Now that I’m almost five years into motherhood, I can safely look back at my new parent self and say how utterly clueless I was about everything. It is no wonder then that I was totally riddled with anxiety about what I would do wrong, or perhaps not do at all, in my new motherhood.
Well hindsight is a beautiful thing because now it’s just an absolute given to me that ALL first time parents have pretty much the same worries. Oh – if only we had all known at the time and could go back and tell our pregnant selves all these things!
So if you’re reading this as a new parent wondering if you’re the only one panicking about childbirth, or if you’re going to be a good mother, or if you’re going to drop the baby….let me put your minds at ease because a recent survey about the top worries for new parents by The Post Office shows you are definitely not alone:
|Top worries for new parents||Percentage|
|Worrying about freak accidents happening||46%|
|Worrying about not knowing how to ‘parent’ my baby||43%|
|Worrying about being able to afford to raise my baby||42%|
|Worrying about childproofing my home||42%|
|Worrying about other people dropping my baby||42%|
|Worrying about dropping my baby||40%|
|Worrying about germs my baby might come in contact with||40%|
|Worrying about what would happen if I/my partner died||37%|
|Worrying about not connecting with my baby||34%|
|Worried about my parenting being judged by others||34%|
Parents have so many things to think about and learn, it’s an amazing, but also massively worrying time as they navigate this new world. From nappy changing and making sure the car seat is fitted correctly there are a whole host of other worries that often the baby books just don’t warn you about, but that we ALL experience. So I’ve teamed up with The Post Office and their Free Parent Cover to share with you the worries I had when we first had our daughter…
Here’s the thing about childbirth – you can plan as much as you like for it, you can glean as much information as you can in baby classes, you may be as organised as you can possibly br, and you can have a lovely little birth plan that you may think you’re going to follow, and think you’ll just breathe the baby out – all of which was basically me! – but mother nature has different ideas and birth is probably not going to be much like you thought it was going to be (as I and pretty much every other mum I know discovered with their first!) and so you’re entitled to be a little anxious about what’s going to happen on B-day.
Know this: whatever way, shape or form childbirth takes – and yes it may be pretty intense at times – you will get through it – just like, all the mums that went before!
You will have no idea what to do with your new baby
Suddenly you have this gorgeous little alien creature in your arms which you have absolutely no idea what to do with, despite the fact you have read every parenting book and scoured every advice forum going. I remember being filled with fear that I had absolutely no idea what to do with my baby. Nada. But I now know with hindsight that practically every other parent is also thinking:
a) my baby is so fragile!
b) what if I break their neck?
c) what if I drop them?
d) how on earth do I put a nappy on anyway??!
Know this: We are all absolutely clueless (just have a trawl of the baby forums for proof of that) but the best way to overcome these worries is to give yourself more credit, trust in yourself and your abilities and all will follow. Also, sharing your worries out loud rather than letting them go round and round in your head can really help you feel less dramatic about the whole situation!
Will you even like your baby?
You hear so much about mums not bonding with babies that you could be forgiven for thinking this is the norm and I remember I was totally riddled with worry that I wound’t bond with by baby or even like her at all! Well guess what happened when she came along? I fell in love with her pretty much as soon as she was put on my chest.
Know this: We are genetically programmed to love our babies and well, babies are actually quite likeable thankfully! It may take a few days or even week for everything to sink but even if you’re not massively maternal fast forward and I’m pretty confident you wouldn’t want to give back your baby for the world. Trusting in human processes is a biggie here!
Being a good mum
There are so many ridiculous images of what motherhood looks like passed on to us from films, magazines and social media that it’s no wonder that pretty much every woman is angsting over whether they are going to be a good enough mum. Myself included! I remember being tormented by thoughts I wasn’t going to be a good mum thanks to society which has put a lot of pressure on mums to look and be a certain way. And then there’s the whole fear that your parenting is being judged by others. Arghhh!
Know this: As long as your baby is happy, healthy, clean and safe you’re doing a great job! Plus – babies have a habit of causing a scene out in public. That’s what babies do – cry. If in doubt, speak to friends and family about how you feel – you’ll usually feel a lot better afterwards!
OMG what if?????!
I remember being absolutely haunted by visions of all the things that could go wrong or that I could screw up with my baby on a daily basis, it’s a wonder that I ever left the house! What if I break my baby? What if someone else breaks my baby? What if I forget my baby somewhere because I feel like a mombie? What if they have a freak accident in the house? You name it, new parents have thought it.
Know this: Firstly – babies are a lot more hold-able than you realise and are actually more durable than you think. Thankfully people usually notice a baby has been left somewhere (even if you don’t) and as for emergencies – well life with a baby isn’t usually that dramatic (oh apart from the constant sleep deprivation). But baby-proofing your home and generally doing a bit of googling around how to prevent baby accidents and taking the necessary steps to avoid these will put your mind at ease.
Germs germs everywhere – I remember giving dagger eyes to anyone that even sneezed within arms reach of my baby. Not another cold signalling countless sleepless nights staying up with a bunged up baby and don’t even get me started on the tummy bugs! As a new parent, I remember being totally germaphobic and would avoid anyone with any sign of illness like they had the plague. Oh the folly!
Know this: Babies get on average 7 to 12 colds a year plus a few other viruses and tummy bugs thrown into the mix so while having an ill baby absolutely sucks, just think about how strong their immune system is going to be! Having said that the illnesses can at times seem never ending. If you’re truly worried, speaking to your doctor or nurse usually helps to put your mind at ease.
Being fearful of even the most basic tasks
To a seasoned parent, changing nappies can seem like an absolute doddle. To a new parent, changing a nappy can leave you sweating bullets. I remember being totally fearful of having to change my daughter’s nappy every single time. What would I find in there? Would it be another poonami? Why on earth has it got those weird bits in it? It seemed like every time I changed a nappy it would present a new challenge or worry. Forget night nannies – someone should start a business in nappy nannies! I for one would be fully on board with that – outsourcing nappies…yes please! And then there was bath time – I was so terrified of bathing her I made my partner do it for the first few weeks!
Know this: changing stinky nappies is never enjoyable but hurrah! practice makes perfect and you do get better it over time…meaning that even if they do have an epic explosion down there, you will at least have developed the necessary nappy skills to contain it safely…for a while at least. As for bathing as baby gets bigger and stronger it gets a lot easier – and more fun!
So you see, all these kind of worries are totally normal and in fact, if we all talk about and share them, then it’s out there in the open for everyone to see and realise. Thankfully the Post Office has a brilliant product called Free Parent Cover which give parents Life Insurance to the value of £15,000 per child for one year absolutely free to help take some of the worry out of being a new parent.
Both parents can use this product each time they have a child up to a limit of eight children and can take advantage of the offer up until their child’s 4th birthday. So, for example, if you’ve three children under four and two parents take out a policy, you’ll get £45,000 of cover each free for a year. And if two parents have the maximum eight children and each take out a policy, that’s £120,000 of cover each.as an option to give them peace of mind. Many parents are unaware of this product and it’s totally free, so if you’re a new parent, why not take advantage of it?
Find out more about The Post Office’s Free Parent Life Cover.
Are you a parent to be or perhaps a new parent? What are you worried about? Or if you’re a seasoned parent what words of wisdom would you offer new and expecting parents reading this? Do leave a comment and share your experiences.
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*This is a commissioned post