Bringing a new life into the world is scary business. Trust me, I know.
As a soon-to-be new Mum, you’ll be spending the majority of those long, slow nine months wondering how on earth to prepare yourself for the birth.
Let me guess, you’ve already read 20 parenting books – each one adding yet another layer of confusion and anxiety.
Bringing a new life into the world is scary business. Trust me, I know. In the months leading up to the birth of my first-born, I spent many long nights awake, driving myself to despair with the thousands of questions whirling around in mind:
“Do I have what it takes to look after this baby?”
“How can I protect him from everything evil in the world?”
“How will my beloved niece react when she realises she’s no longer the sole object of my affection?”
“How is it going to affect my relationship with my husband? Can our relationship handle the financial strain of a new family member?”
And let’s not even get started on the birth itself. As I left for the hospital that morning, I still wasn’t convinced I’d ever be able to get the baby out. I mean, have you ever tried to push a tennis ball through a keyhole?
I don’t think you can ever be really, 100% prepared for the birth of your new baby, particularly if it’s your first time. Anxiety and doubts are normal, and continue way beyond the birth. However, I do believe there are a few things you can do before the big day arrives, to make things that little bit easier. Here are five of them:
1. Know your birth plan.
If you’re anything like me, the birth itself will present one of the biggest anxieties. It doesn’t matter how many birthing books you read, classes you attend, or girlfriends you have to reassure you – there are just too many unknowns.
Whilst you can’t eliminate the fear altogether, having a solid birth plan will help you prepare mentally, and communicate your plans with your medical team. When the time arrives, you’ll be able to focus on the task in hand – safe in the knowledge that your midwives and doctors are singing from the same page. Although unplanned interventions are less common these days, it’s important to be aware that things don’t always go to plan, so have some flexibility with your birth plan. Research C-sections and epidurals, even if you don’t intend to have them.
Above all else, discuss your plan in-depth with your birthing partner. One of my biggest fears was being too incapacitated to make decisions. Knowing my partner was fully prepared to step in helped me relax as the big day approached.
2. Establish your support network.
Throughout my pregnancy, despite friends advising me otherwise, I was certain I’d be able to handle everything without any outside help. On the one hand, I was faced with all those crippling doubts keeping me awake at night. But on the other, I was absolutely convinced that, as soon as my little cherub arrived, I’d transform into Super-Mum. Sleepless nights? I can deal with that! Endless crying? No problem! How hard can it be?