Preparing for parenthood
Learning that you are about to become a parent will bring up many different thoughts and emotions: happiness, shock, change of plans, expectance, wonder, uncertainty, fear, impatience, pain of having to give up things, and new kinds of joy – and all these can occur at the same time. Will I be a good enough parent? Coping as a parent and the changing life situation make all first-time parents think. Expectations can never truly prepare you for the reality when the child is born. That is why it is important to think about what kind of a parent you want to be, and what kind you do not want to be, and what expectations you have for becoming a parent.
A child changes life in many ways. The child’s needs, which can change quite quickly at times, will determine the parent’s use of time. A small child needs plenty of care and nurturing, and the parents will have to compromise on what they use their own time for. On the other hand, new parents often want to spend their time with their new family member, anyway. However, parents cannot choose their child, and their sleeping rhythm, illnesses and other changing requirements often come as a surprise to new parents. If the burden outgrows your resources, it is good to know that help is available (in Finnish). It is proof of strength to ask for help.
The future parents should also discuss with each other how they think the division of work and time management should work in the family after the child is born. The parents’ relationship will inevitably change with the birth of a child. Often, arguments between the parents at this stage are related to the parents’ differing views on the division of responsibility, their own time, household chores and activities outside home. Communication between the parents is essential for the quality of the relationship. It should also be kept in mind that the burdens that may come with the joy of having an infant child are only temporary.
We all have parenting skills that we have learned by seeing or experiencing them and that we have thought about in advance. Your parenting is greatly affected by the parenting you received during your childhood or that you have seen around you. Many people preparing for parenthood tend to often think back to their own childhood, both alone and with their spouse, their parents and other loved ones. This helps you prepare for parenthood and consider how you want to act as a parent.
There are many ways of becoming a parent. Most become parents through a pregnancy, but reconstituted families and adoptions also create new parenting relationships. A child may have one or several parents. Becoming a parent can come as a surprise or it can be a difficult journey. If the parent has hoped for a child for a long time, their expectations may be especially high. Being flexible about your expectations and having a curious, trusting attitude form a solid basis for preparing for parenthood. During their first years, children primarily need warmth, love and fulfilment of their basic needs, so it is worth thinking about how high standards really need to be, for example when it comes to cleaning.