Becoming parents is without a doubt one of the most important and joyful events in life, but it also brings major new challenges.
New parents find themselves feeling a whole range of different emotions, which are often in contrast with one another: the joy of the birth of a child is accompanied by the challenges of dealing with major changes to daily life, so while a new mother may fear that she doesn't have enough milk, a new father may be anxious that he won't be able to give his family everything it needs; or, while mummy might be afraid of not being able to hear baby breathing at night, daddy might worry about not sleeping and losing the clarity he'll need to function during the day. While the fears of mothers and fathers may not share the same details, in reality they all hide a sense of inadequacy and uncertainty that leads new parents to feel anxiety during the magical moment of returning home with their newborn.
Here are a few tips on how best to tackle some of the key fears linked to becoming parents for the first time, as well as some advice on how to overcome these concerns.
Rules for returning home with your newborn
- The first rule is to have faith in yourself:: both maternal and paternal instinct exist, and this will help to make caring for baby natural and spontaneous, even when you've never done it before.
- You don't have to aim for perfection: children don't need super-parents, they just need lots of love and plenty of serenity.
- The second rule is not to get scared if your baby cries. Crying is a baby's primary way of communicating their needs. If they are hungry, tired, wet or have a tummy ache, little ones will cry, and parents will learn to interpret the reasons for this through a process of emotional "tuning", and will also learn how to calm baby down again.
- The third rule is to learn to ask for and give help. If necessary, don't be afraid to "take advantage" of the support offered by a grandmother or a friend for practical help with household chores or making dinner.
- Don't give in to the temptation to clean and dust the house when your little one is resting because those are actually the times when you need to rest too. Tiredness can lead to an increase in fear and anxiety.
- Finally, how should you deal with the fear of changing your lifestyle? The answer is without worrying too much, living in the present, and trying to prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed by thoughts about the future. Enjoy the precious moments with your little one, cuddling him (or her!) and watching him smile while he sleeps - let yourself be absorbed in the moment.