Dear Soon to Be Parent:
Congratulations! You’re expecting (or adopting or inheriting or fill in the blank with whatever means by which you are obtaining a kiddo). No matter what path is leading you to parenthood there is one important fact I want to bring to your attention: Sometimes you aren’t going to know what you are doing AND THAT’S OKAY!
Even before we have our tiny babe in arms we are immediately thrown into a maze of decisions around things we know nothing about and this can lead to unwanted anxiety.
OBGYN or midwife, hospital or home birth, vaginal or cesarean, medicated or unmedicated, etc. Even your healthcare provider is going to give you a birth plan worksheet full or “yes” and “no” questions for you to peruse before your big day. So. Many. Decisions.
In a way it can be a good thing that the entry into parenthood includes the navigation of decisions because these experiences surely foreshadow future parenting dilemmas. You can bank on having plenty of decisions to make for the next 18+ years. So when your head is spinning with choices keep these tips in mind:
It’s okay to not know. In many cases it’s impossible to predict if you’re making the right decision. Attachment Parenting versus Baby Wise, Baby Led Weaning verses traditional introduction to purees, nanny verses daycare, home school verses public school, etc. All you can do is educate yourself about the options and make the decision that feels right at the time.
Sometimes plans don’t always go as planned. Consider the birth plan that your OB gave you to fill out. Thinking ahead is great but the reality is that a c-section can happen even when someone has their heart set on a vaginal delivery. An unmedicated birth can become a medicated one after 20 grueling hours of labor…and that’s okay! Being a good parent means giving yourself grace. (And let’s be real, even if you luck out and end up with a flawless execution of your birth plan, no one is handing out trophies in the delivery room! The only thing that is going to matter is that beautiful baby!)
Not everyone is going to agree with your decisions. Everyone you know has an opinion and most of the time you don’t even have to ask for it! So not only are you swimming in choices, you’re also going to be navigating what Aunt Becky thinks you should do and why. This is okay too! Just because someone speaks their opinion into the universe certainly does not mean you need to change yours. Most of the time people are giving you their advice because they care about you. Try to remember that a lot of the time unsolicited advice is really just an attempt to care.
It’s okay to worry sometimes. The fact that you’re anxious or worried means you care, and caring makes you a great parent. Just remember that there is a happy medium and you should be enjoying your role as mommy or daddy more than you are worrying about it!
And lastly and most importantly, It’s okay to ask for help! Whether it’s getting advice on choosing a brand of diapers or needing help so you can take a nap, just ask!! Asking for help when you need it not only models this very important skill for your kid but it also helps you remain the best version of yourself! Maybe you recall hearing that old saying about how Rome wasn’t built in a day…? Well, it also wasn’t solely built by a super sleep deprived person with spit up in his or her hair. 🤣