I think there is a real fear that comes naturally when you learn you are to become a parent. After-all, you will now be responsible for raising a child, and their life and well-being is literally in your hands.
I thought that there was never enough time in the day to research everything I needed to learn to adequately prepare myself for parenthood.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “It’ll just come naturally” when you express your fear, worry and concerns to those closest to you about becoming a parent.
Fact of the matter is, that no one and nothing can fully prepare you to be a parent. Being a parent is both the most amazing thing in the world and the most terrifying. There is no magic potion you can take that suddenly transforms you into this well educated super-human parent.
What I can say, is that there are some things that do come naturally, but then there will also be things that definitely do not come naturally.
Here are my list for both the things I feel come naturally and those that do not come naturally when you become a parent.
Here are some things about parenthood that do not come naturally.
Lack of Sleep
There is nothing natural about waking up every two or three hours for months on end. There are no books you can read that prepare you for that fact. Most days you will feel like a zombie and will be drinking coffee or energy drinks like your life depended on it. It’s not normal, but you’ll get through it.
You’ll Learn your Faults
It’s easy to pin-point your faults when you see them within your child. If your child is stubborn, it’s easy to point the finger at yourself or your spouse because one or both of you are stubborn. It’s a humbling experience because as parents, we are constantly reminded of our imperfections which helps us work on them and improve in the areas we are lacking in.
You’ll feel Helpless
There will be times when you feel incredibly helpless. Your child is suffering from an ear infection or a chest cold, and there really isn’t any medication they can take to relieve their symptoms. You watch them suffer through the day and night knowing that the most you can do for them is to hold them and comfort them. There will be moments like this probably daily, and the feeling of helplessness is normal. It’s an unnatural feeling and we dislike it, but it’s part of being a parent.
You Experience Emotional & Physical Changes
There is absolutely no doubt that your body changes in ways you never would have expected when having a baby. You experience a roll-coaster of emotions from the time of conception that only continues on as your child grows. Those feeling never truly go away.
The physical changes that come with being a parent are evident. Your bladder isn’t as strong as it used to be. Laughter can sometimes be risky..even sneezing can cause you to pee a little. Your stomach may never look the same due to a few extra pounds or stretch marks, but at the end of the day, mothers wouldn’t change those slight imperfections for anything because their child or children is their world.
For those friends and family members who told you that becoming a parent comes ‘naturally’, here are some of the things they may have been thinking of.
There is literally no way to express the amount of love that overwhelms you as soon as you become a parent. It’s genuine, all-encompassing, and it cannot be explained or summarized in words. There is a natural bond you feel as a parent that cannot be broken and it only grows stronger. You would do nearly anything for your child if it meant their safety and happiness.
You Learn to Understand Them by Observing
You spend a lot of time with your child, so you naturally begin to learn to read them. You learn their body language before they’re even able to speak. You learn when they’re hungry and when they’re tired just by how they act. You have a natural instinct that comes with being a parent. You can sense when something is wrong and it all has to do with that overwhelming and natural bond you have with your child.
Urge to Protect
When you become a parent, you naturally become either a “mama bear” and “daddy bear.” You literally would do anything for your child. You’ve seen stories on the news of mothers and fathers doing incredible and typically impossible things to save their children. This urge to protect never goes away.
When you become a parent, you become selfless. You put your needs on the back-burner to put your child’s needs before your own. It might not be easy or fun, but it happens without you realizing it. You understand that that is the way it should be, and it occurs to you that you wouldn’t want it any other way. You are selfless, because you are a parent who does so much for your child. You’re the selfless parent that will lose sleep if it means your sick child seeks solace in your arms when sick. You’re the selfless parent who eats a cold meal because you’re ensuring your child eats theirs. You’re the selfless parent who literally would run in front of a car if it meant the car would miss hitting your child. You’d sacrifice anything for them.
There are surely some things that come naturally when you become a parent, but there are certainly very unnatural things you will be faced with as well.
The great thing about becoming a parent is that you both grow together. You learn to exist together. You win some battles, and you lose some battles. That is normal.
Being a parent is both terrifying and the greatest thing ever. Embrace it, wholly.