Your first days as a new parent will include a wide range of feelings and emotions—from relief and excitement that your baby is finally here, to fear and apprehension about the tremendous responsibility you have undertaken. Most of all will be your feelings of love for this unique little person you helped to create. Yet, at the same time, you may have unexplained feelings of sadness and a sense of being overwhelmed. Sometimes, all you may feel is total exhaustion! All of these are normal reactions to new parenthood. This chapter discusses the physical and emotional changes that are experienced by most new parents and offers suggestions for making this period of adjustment a little easier.
Having a baby will be one of the most exciting adventures of your life. This single act, more than any other, will change your lifestyle. The journey begins during pregnancy as you learn new things about your body and unborn child. Your awareness of your baby and his sensations will begin to develop the mother-child bond and your communication with him. The act of labor and giving birth will help to cement this relationship. The commitment you make to this tiny individual will last throughout his lifetime. Make wise and informed choices right from the start of the pregnancy and continue that philosophy into his childhood. Parenthood is the most important and the most challenging job that you will ever do, and it can be the most rewarding.