By Christie Hunter:
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What Are Doorways?
This is the first blog in a new series of blogs called "Doorways". A doorway represents and symoblizes a new place, a new journey in life. Beyond the door is another world, one that is different than the one behind it, yet still connected. In order to reach the doorway before us, we had to live the life behind us, for it brought us here to this place. And like all doorways, it requires a choice...action on our part. We can stay here and look at it, or perhaps open it slightly and peer through as a spectator, or maybe even turn around and walk backwards down the path we came....or we can take a new step, close a chapter behind us, and start a new journey. Like all doorways, to experience what lies ahead, you must actually step through.
Our first doorway that I will talk about is the one so many of us have already walked through- becoming a parent!
Here Comes Baby!
Welcome to the world of parenting! Its here…whether you prepared for it or not. And now, you are going to have to make some adjustments! Some of them will come naturally, some of them not so naturally. You are probably getting advice from everywhere. The best overall advice I can give you is…enjoy it! The moments will go by so fast, and by the time you turn around, it will seem like a fleeing memory. Don’t get caught up in all the minute details…”Am I eating enough? Did I take my supplements? Did I buy the right crib?, ect.” The more you get hung up on all the fine details, the less likely you are to create special memories that your heart will cherish. More than anything, find time to just enjoy life, and embrace each step, each phase of life as a parent, from pregnancy, to birth, to baby, to toddler, all the way to young adult. It will go by so fast.
This series I will talk about what it is to be a new parent. I will discuss some myths, and some very real challenges that will hit you straight in the head if you aren’t prepared for them. The sad truth is that many relationships end after the birth of a child, and having a good understanding of what happens during transition from couple to parents is critical for your future happiness.
The adjustment into parenting is one of the most challenging and rewarding periods for a couple. The anticipation of waiting for the arrival of your child, whether through the course of a pregnancy or while waiting for an adoption to complete, creates an extensive list of hopes, dreams, and expectations for your future as parents and for your child. Focusing on these exciting options, preparing the baby’s room, and thinking about the arrival of your bundle of joy can many times overlook the preparation needed for your marriage as you and your spouse transition from just the two of you to a family of three. This first series of blogs are designed to help bring awareness to the many changes couples may face as they embark on parenting.
You Are The Best Guide
The first consideration is that no amount of planning, no amount of preparing, no book, no advice, and no blog is going to fully prepare you for the changes of becoming parents. How much experience parenting did anyone else have the first time they became parents? The answer is none, of course. Being a parent is a journey you must take on your own, each journey is fully unique from all others. Recognizing that you will not be able to control all circumstances with your baby and that your resources will be maxed out helps to create an environment of flexibility and resilience to these unplanned events. If you are going in to parenting with an expectation of being able to plan and schedule all events relating to your child, you will likely be disappointed and frustrated. Being realistic about your expectations of both your child and yourself is a great start towards adjusting to both the anticipated and the unpredictable situations.
Expect And Prepare For Change
Our human nature is to prepare, to learn, to anticipate situations so we can make the best choices and thus have the best possible outcomes. When you bring a child into the family structure of your marriage this changes not only your identity as an individual, you are now a mother or a father, but also your identity in your relationship with your spouse. Together you share a unique opportunity to teach, to train, and to guide your child. This job requires a great deal of time, effort, and emotional resource. As you try to balance these demands in your life and marriage, some areas of your life will receive less. Often, this comes from what we give to our spouse and the effect is a slow distance that develops in what was once a strong and exciting relationship.
Next, we will discuss some of the expectations…and disappointments that new parents will often face. Have you ever heard someone tell you that being a parent is a 100% self-sacrifice? Probably most new parents have heard this from someone or have read it somewhere. The truth is, that it is not, and this is actually quite a risky philosophy to have, one that I do not recommend. Being a parent can be a 100% self gain. We will talk about how this can be and other myths next time.
Christie is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) with the CMA Society of Canada and a Registered Clinical Counsellor (R.C.C.) with the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors. She holds a dual specialty in Marriage & Family Therapy and Trauma Resolution. View Christie's Profile