When you first watch the pregnancy test shift and change to a plus, the snowball of emotions that will rocket through you will be overwhelming. The flashes of the future of a new baby that you will be responsible for can make you feel like you have a big decision to make, but the news will also be happy if you intended this to happen. Choosing to create a family together is a big step to take in a relationship and for every wonderful thing that is about to happen, the challenges should also be considered.
As a set of brand new parents, you are about to be given every single piece of unsolicited advice that every grandparent has collected for a thousand years. You won’t ask for it, you won’t expect it and it’ll happen often when you are at your most vulnerable and you’re most concerned. Being aware of all of the challenges that come with developing from a couple in love to a couple about to raise the bar with a child is the smartest thing that you can do. Information is power and parenting is about so much more than you shopping for booties while the new Dad over there is gifted a box of Drew Estate Liga Privada No. 9. Parenting is going to be about overwhelming happiness coupled with exhaustion, overwhelming fear, and the feeling of being high on adrenaline – you’re going to be parents. This is going to change everything you thought you knew about the world, and about each other.
Your life will change irreversibly once you have children – and that goes for both of you. Below, we’ve got ten specific ways that your life, your mentality, and your body will change once you become parents. Don’t forget: you are in this together and that means working together on ensuring that you stick together with everything through these new days as a family.
1. Your brain is going to feed you some deliciously happy hormones
This isn’t just for the Mom here. You are going to both be fed some happy hormones when you meet your new baby. The feeling of euphoria when you meet the little person that you have built from scratch is something that cannot be described until you feel it. Your brain is going to give you that boost once you see your baby for the first time and for most parents, that’s at the first scan. When you see the child that you created, your brain is going to activate and start to produce all of those emotions that can make you feel overwhelmed. This is the first of many changes. You’ll wake up your brain with oxytocin and happy hormones, and that will raise the beast of insecurity and worry that comes with parenting.
2. You’ll be shocked by how attentive to your baby you’ll be
Believe it or not, your brain doesn’t just shift to give you the happy hormones. You’ll start ‘risk assessing’ everything everywhere – all the time. Not only that, but you will start to think that your newfound parenting skills are a superpower. You go from not knowing what on earth a baby would need, to knowing exactly every single need your baby has just because they snuffled in a particular direction. You’re going to be able to feel what your baby needs when they need it, and you’ll even learn what each of their cries means!
3. Caring for a baby will change how you think
When you both care for a newborn baby, your entire mentality shifts. You go from being parents who can emotionally process changes, to parents who actively process changes in life. You’ll start thinking with your baby first at every turn, and you’ll both be more engaged in caregiving tasks that previously, you may never have considered. Even the new Dad, who may never have held a baby before, will be drinking in that sweet elixir that seems to emanate from that baby’s head. The changes in your partner will make you love them even more – and you might not have thought that was possible.
4. You will never again be able to make decisions without putting your child first
It’s a shock to consider it, but most parents with a baby on the way think about how cute and delicious this new child will be. They think about the tiny hands and the impossibly long eyelashes, and they think about the little stretches that their baby will do. People think about the baby, but they don’t think about themselves with the baby. Once your baby is born, you can’t just grab your keys and head out the door anymore; you have to think about all of the paraphernalia, the baby bag, the diapers. It doesn’t end, and it’s a shock to the system.
5. Life becomes more meaningful
Overnight, the moment the stick turns blue and onward, life feels like it has a purpose. You are going to be parents and you’re going to be raising another human being. This huge responsibility is now yours, and you won’t just be working your job to earn money, or cleaning your house to make it look nice. You’ll be working for their college future and cleaning to stop them from picking up germs. Everything that you do in the transition to parenthood ends up being with your baby in mind and that changes a person.
6. Your relationship will change
You promise each other that this won’t change you. You promise that you will make time for each other and that you will continue to support each other. This is perfect for many couples out there; the new baby brings them closer. They watch each other change and evolve, and they appreciate each other for it. These couples have their hearts expanded by love, and they draw each other into that, too. They both fall further in love with the parent their spouse has become and it’s beautiful. Sometimes, it becomes harder. The lack of sleep, the imbalance of who does what now the baby is here, the taking each other for granted; can break a couple. You have to be aware of the possibilities and this can still be your reality – relationships are hard work, but if you’re willing to work at it, it’ll be ok.
7. You learn to speak up
One thing that is very positive when you have a child is that you learn that your voice matters and you make it loud. You learn that when people say things about your parenting or the way in which you are raising your child, you will stand up and refuse to listen to others and you will do what’s best for your children. There’s a lion in you both, and that lion will roar when you think your child and your parenting are threatened.
8. You’ll revisit your own childhood – and that’s not always a good thing
When you become a parent, you will be revisiting your own childhood. Things that may have long been buried can come up for you and that can be tough. The way that you love your child can make you wonder how your parents could have disciplined you in certain ways, and it can be difficult to face that as an individual. It’s a challenge that you will face together, though! This is where most adults end up in some kind of therapy because the changes that they will feel within themselves are very real.
9. Your new baby will make you reevaluate
No matter what you want for your future, the chances are that being a parent makes you change your mind on things. Some women who never wanted a career end up feeling compelled to start again and go back to work to show a good example. Others on the career track realize how much they want to slow down – and that’s not just mothers. That’s Dad, too! A baby gives you perspective. You’re looking at a lifetime ahead and that little piece of immortality that you created is going to be a great masterpiece for you. The moment you see their face, you might start wanting new things in life you didn’t even consider before.
10. You’ll crave support
It takes a village to raise a baby and that doesn’t mean you pass your baby to your grandparents. It means that you will be talking to other women, other Dads, other health professionals to help you to raise your baby in a way that keeps you all on track. It’s very much a case you cannot do this alone and you shouldn’t, either. Parenting takes a lot more than just the two of you and it can often take some time to work it out.
Parents are going to face some real changes in themselves when they have children. Recognizing and embracing those changes takes time, but it’s worth every single moment of your time and your love to make those changes work for you.