Finding out you’re pregnant—expecting your first baby— can be one of the most exciting, scary, and completely overwhelming times of your life. Obviously, the promise of bringing a new family member into the world is a blessing, but it can also be an intimidating prospect. After all, you’re not talking about a car or a house. You’re talking about another living, breathing human being who will be completely dependent on you.
When Expecting your first baby:
If you’re apprehensive at the prospect of so much new responsibility, here are a few things you can keep in mind to help calm those nerves and keep everything in perspective.
1. Maintain a Learning Attitude
It’s important to remember that you’re launching into a new phase of your life. Whether you’re the kind of person who likes to have all of your ducks in a row or you tend to embrace a “take every day as it comes” mentality, it’s important to remember that you’re inexperienced as a parent. When you’re expecting your first baby, you are in learning mode and want to grab every bit of wisdom and tips you can.
If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask them. Look for answers by asking your doctor, talking with a friend or family member who is already a parent, or doing research online. Don’t look for information to be alarmed about. After all, anyone can be alarmist about anything. Instead, focus on finding wisdom, advice, and tips (like these!) to help you along your journey.
2. Stay Informed
While things like wisdom and advice are priceless when expecting your first baby, it can also be useful to gather the hard facts about what you’re going to go through over the next three-quarters of a year. A pregnant body is a beautiful thing, but if you’re pregnant for the first time, the plain truth of the matter is that your body is going to undergo a lot of unusual events that are foreign to your experience.
It can help to take the time to break down what each trimester will be like. Also, consider downloading a pregnancy app on your phone to help you keep track of your baby’s growth and development.
3. Take the Time to Plan
It’s tempting to panic when you think of everything that needs to be done when you find out you’re expecting. The list of things you need to gather for the baby itself is massive. But there are other considerations as well, particularly when it comes to your finances. However, if you take the time to consider and plan things out, it will take a lot of pressure off of the whole situation.
For instance, a growing family is an iconic time to move out of your apartment and look for a home. If you’re feeling the need to find a place for your growing household, though, it’s important that you don’t simply go out and buy the first house you can afford. Babies have a minimal effect on space when they arrive, and they can cohabitate with an adult or two for a long time without needing their own larger spaces. In other words, you have time.
If a house is officially in the cards, begin to make plans to purchase one the right way. Work on your credit score and start saving for a down payment. This way, when the time is right and that perfect house comes along, you’ll be better prepared to buy it.
Other financial goals are likely to start to creep in as you prepare for your baby as well. Whether it’s a short-term consideration like factoring in the cost of a nanny or a long-term one like saving for college, taking the time to make a game plan for budgeting, saving, and investing for your financial future can be an excellent way to calm your nerves.
As a final financial tip, make sure to call your health insurance company sooner rather than later to make sure that you understand how they handle maternity coverage, too. You don’t want any last-minute financial surprises as you settle into life with your new baby.
4. You Impact Your Baby, Even in Utero
When pregnant, it’s important to remember that the way you treat your own body will have an effect on your child as well. There are obvious concerns like avoiding excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol. But you should take the fight for healthy living to an even higher level for both you and your baby.
For instance, make sure that you’re drinking copious amounts of water each day — eight to 10 8oz glasses is recommended — in order to stay hydrated. Also, consider adopting a healthier diet and taking prenatal vitamins while you’re pregnant so that your body has all of the nutrients it needs as your child grows. As always, make sure that any kind or quantity of food or drink you consume is approved by your doctor as well.
Also, ensure you are getting enough sleep before your new baby arrives. Pregnancy can be exhausting, but parenthood is even more so. Getting all the sleep you can now will help keep you well-rested and healthy while your baby is growing. Sleeping in the later stages of pregnancy is notoriously difficult, though, so arm yourself with some tips for sleeping with a baby bump such has sleeping with a body pillow and reducing liquid intake in the evening so you won’t wake up as often to use the bathroom.
5. Consider Your Viewpoints
Believe it or not, it can be difficult to put what you believe into words. Sure, you can debate and discuss with a friend, but when it comes to teaching another human being how to live life, it’s amazing how quickly you can become tongue-tied.
As you wait for the baby to arrive, take the time to flesh out your beliefs, ethics, and morals. In addition, do your best to establish healthy habits for your household before your little one arrives so that you can set a good example as they grow. The time of expecting your first baby, can be a time of clarification and growth for you as well.
Enjoy the Ride
There are obviously countless other things to remember, but these are some of the best ways to help calm your nerves and enjoy your pregnancy. Remember, children are beautiful blessings. Not because they’re perfect, nor because they’re easy, but because they teach us so many things about life itself. They can often provide a unique perspective for their parents — if their parents are open to it.
Strive to stay open-minded as you prepare for your incoming newborn. Remember that for all of the stresses and new responsibilities, you’re also going to be given an opportunity to grow. As you prepare to teach your child about how to express their feelings, how to forgive, and how to love, each lesson will serve as an ever-present reminder for you, yourself, as well.
The bottom line: learn all you can, but take the time to relax and enjoy the process of expecting your first baby.