If you are pregnant, you may feel excited about the joys of parenting, but also fearful about the unknowns. You may find that others (friends, family, social media, parenting websites) talk only about the struggles of parenting or only about the joys. But as with most things in life, there is both: joy and pain, victory and struggle, success and failure.
We asked moms and dads who have been parents for a while what advice they’d give new parents about starting a family. Here are their top responses:
1. You won't get everything right, and that's ok.
Don’t put so much pressure on yourself–you’re brand new at this, so expect that you’ll make some mistakes. In many ways, you and your new son or daughter are growing, learning, and developing together.
2. Listen to wisdom from men and women you trust.
Once you accept that you won’t get everything right, it’s time to find the people in your life you respect and trust. Talk to moms (of all ages) about their experiences and struggles. If you’re not sure who to reach out to, The Pregnancy Network’s Connect Program will connect you with women within a local church. This is a great first step to building relationships and a healthy support network as you begin your parenthood journey.
3. Don't do things just because it's popular or because you were raised that way.
Do your own research and make a fully-informed decision along with your partner based on what’s best for your family. Just because a certain life choice is “trending” doesn’t mean it’s what your family needs.
4. Your child is not a project or a reflection of your parenting skills.
Well-meaning friends or even strangers may ask questions about your child’s sleeping patterns, eating habits, disposition, or routines, and then proceed to offer advice if your answers don’t meet their expectations. Every child is unique–what works for one child will not work for another, and that’s ok! Your job is to love your child and teach him or her to become a kind, compassionate, and loving person.
5. Expect it to be tough - but also expect it to be wonderful.
Parenting will be one of the hardest things you ever do. It requires sacrifice, selflessness, and the kind of unconditional love that gives without expecting anything in return. There will be times you wonder if you’re doing it all wrong. You may feel frustrated, exasperated, lonely, or maybe even all three at the same time.
But parenthood will also be one of the most wonderful, rewarding, and joy-filled things you do. You’ll laugh until your sides hurt, talk in an unnaturally high and sugary sweet baby voice, celebrate every small milestone, and love more than you ever thought possible. The best things in life come as a result of hard work, and parenting is no different. Children truly are a blessing, and there is no greater privilege than walking alongside a child as he or she grows into the person he or she was created to be.
We're here for you
You do not have to walk through parenthood alone. We would love to have you attend our next Pregnancy 101 or Parenting 101 class at The Pregnancy Network. Classes are facilitated by trained instructors and guest speakers who are professionals in their fields. You’ll also spend time with other couples who are in the same life season as you. Check out some reviews from women below! Give us a call at 336-274-4881 or contact us today to sign up for the next class.