Preparing to Be a Mother

Taking Steps to Mentally Prepare

What will a parent tell you if you’re pregnant? You’ve likely heard it already: “Nothing can prepare you for being a mother!”

Well, that’s true and it isn’t true. It’s like skydiving. Certainly, there’s no way to describe the feeling of jumping out of a moving airplane thousands of feet in the sky. However, you can study with skydivers who have done hundreds of dives, attend classes, learn how to fold and unfold your ‘chute, understand how secondary ‘chutes work, and the list goes on.

Taking Steps to Mentally Prepare

All those things are better than simply clipping on a parachute and jumping out the cargo door at twenty thousand feet. And, while you may survive if you have no idea what’s involved in skydiving, you’ll be in a much better place if you prepare in advance. Well, parenting is quite similar. Taking advance measures helps you know what you’re in for, and how to handle it.

You can’t really be prepared, but you can study, you can give yourself a financial cushion, you can find support networks that you trust, buy the right nutritional materials, acquire breast pumps, and the list goes on. Here we’ll briefly go over a few specific things you’ll want to do so you’re best prepared to be a new mom.

1. Securing a Support Group, or Several, That You Trust

You need friends and family who have had children and are available to give you advice. This list of parental support groups for new and expecting parents can be invaluable. Not everyone can lean on their own parents, relatives, or friends for help here, after all.

Also, even if you can, you shouldn’t exhaust their side totally by leaning on them too hard. You want help from multiple angles.

2. Finding Gynecological Professionals

Before you get pregnant, as you carry the baby to term, and after you give birth, it’s worthwhile to have an obstetrics and gynecology specialist you trust that’s available as you need that person. Before you get pregnant, such professionals can let you know of potential health issues you may want to think about.

During the pregnancy itself, you’ll check in with such professionals on a monthly basis. During the final month of the pregnancy, you’ll come in once a week. After the pregnancy, such a professional can help you get your body back to normal—or what can be described as “normal”, in any event. You may be surprised how you can return to how you were in a physical sense.

3. Assuring You’re Able to Nurse Your Newborn

3. Assuring You’re Able to Nurse Your Newborn

Not all mothers are able to immediately and easily nurse their newborns after birth. They should be able to, but all mothers have strengths and weaknesses in different areas. One mother is fine at nursing, but bad at keeping her emotional cool under a lack of sleep. Another mother can’t nurse to save her life, but is able to stay up days on end and keep her mind.

You won’t know what kind of mother you are until you’re cradling that newborn, so at minimum, it’s wise to find an IBCLC lactation consultant in advance in the event you have any issues with the child’s ability to latch, or your ability to express breastmilk.

Being Ready for the Unpredictable

Parental support groups, working with gynecological professionals, and assuring you’re properly able to nurse your newborn all represent fine ways of preparing yourself for motherhood. Nothing can replace experience, but with a little advance prep, the transition will be less jarring.

Read more: Pregnancy Nutrition 101: 5 Foods to Avoid When Pregnant

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