The Pregnancy to Parenthood Transition
The transition from pregnancy to parenting is one of the most visceral and life changing experiences an individual can have. Many individuals remember every moment of that day, like images trapped in crystal-clear memory. Regardless of how the child enters the world, either cesarean or vaginally, this experience is universally and fundamentally life changing.
Regardless of the preparations one makes, the reality is always different. The hours, days and weeks spent fantasizing about what the baby will never fully prepare someone for the reality. The feeling of the moving child still inside of the mother awakens deep feelings of love, but until one holds that child in their arms and calls themselves a mother or a father, it is never truly real. This tiny life is entirely dependent upon its mommy and daddy for survival and care. In this moment of realization, most people become determined to be that absolute best parent possible to this wriggling bundle of joy and keep the child safe all the time.
This recognition of dependency often instigates many feelings of protection and love. It is only natural, that these feelings also cause large amounts of stress as well. This is part of being a human, and an intrinsic part of being a parent.
The transition from pregnancy to parent is more than simply knowing things about babies. Many new parents ask pediatric doctors, nurses and midwives for advice. These professionals often unload vast quantities of knowledge to the now overwhelmed new parents. This feeling of being overwhelmed is completely normal. All new parents feel this way. All new parents struggle to know what the right thing to do for their baby is. Each baby is different, and the learning curve can be steep. This process is often referred to as attachment. The struggle to care for this new baby results in a deep love and attachment to one another which lasts a lifetime. This is what becoming a family truly means.
The purpose of this information is to help you make that crucial transition from pregnant to parent. Contained within are ideas meant to help you adapt to your new life. These ideas are intended to make things easier. You will find suggestions for ways to better care for yourself, your partner and your new baby. You will also find ways to make the postpartum period easier, as well as giving you information about what to expect. Specifically, actively building a supportive network of family and friends will help you to care for and nurture your growing family.
Not all families are the same. Many families will experience challenges that are unique to the United States. In the U.S., nearly 99 percent of all women give birth in hospitals. This involves a hospital stay, which could be as long as four days for women who had a cesarean birth. In the vast majority of other countries, hospital stay as well as postpartum care is different. Many view postnatal care to be just as vitally important as prenatal care. This includes longer hospital care as well as professional help. This adds a sense of support to the transition as oppose to a sudden transition to sole responsibility for the newborn. This can be quite overwhelming for many families.