Becoming a parent

by | Sep 10, 2019 | Featured, New parent, Pregnancy

The moment a pregnancy test is positive or the foster/adoption approval comes through, you begin to wonder…

  • What am I going to do?
  • What does it feel like to be a parent?
  • How will I be the same and how will I be different?
  • Will I still be able to be spontaneous, do what I did before?
  • How will this birth affect my work, my career, the rest of my life?
  • Will I be bored?
  • Will staying home with a child be enough for me?
  • What if something’s wrong with the baby? Will I be able to take it?
  • Will the baby miss me while I’m away at work?
  • Will it be all right for the baby to be cared for by other people?
  • Will the baby be more attached to their child care person than me?
  • Will my work suffer because I have a baby?
  • Will my baby suffer because my job is demanding?
  • Will I be able to afford the added expenses?
  • What will I have to give up?
  • Will I need to take on extra work?
  • Have I done anything unknowingly that could have affected their development?
  • Am I strong enough to accept it if something’s wrong?
  • Will I be able to handle labor?
  • What if I screw it up?
  • Will I still have a life?

Nothing will ever be quite the same once this little mystery person enters your life. And this applies to second, third, fourth and fifth children as well. Every new baby that enters the scene brings a new set of questions. Of course these questions change with time, but every addition to the family brings about many unknowns.

Just like we prepare for every big change in our life, like graduation, moving to a new place or starting a new job, new parents prepare by imagining or creating images of what it might be like. Ellen Galinsky, in The Six Stages of Parenting, describes this phase as the “image making” stage of parenting. This is when you think about all the ways you will change once you become a parent. Processing happens with yourself and can also occur through conversations with your partner, your own parents and with your friends.
These images are influenced by many things. Each of us is guided by our own childhood and it’s our primary source of reference when planning to be a parent. You’ll think about your own experiences and carefully select what you’d like to emulate and what you’d like to change. You’ll study and analyze your friends, relatives and other people’s parenting ways and decide what fits into your personal grid. (If you had a difficult childhood, this could be a great time to visit with a professional to help you process that time and your upcoming transition to parenthood.)

Other influences on the image making stage of parenting are the circumstances under which the new baby comes into your life, the culture in which you live, the expectations you feel from others and social media.

Just as children go through stages of development, parents go through stages of development too. Preparation for being a parent, either through birth, placement or adoption, in any lifestyle, in any locale, is a time of inward reflection. You are getting your head around the upcoming change and you are doing the internal work required.

As soon as that sweet little baby arrives, reality sets in. And the image-making stage is over. You are now in the ’nurturing’ stage which lasts for about 2 years. We’ll talk more about that later. 

It sure helps to know that there’s a process and that what you’re feeling, asking and fearing is normal, universal and okay!

You’ve got this parenting thing. You are exactly the person that YOUR baby needs. And you are very important. 😍

Want to learn more? Check out Parenting 101: Expectations vs reality

Celebrate your pregnancy!  Things you can only enjoy when you’re pregnant

And preparing for baby’s arrival… My newborn essential list



Meet Ann

I'm a child development specialist, parent coach and teacher trainer. I've cared for countless babies in child development programs, plus 3 kids, 3 grand babies and 5 foster babies! I LOVE babies and would come hold yours if I could. ❤️

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