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Life After Baby Arrives

Things Don't Stop When Your Child Is Born
-- By Karen Gardner, Parenting Writer

Most pregnant women have a one-track mind. For nine months, all they can think about is the day they finally get to meet and hold their baby.

"Too often we just think about labor and delivery," says Julie Shields, author of How to Avoid the Mommy Trap: A Roadmap for Sharing Parenting and Making it Work. "All we want is a healthy baby, and we don't really think about what our life is going to be like later. That is when we run into problems."

Shields has interviewed hundreds of parents in all stages of child rearing. Her research shows that those happiest as parents have planned for life beyond the labor and delivery room.

Just as expectant parents need to plan for birthing classes and maternity leave, they need to plan for life with a new baby. In her book Shields points out that "Prospective mothers who don't want to do it all themselves must divvy up household and baby responsibilities before the baby arrives. Otherwise, they will likely join the more than two thirds of new parents in conflict over their new roles."

Planning for Parenthood
  • Negotiation: Becoming the parent or parenting team you want to be is rarely automatic. It typically takes planning, cooperation, and negotiation. According to Dr. Pamela Jordan, author of How to Strengthen Your Marriage As Your Family Grows, "Couples will likely find that their expectations, which emerge from their underlying values and beliefs, differ significantly. The couple then needs to sit down and negotiate how they want things to be in their family and their lives, and develop strategies to make it so."

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Member Comments About this Article
"I don't think it is strange that there are many people who don't know how to deal with a new born! I am an Early childhood educator, and studied child development in college, and I have only very limited experiance with a new born! Newborns don't usualy get out that much, and many people are fussy about who handels they baby as they should be right! I think for men, they have even less exposure, my husband and I are going to be taking a newborn care class, as part of our childbirthing education." -- JCSBAYBEE
"It's hard to believe that there would be that many new parents that have no clue what an infant is like...unless they were living under a rock and ignored everyone else. There are nieces and nephews, neighbors kids, etc that we get introduced early on to how things may be.

Trying to plan too much in advance can be worse. Each child is different as is how parents will react and feel. Just knowing that both parents are going to be responsible for all baby care should be enough. If you can't han..." -- MSENSALACO
"*laughs* The "newborn rental" always got me too! Other than the problem of finding someone due before you who is willing to share their baby with you. every newborn is different... so while the mechanics are the same (diaper-changing, dressing,etc.), the EXPERIENCE will probably be vastly different!

I think the most important point in that there has to be communication with the partner (if you have one/if they're going to be in town) - not just to coordinate tasks, but to reduce stress by let..." -- PEARLKITTY
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About The Author
Karen Gardner
Karen has worked as a freelance writer for more than 20 years. Her work has appeared in a number of national, regional and local publications.
Karen Gardner


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