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My Introduction to Becoming a Parent

Statue of Mary with a golden crown and sceptre, and Jesus

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a child? Is it hard? Is it stressful? Do you like the changes that are made in your body, your life and yourself when you become a parent?

Can you still have a life after a baby?

Before you become a parent, every parent you know will tell you how your life is going to change completely. You nod politely thinking yes, of course it is going to change. I know that. Having a child changes your life. What you don’t know is just how completely it does actually change every single aspect of your life. No one can prepare you for that. 

It’s not just your daily routine that changes, or it’s like some minor inconveniences that you have to face. Rather, it’s your whole perspective on love and life that is overhauled. 

The love you feel for this tiny human cannot be compared to anything you’ve felt before. The responsibility to be the best parent you can be, especially when you’re running low on sleep and patience. It is a daily struggle filled with guilt and often regrets. However, the rewards of child-rearing are manyfold, hence its continued popularity.

Are you ready for it?

I think I was better prepared in many ways. I took my time to become a mother till I was sure I wanted one and was ok with a life change. So it didn’t feel much of a burden to me to centre my life around this tiny creature.

There are some women (and men) who become parents before they’re ready for it: Due to pressure from family and society, the myth that you might not conceive after you turn 30, or most people just think it is the natural progression of life to have a baby right after marriage. They usually have a hard time adjusting to life after having a baby. I’ve heard some mom friends complain ‘I hate my life after having a baby’.

Having a baby is supposed to be fun. It shouldn’t turn into a punishment for anyone involved. An unhappy parent passes on that vibe to their child, usually resulting in an unhappy baby.

I was not a person who loved to socialise or party. Neither was I career-oriented. I hated commuting to work. I just wanted to keep myself busy and entertained within my home. So although people praise me for giving up my life to raise my son, I don’t think I’m the right example to use. I never felt like I was giving up anything (apart from my sleep).

Parenting skills can’t be taught

Here’s what being a parent taught me early on. No matter how much you read up on effective parenting, and scour the world for parenting tips, it will never pan out how you expect it to. That doesn’t mean you stop trying. Keep at it. 

Positive parenting, where you are more focussed on the child’s need behind the behaviour, helps you understand if not immediately correct a negative behaviour (yours and your child’s). 

Understanding that the child’s tantrum is because they’re having a hard time shifts your energy from trying to make the behaviour stop to trying to help your child deal with the issue. 

Books and research can give you a better insight, but because each child and each situation is unique, you’ll have different results. You need to find out what works best for all involved through trial and error. And you will make errors. Lots of them. Learn from them and move on.

It’s apparent you’re a parent… 

  • When you look constantly tired and ragged
  • When you complain about kids to your non-parent friend but still tell them to have kids ASAP
  • When your kid is better dressed than you
  • When you don’t find it disgusting that you’re discussing poop frequency and consistency at the dinner table

How has your life changed after a baby?

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