Adjusting To A New Baby
By Vicki Thrasher Cronin
Licensed Parent Educator, Pre-K Teacher
When a baby is born, parents are born. Things will never be the way they were the day before you became a parent. One thing is for sure: There will be an evolving new normal at home! Since the moment you knew about the pregnancy you’ve been preparing yourself for the arrival of this child. As you wrap your arms around this bundle of joy, you find yourself wondering, “What’s next? Will I know how to raise this child?” Everything already seems so different and in ways you just didn’t expect.
This is known as the perinatal period of this pregnancy event and for the next several months your family will be making big adjustments: Learning to be parents is not an armchair event. Your baby did not arrive with an instruction booklet. As you begin your parenting role it is important to do research; you will need to read, listen and ask questions. When taking on a new role, actors search out others who have done the “part” they are to play, have known someone in that role, and read everything they can get their hands on that will give them a sense about the part they are developing. Parenting is a role you play in your child’s life and lasts for a lifetime. It’s worth the up-front investment to explore and learn all you can from others you love and trust.
Being a new parent can feel overwhelming. There are many parenting books available and it’s likely that each of them will have a few ideas you will find supportive. Take a tour through the table of contents and read a few sections that pertain to you and your baby right now. Get a feel for how this author “fits” with your values. Ask family, friends and professionals your questions or tell them about what you’re learning and ask them what they think. These trusted individuals are also a good source for parenting strategies. Ask them what they did when their baby…. But don’t be too surprised when you learn that the ones that work best for you and your baby are in your heart! You’ll find that you’ve already learned so much from your baby.
Research tells us that there is a connection between the heart and the brain! It is here in the parent/baby love connection that you will figure out the nuances of what is just right for your baby. And there are no two babies just alike. Follow your baby’s lead, trust your heart and rehearse your strategies. Keep the ones that work and let go of the ones that don’t work. You’ll soon find yourself predicting, not only what your baby needs, but just what you need to do.
Each day you will have multiple opportunities to rehearse your parenting role. You will hear yourself talking “parentese” to your baby’s delight. You will become confident in your new parenting role. And as your baby grows and changes, so will you. Parents are born when a child is born. It is the role of a lifetime. Like a child, parents grow and evolve over time. Take your time.