Joyous. Thrilling. Terrifying. Monumental. Overwhelming.
As a first-time parent, the emotions you experience are likely to run the gamut as you navigate pregnancy or adoption and the blessing of bringing a baby into your home. Most parents-to-be will face feelings of overwhelming at some point in the process, and it’s no wonder given the complexity of the life change you’re about to experience! Don’t fret; if you’re feeling engulfed by worries that you won’t be prepared, it’s often helpful to compartmentalize your baby prep mindset and tackle manageable pieces one at a time.
Lots and lots of money is spent on super-smart marketing techniques that make you think you need every baby product money can buy. (I mean, baby bathrobes are adorable, but do you really need one?) In truth, there are only a few necessities to have on hand before baby arrives: diaper, wipes, onesies and footed pajamas, swaddles, an infant car seat, formula or breastfeeding supplies and a safe place for baby to sleep. You can be a fully-functional parent with just these items – promise! Not only will unnecessary equipment and products take up precious space in your home, but the ‘buy it all’ mindset is a surefire avenue to overwhelm.
The Touchy-Feely Part
When you’re an expectant parent, there can be a tendency to turn your focus inward, planning and anticipating this new and exciting stage of life. Take this time to get in touch with your emotions, and acknowledge any of those nagging worries or concerns. Becoming a parent represents a sea change in many ways, and it can be emotionally exhausting. Your priorities and values can shift, even changing your relationships with family, friends and coworkers, and it’s important to be open with those close to you as you navigate your “new normal.”
Relationships are hard enough but throw the prospect of a new baby into the mix and the stress can multiply. Be patient with your partner as you both begin to sort out your expectations for your roles as parents. It can take time to gel as a parenting team, especially if you find you have different parenting styles or temperaments – and that’s okay! Prep your bond with your partner for the winding road ahead by committing to make time for one another as much as possible in the future, and by banking lots of together time before baby arrives, too.
Dollars and Cents
Speaking of banking, your finances are sure to change once baby arrives. This is one area where it’s important to be on the same page as your spouse, so a financial heart-to-heart is a must. Take stock of any outstanding debts, develop plans for bulking up your emergency fund if needed, and begin thinking long-term, too – for instance, do you have life insurance to adequately protect your growing family?
Expecting a baby is a time of immense change, and many a mom or dad-to-be has been overwhelmed by the preparation process. Save yourself the stress by tackling your baby prep one piece at a time, and you’ll be ready to welcome your bundle of joy in no time.