parenthood reflections

Our Journey to Parenthood

Saturday, February 28, 2015tee

We've been bombarded with the past few months with endless guides and lists on what we need to do, what we need to prepare, what we need to buy when the baby comes. Trust me, 10 months (because admit it, it's really 10 months and feels like forever!) feels like a short time to be ready for a life-changing event such as a birth of a baby. Add migrating to a new continent (country) to the equation, starting new jobs and moving houses to the mix - yup, we're crazy but we did it that way! :) But yeah, it's true, no amount of guide and lists and preparation can really prepare you for the real thing. And no one really enters parenthood 100% sure of themselves and 100% prepared for it. Our logic is: If we spent so much of our time and efforts preparing for our wedding day, then a weekend or two of preparing for the life-long commitment of marriage is definitely a must. Same goes for starting a family. We shouldn't lose ourselves in the littlest of things and lose sight of the important stuff.

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“The greatest gift you can give your child is a strong relationship between the two of you. Caring for the couple's relationship is critical to the development of the child’s emotional, social and intellectual wellbeing."  - Dr John Gottman  
This was the first pre-parenting class J and I attended as a couple. I know our lives as a family of 2 would change especially when caring for a little one demands most of our time. I'm the overanalyzer and worrywart between the two of us, and I don't usually go well with change. I have been playing it all over my head - how having a little one can change our dynamics and routines as a couple. We wouldn't want to be bickering here and there due to the stresses of caring for the bub and lack of sleep. We wouldn't want to be disconnected and just see each other as a "savior" to relieve each other of chores to be done. We're more than that. :) Sure, we've been told time and again: "Spend time with each other while you can, you won't have time for yourselves soon" and while that is something true and inevitable when having a baby, change doesn't have to be something dreaded or something bad.

Though the workshop was practical and didn't have any biblical/religion-associated background, it somehow reminded me what  I took home during the marriage preparation seminar we did a couple of years back at our home-church in  Singapore (yes, it's been two beautiful years!) that the order of priorities should always be: GOD, SPOUSE, CHILD. When this order gets mixed up, that's when trouble begins. While a baby is a blessing and oh-so-cute and cuddly, it never be meant to be an idol (it's never a good thing for him either). It doesn't mean you don't provide the baby food when he's hungry and just go on your merry way staring at your partner's eyes, but rather not putting the baby at the center of your worlds (and your only world) and at a pedestal. Same thing goes for the spouse. :) 

I am happy to have joined this workshop, which I feel is equally important for us as with preparing for labor and childbirth and the practical stuff that we need to do as couples. We should be emotionally-sound and ready to enter parenthood as well and remember to nurture and protect the relationship we have as a couple. As one of the ladies mentioned, "We love our child, and she's a part of us, but she's not all of us. She is a product of our love and we shouldn't forget US."


Then comes the practical stuff - two days of equipping ourselves with labor, childbirth, breastfeeding and everything in between. I would've wanted to do this earlier before I got too big and tired and what-have-you-got-there-symptoms, but yes, we did it at 36-37 weeks because we didn't manage to get earlier slots due to a misunderunderstanding/miscommunication with the scheduling. Anyhow, I guess the good thing about having it almost nearing the end is that it'd be all fresh when the day comes, and hopefully we won't lose everything we've learned when the day that the little bub joins us.

Being first-timers and coming from non-medical professions, this gave us an insight and preview on what is to come, and allowed us to prepare how to deal with labor when it comes. We were taught about positions, breathing, as well as pain relief options and the pros and cons that comes with each one, as well as educated us on the possible scenarios we might encounter. 

I find these classes really useful especially for clueless, first-time parents like us, and while nothing and no amount of preparation and theories and classes could prepare us for the real thing, a little knowledge and background and know-how really goes a long way. It reassures me that we don't have to face this as an "unknown", well at least not as a total unknown.

I feel better knowing and feeling a bit equipped than I was when we started with this journey. And while everyday is a brand-new opportunity to learn and discover (and I bet the learning never ends when the little one comes), going and attending these workshops together made us bond and prepare ourselves more on the exciting days ahead. It made me less anxious too, happily knowing that with J by my side and God leading us every step of the way, I'm in good hands. And while I am nowhere near to being an expert at this becoming a parent thing, I know everything will be alright. I know I will make mistakes, a lot of them actually, but I am certain God is slowly preparing and molding me to be the parent that I am supposed to be, Theories done, application coming soon!

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