New parents are frequently astonished to discover that adding one (or more) exquisite, small, and helpless person(s) to their family may make them feel joyous and competent one minute and small and helpless the next. It’s not uncommon to see pride, unconditional love, and hope coexist with exhaustion, despair, and self-doubt. The Freedman Center’s staff and New Parents Group Facilitators have been assisting first-time parents for many years. Their story demonstrates that parenthood is the great equalizer; regardless of circumstance, all new parents embark on a journey that is eerily similar.
There will be a significant amount of it. Becoming a parent is a significant life change. Every transformation, no matter how eagerly anticipated, carries with it a sense of dread. And, despite our best efforts, we may have to change our plans along the way.
Become a member of a new parent’s support group. It isn’t necessary for it to be about you. All first-time parents share the same basic joys and worries, whether they are single parents, adoptive parents, same-gender parents, parents of multiples, or traditional couples. You’ll meet new people and receive nonjudgmental support. And the old adage holds true: shared joy is multiplied by two, while shared worry is cut in half.
Accept the assistance. Attempting to be a supermom or super dad is futile. When you tell your neighbors, relatives, acquaintances, and/or coworkers what you’re looking for, they’re usually happy to help. Having an hour to sleep, wash, or go for a walk while someone you trust looks after your newborn can be a lifeline.