding association as they have meet ups and also local baby facebook groups.
Can you ask friends if its ok to contact them in the weeks/months after baby is born for help?
Letting friends know that you are thinking about a support network is usually enough to prompt them to think about ways they can support. But it also means they expect to get a phone call on any bad days you might have. It can be as simple as texting a friend that will be helpful.
This is a hard one to write about because in todays culture it is often a little scary talking to other parents about what the first few days and then months look like. I don't want you to only hear the bad stories, because that's often what other parents will talk about. i do believe it's a cultural thing. I'm also not pretending that its all fluffy and all perfect. I just want you to know that when that baby is born, you will be reborn too. you will a new version of yourself that you were not before. You will be Mama!
You will go through all the highs and lows of becoming this new woman. sme days will be harder. and it will feel essy. But you absolutely have this and you will be amazed at how beautiful this parenting gig is even with any wrinkles.
I've noticed that talking to mothers who have kids that have all grown up have a different perspective. They don't talk about it being hard. they tell you they remember those days and then tell you to cherish them while they give you some help or come and distract your kids and give lots of attention.
You are capable, it will be beautiful.