Are you counting down the days till you meet your chubby little bundle of joy? New mama, mothers around the world feel you. As a new mother myself, I feel you.
Motherhood is a wonderful experience that transforms you and changes your world. It enlarges your heart to contain love you never thought you are capable of possessing.
So, how do you prepare for your baby’s arrival?
1. Follow your nesting instincts
Nesting is a natural phenomenon, an overwhelming urge to declutter and organise your ‘nest’ for your offspring.
It’s not only physical but also an emotional aspect. It gives you opportunities to bond with your partner and start creating a sense of family even before your baby arrives. It’s also practical because after you give birth, life will be about the newest and most vulnerable member of your family. Your baby’s needs, comfort, and safety come first.
Avoid health hazards such as the use of toxic cleaning chemicals because you might get too excited in sanitising your home. Remember not to overdo it. Familiar with ‘spark joy’ principle? Yes, you are making your home sparkle during ‘nesting’ while waiting for the one who will shower it with the most joy!
2. Build your ‘village’
As the age-old saying goes; “It takes a village to raise a child.” You will never fully understand it till a child comes into your peaceful life of uninterrupted sleep and where everything is seemingly under control. Becoming a mum is full of wonderful surprises you never can fully grasp no matter how much you prepare for it.
A study revealed that mums-to-be not only feel the compulsion to declutter their physical homes, but they also became more selective about the company they keep, people they trust and friends they spend time with. Simply put, you become more mindful of your emotional home too. This means investing your time wisely with the right people whom you will share this parenthood journey with. Fill up that friendship and love bank of yours beforehand.
I have come to appreciate my own parents when I became a parent myself, more than ever! Grandparents are like pillars of strength at times when you feel like you’re doing everything wrong. And they are the only people I believe who could love my child just as I do (if not, even more). The first three days at home was overwhelming to say the least – there was a mix of paranoia, anxiety, and exhaustion. No kidding, you need a ‘village’.
3. Understand that Paternity Leave is a MUST
Have you done your birth plan? Great! Now is also the best time to plan for what will happen postpartum. Right after delivery, the rapid drop of maternal hormones, which increased tenfold during pregnancy, makes new mothers become emotional. In addition to these, are social and psychological changes associated with having a baby. This is the time a mother needs to be surrounded strong support.
I could never imagine going through it alone for the first few days after giving birth. My husband didn’t have the luxury of paternity leave, hence he took two days off while I was confined, which is thankfully followed by a weekend. The fifth day he was back to work, but only if I understood well beforehand what I was about to go through, I would have asked him to stay for another week.
This is how important a role fathers play at home. In 2015, working dads of Singaporean children started getting an extra week of paternity leave fully paid for by the Government, bringing the total to two weeks. Believe me when I say, paternity leave is a must! It’s important to make sure that you and your husband are in mutual agreement. He should also be clear on his role during labour and birth, or about how you’ll divide chores in your new life as a family.
So, what to do now? Start packing your hospital bag. By 37 weeks AOG, your pregnancy will officially be full term. It’s time to pack for your labour and delivery essentials by 36 weeks. One can never fully anticipate how life will change after birth. I survived the toughest two weeks postpartum because of maternal instincts, my little village, and my supportive husband.
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