Finding Your Stride As A First-Time Parent

Posted by Susan Brown on December 04, 2018 0 Comments

Finding Your Stride As A First-Time Parent

  As many as 2 in 5 new parents experience mental health issues. Like any major life transition, becoming a parent can wreak havoc on your confidence. Every day is a flood of new experiences with huge potential consequences and it’s easy to feel like you have no idea what you are doing. All new parents feel this way and in time you’ll find your stride. Until then, there are things you can do to smooth out the ride.

Practice self care to boost Self Esteem

Rooted in Buddhism, the notion that we must first take care of ourselves before we can take care of others is an idea that new parents would be wise to take to heart. Although taking time for yourself may seem like a ridiculous notion when you are taking care of a tiny human 24 hours a day, filling up your cup, even in the smallest ways, will have a big impact on how you feel and on your ability to persevere in the parenting game.

How will you find the time? Start with naps. While baby sleeps, get some rest, read a book, exercise, have an uninterrupted shower--whatever it is, do it for you and only you. Taking care of yourself not only leaves you more emotionally, physically, and mentally able to care for others, it increases your self-esteem. You become more sure of yourself as you encounter all those new parenting experiences.

Choosing carefully increases confidence

New parents are faced with innumerable choices. Each one, from what pediatrician will care for your baby to what bath products to use is an opportunity to grow your confidence as a parent. As you spend time carefully considering options you are adding to your parental knowledge base. Making selections based on your family’s needs and preferences is like laying another brick in a foundation of sound decisions. Each new choice makes the foundation, and your confidence, stronger.

Ask for advice but trust your gut

Without a doubt, there will be times when you seek the advice of others. Your tribe of fellow parents are a wealth of information and they may have some tricks or common experiences that can help. Knowing you aren’t the first to ever encounter a particular problem or question can be hugely comforting in itself. Just bear in mind that your child is unique and your parenting style is unique. What worked for them won’t necessarily work for you. If your gut tells you that something isn’t working, listen to it.

Experience is everything

A study of first time Danish mothers attempted to gauge confidence, mood, and stress at 2 months and 6 months postpartum. In every category, the new moms significantly improved at 6 months as compared to 2 months. Experience is everything. The first time you bathe your baby you will be nervous and unsure. By six months, you will be lathering and rinsing like a relaxed pro. Your confidence will increase with your experience.

Parenting is the most important job most of us ever do. We receive little training and the stakes are immeasurably high. With so much on the line, it’s no surprise that new parents often lack confidence. With lots of self-care, careful considerations, and time in the role, new parents will eventually find their stride.





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