Every new parent is in a state of stress. Whether they are wondering what to put in their hospital bag, or they are feeling the anxieties of if they are up to the task of being a parent, the most important thing to remember is that these are all normal feelings. Being a parent is all about experiencing a wide variety of emotions, no matter how much you want to have control over them. Without further ado, here are some of the most common stresses every new parent faces, but also what you can do about them.
What Are Those Marks?
During the first few months of our baby’s life, there are going to be little medical concerns that we will panic at the sight of. From a dry scalp to unsavoury poos, there are a plethora of concerns that we will have. And while a dry scalp on newborn babies is normal and those poos are nothing to be concerned about, you shouldn’t feel that you cannot get in contact with a doctor. You should never feel that you are being stupid in asking certain questions. This is for the very simple reason that you don’t know what to do for the best. There are things that you can consult, especially on the NHS website, but if you ever feel there’s something not quite right, remember, your instincts will tell you.
When Will the Baby Stop Crying?
Babies cry, but if it seems that your baby never stops, you can feel your blood pressure arising and you might not feel capable of coping. And it’s natural to feel like this every time your newborn baby starts screaming, all you need is five minutes away. And it can feel incredibly stressful because you are thinking that every time the baby cries, there is something wrong. But the most important thing to remember is that your baby crying is usually the fact that they are communicating themselves, not that there is something wrong with them. And it might feel really stressful to leave them crying, but you will learn that it is not the worst thing in the world. Your baby is not going to die from crying!
We can feel that every time the baby cries that we have to rush to comfort them, but this can be setting up a rod for our own backs. The perfect example is when your baby is going to sleep. If your baby cannot go to sleep by themselves this becomes a crutch that is very hard to get out of as they get older. You can take the French approach to parenting, and put a baby down for a nap, but wait 5 minutes. If they are still screaming within those 5 minutes, you can pick them up and comfort them, but don’t ever feel that you cannot put them down. Babies cry, it’s what they do! You have to remember that if your baby sees you stressing out every time they cry, this could potentially make it worse. If you feel like you need to step away from the situation, put the baby down in the crib where they are safe and step away to pull yourself together. You might find that they will go to sleep!
I Can’t Sleep
The most common piece of advice that is given is “to sleep when the baby sleeps.” But we know that this is not always feasible. When you struggle to sleep during the day, but the baby doesn’t sleep at night, you’ve got to think about other ways to get rest rather than sleep in the traditional sense. The first thing you can do is to take it in turns with your partner. You might find it difficult to relax when the sun is out and if you are not a napper, you have to take it in turns. The best piece of advice is to not take it in turns to get up during the night. For example, if the baby wakes up at 1 you get up and then if the baby wakes up at 3 your partner gets up. This is a surefire way for you both to be exhausted.
The best thing for you both is for one person to undertake the duties so the other person has a continuous period of sleep. We can obsess over how much sleep we have or don’t have, but the most important thing to remember here is about getting good quality sleep. If you are someone that struggles to drift off, you’ve got to get yourself ready for sleep. This means you need to remove electronics from your room, invest in blackout blinds or make the room as dark as possible, but also use the right earplugs.
I Resent My Baby
Something that many parents feel that they can’t talk about is that their lives have changed so much for this little bundle of joy, but they feel resentful about having to cater to the baby’s every need. Many parents feel guilty that they have these thoughts because we are supposed to be 110% loving mothers. But we have all felt this way at some point. Many mothers think that they should only have love but in reality, many mothers think they feel ambivalent towards the child, but it’s actually towards the responsibilities. The best piece of advice is to realise how long you will be doing this for. If you think that you are nursing them around the clock changing their nappies and it doesn’t let up, you have to remember they will only be a baby for 12-months. In the grand scheme of things, this is a very short period of time.
In many ways, the duties are simpler when you are looking after a baby because their demands are basic. You feed them, change their nappy, and give them love. And you may feel resentful that they are taking so much of your time but the reality is that you won’t have this time back. And all the difficult moments you experience won’t last. But at the same time, the great moments don’t last either. They won’t be like this for long. When you struggle at 4 in the morning after so little sleep and the task of changing a nappy appears to be the most complex thing you’ve ever done in your life, it makes you start to realise that this can be the making of you as a person.
I Don’t Know What I’m Doing!
They say that you should trust your instincts as a parent, but it’s easier said than done. You don’t know what you are doing. This is the first time you’ve done any of this. And people may have tried to give you advice in the run-up to the baby being born, but it only serves to confuse you. But the reality that being a parent is that you are the foremost expert on your child. When there are issues in terms of funny marks or dry skin, you can consult medical sites, but you have to remember that you are the pro of your child, because you spend more time with them than anybody else. Therefore, go with what you think will work best. If this doesn’t work, ask for advice. But this may seem like a massive leap of faith but the way to become more confident as a parent is to actually do the job. And when people think they are doing you a favour by offering advice, you don’t have to take it at all! Trust in your instincts, because there will be people who will tell you how to do your job. But you can very politely tell them to shove it! It’s your baby!
The Place Is a Tip!
For all of the anxieties and stresses about being a parent, this is one that can tip you over the edge. It’s so easy to think that the house can be a mess and you should give yourself a break but if it makes the difference between a sane and an insane version of you, the best that you can do is invest in a cleaner. If you cannot afford a cleaner, the best thing for you to do is to clean in short, sharp bursts. When cleaning in this manner, focus on the parts of the house that you can see rather than trying to deep clean. By focusing on the things that really matter gives you a better chance of surviving the first few months. You have to remember that very few people are going to see the inside of your house, and when you are sleep deprived and someone passes comment that your home is untidy (which they never will, by the way), you can very kindly guide them towards the cleaning spray and cloths and ask them to do some dishes.
Feeling stressed as a new parent is never good but it’s about realising that a lot of these things are so common. From an untidy home to feeling resentful, you run the gamut of emotions. Just remember to take it easy and give yourself a break.