Most pregnant women know that when they have their baby, life will change. Change is probably the one constant that all new moms can expect. As a baby planner, my job is to prepare families for their role as parents. This preparation varies from family to family, but I always support using a whole family approach – one that respects the individuals’ parenting style(s) and is geared towards balance and respect for all members of the family: parents, new baby(ies) and siblings. For all first-time parents, there is an unmistakable learning curve and it takes time for them to gain their stride. For some, this change is smooth, while others experience a transition marked by turbulent and ambivalence. I’ve listened to many new parents say that maybe they aren’t meant to be parents because they don’t feel a bond with their baby or their baby cries for hours and hours each day or because their baby isn’t as good of a sleeper as other babies. How quickly you adjust to your new role after birth or how much or little that your baby sleeps and cries do not define your success as a parent. It’s how you overcome challenges and find balance within your life that really matters.
Motherhood is a different experience for everyone. Some moms claim to give the “real story” on motherhood and others profess the endless joy and happiness they feel every moment of every day with their new baby. Some mothers bond instantly and strongly while others find it difficult to adjust to this new stranger. Many factors come into play and no experience is right or wrong. There is no “telling the truth about motherhood” as many self help or parenting books claim – the most important tenet of successful parenthood and adjustment is that you respect all needs of the family. Sometimes, what is deemed best by experts just isn’t right for you and your family, and that’s okay. Finding this balance can be difficult, given the mix of peer and societal pressures, and oftentimes flat-out contradictory information, that bombard new parents. Creating and embracing a network of supportive people can help you find this balance. It is almost cliché to say that new parents need to ask for help, but new parents must be open to both asking for and receiving help to enable that critical balance.