After the baby has been born there can initially be a sense of relief, that everything has happened, the baby has finally arrived, everything appears to be fine and now you can settle down to building a lovely family together. But this can be a time when a new set of worries and concerns appear.
Many new parents have issues about being good parents. First time parents especially worry about doing the right thing, treating the baby properly, perhaps damaging or hurting it in some way. Whilst it can be distressing to feel this way, it is also an indicator of how caring a parent you are. Anxiety about being a good parent is natural, but let us look at some ways to allay these fears and concerns so that you can enjoy your new baby fully.
– Let others help. Often, especially at first there will be a plethora of people wanting to help, offering advice. It can sometimes be difficult to tolerate it all and some new parents find the attention overwhelming. They want to be alone with their new baby for awhile and bond with it as a family. So let others help in more practical ways. Let them perhaps help with cooking the evening meal, or tidying the house, or doing some ironing. All these things respect the people wanting to help and take some of the domestic pressure away.
– It is good to mix and meet with new parents. They will be able to empathise and share stories, concerns, advice. Mums can discuss their issues about feeding, sleeping and more personal matters like their bodies, their partners. Dads can discuss their issues. Some men struggle with the arrival of a new baby. For some men the baby only becomes real when it is actually born and bonding can take a little more time than for a woman.
– Try to schedule some ‘me’ time. Allow yourself time to read a magazine or have a beauty treatment. Consider getting some other Mums together and have a pamper session. Having a manicure, pedicure, makeup can be a lovely way of getting to know each other, not just as Mums.
– Try to schedule some ‘us’ time. It is lovely to enjoy being close as a family, but remember about being a couple too. Once the baby is into a routine allow yourselves to plan ‘us’ time and trust the baby to a reliable babysitter. Enjoy an evening out together as a couple. Dress up and enjoy having fun together again.
– Keep up-to-date with the news. It can be easy to become completely submerged in the world of babies and children. Remember who you were before the baby was born and read topical articles or watch the new highlights as often as you can. Keep yourself interesting for your own sake and for your partners sake too.
– Sex can be a problem area after a baby has been born. Women can become self-conscious about their bodies. A womans’ body has been through a major process with pregnancy and then the readjustment afterwards. It takes time to recover emotionally, physically and hormonally. A man sometimes sees his partner in a different way after she has given birth. Plus, often both of you are very tired at the end of the day, maybe too tired for sex. Take the pressure off yourselves, but remember about being loving, tactile, sensual, if not sexual. Women often need reassuring that their partners still find them attractive. Being sensual and close is an important acknowledgment that a woman is still beautiful to her man.
– Keep some money for treats. Money may be a little tighter after a baby has come along. Often Mum is the one who earns less for a time after the birth. It is important to keep some money aside with which to buy a lipstick or a perfume from time to time. It helps to keep the feeling of still having some independence.
Susan Leigh, Counsellor and Hypnotherapist