Baby is (hopefully) just around the corner over here, and these weeks, months of preparation will soon be forgotten in a blur of feeding and sleeping and all those newborn things. I’ve done this before and yet I still wanted to make sure I prepared not only physically- our home- but also mentally. The sleep deprived fog can make it hard to think clearly and I know that if I can set some things in place now then hopefully the next few months will run smoother mentally as well as practically!
Here are some ways I have personally prepared myself mentally for the arrival of a new little person!
Lowered my expectations whilst also remembering that I am capable of doing things. Keeping things simple and making things easy with meal plans/ freezer food and knowing that I’ll need to ask people for help as we adjust is really handy. Mentally knowing that people have offered to help and reminding me that I can and will ask for that help means I don’t put so much pressure on myself to feel like I can ‘do it all’. Remembering that I can’t do it all in any season – no one can- is also really important, and knowing which things are the priority in this stage.
Made a ‘good things’ list. I have made a list of things that make me feel like me/ things I enjoy doing. It’s too easy to prioritise the needs around, my need for sleep, and the urgent things and to forget little things that can make a big difference even though they feel frivolous or unimportant at times. Some are simple, like being outside, putting on music, others are things like having time alone or chatting to a friend that mean a bit more forward thinking.
Stuck up encouraging postcards, verses and sayings- remembering the importance of replacing negative thoughts with truth means I want to have the truth to hand to remind myself of. The depths of sleep deprivation can be a strange place to be in, and having Bible verses to remind me of my true perspective and purpose, encouragements and lists of things that make me feel like me are things that should be helpful to my mind in the next few months.
Got my journal to hand- honestly I don’t always remember to write in it each week any more but with a new baby and super tiredness I know that making the choice to daily or weekly focus on the positives and take some time to reflect and think objectively about this season is so so important. A lot will change and in many ways it’s just great to have a written record of our littles because so many things slip into memory without us realising.
Closed my shop (both Zoeprose and the Mama Book) – whilst this is a practical thing on some levels, like stocking the freezer or getting out the baby clothes, in reality I have done it so that that side of my brain gets a break and I can switch off and concentrate on adjusting to family life with four little people without having it in the back of my mind. When our third was born I didn’t immediately shut up, but when I did the relief was immense and unexpected! I really relished having some mental space freed up and also found that it opened up new parts of creativity and ideas I wouldn’t have had capacity for before that.
Set some simple goals for the summer and some others for September when baby is a bit older and school starts back. Nothing complicated, but having a few things in mind that don’t just revolve around eating/ sleeping schedules always really helps me and prevents that drift through the weeks where time goes somewhere but you don’t know where. Setting simple achievable things helps to prevent the days blurring together and losing all sense of purpose!
Have people ready to listen- because I’ve found it difficult after babies before, midwives and other health professionals are aware and already in place and checking up on things. We have a maternal support worker who has come over just to chat and check in a couple of times and so I know where to go if things are getting foggy again!
If you have other things that have helped you prepare mentally I would love to hear!