Last time I wrote about preparing your toddler for a new sibling, but perhaps even more important is preparing yourself and even your partner/spouse for your new arrival! Carrying and growing your baby for 9 months is definitely a form of preparation, but life will be very different once the baby arrives. Here are some tips to help you mentally and physically prepare for your new addition:
Have low expectations. This is not meant to be a pessimistic view, but rather a realistic one. When we aren’t expecting things to be super awesome, we won’t be disappointed, and anything that goes well will be a pleasant surprise. In other words, expect to be tired and for things to be difficult for at least a little while. But keep reminding yourself that things will get better in 2 week increments--because they will. And if things are going great or better than expected? Fantastic!
Finish your to-do list. You can still prepare for the difficult times ahead by enlisting help for when the time comes, and putting in effort now into things that you can prepare for, like freezing a bunch of meals ahead of time so you don’t need to think about dinner, running errands, and taking care of things around the house that need fixing before baby comes. It’s nice to get your ducks in a row so you have fewer things to think about in the newborn haze.
Give yourself a literal break. If you can’t take a babymoon (I highly recommend one!), at least do some sort of pampering for yourself. The last weeks of pregnancy are the worst, so why not get a mani pedi? You can’t reach your toes anyway so get someone else to do it for you!
Be gracious to yourself. As much as we’d like to prepare ourselves for every scenario, sometimes things are just out of our control. You won’t know how things will actually be until your baby arrives. Sometimes our birth plans don’t follow through exactly. Sometimes breastfeeding doesn’t happen. The list goes on. If these were things that you really wanted, remember that the most important thing is for you and baby to be healthy, safe, and sane. Give yourself some grace and know that these experiences are still all yours--and that you’re not alone. Motherhood is an amazing journey and can create some incredible bonding experiences, not just between you and your baby, but also between other mothers.
How have you been preparing for your little one?