The state of not knowing where you're going but going anyway, of losing sight of your old self along the way and often of your partner too, of being completely disoriented, and yet becoming more aware of what "in love" truly means.
All at the same time.
Unless you've grown up with a baby in the house, most people these days have very little experience of what life as a parent actually looks like. And it's often very different to how it's portrayed in movies and on TV. More, ummm, real.
So really, it's kind of a leap of faith. The beginning of any worthwhile adventure.
Added to that, while there is lots of information and support for pregnancy, and lots of information and support for parenting, most people aren't aware of what's in between: parentHOOD.
"Is there a difference between parenting and parenthood?", I hear you ask.
Well, yes there is. And it's a big one:
Parenting is about your relationship with your newborn, baby or child. Settling, burping, changing. Learning their signals for hunger, tiredness and affection, that sort of thing. It is about nurturing your little one as they grow.
You’ll probably find that the parenting, “about your baby,” stuff is actually pretty straight forward. Much of it is instinct or common sense. And for the bits that aren’t, well, there’s plenty of great books and other resources to guide you.
Parenthood, on the other hand, is about you, your partner and the life you’re creating together for your family. It's about nurturing yourself and each other as you grow into parents so both you, and your children, can flourish. It's about all the stuff that I call "becoming us".
And nobody prepares you for all this becoming us stuff, like:
- Becoming confident as your life changes and becomes a new kind of life in so many ways.
- At the same time you're trying to meet all of your baby's needs, working out what you and your partner need too!
- Enlisting the support of family, friends and others and negotiating new boundaries in this time of change and transition.
- Knowing how to work with your partner, even if you have very different backgrounds or beliefs, so you can gently guide your children in the same direction.
And much, much more...
Because here's the thing - how you navigate all this "becoming us" stuff shapes the parent you will be...