Having a baby changes absolutely everything about the parent's life. There are countless books out there that can help them prepare, they can go to classes and groups and talk to friends. They can read stuff online, or talk to their own parents about the process. However, no matter how much preparation goes into it, every single parent finds themselves at a loss when dealing with some of the issues. There are things they didn't know would happen, and there are things they planned for but weren't ready for how they would actually be.
One of the most important things when deciding whether or not to get pregnant is open communication between the two parents. They must decide ahead of time what values they would like to instil in their child, how they will reprimand the child when the time comes, even how they would like to teach the child about drugs when the time comes. These are all very important factors in deciding the correct partner for pregnancy or deciding whether or not it is a good idea for that particular couple.
However, even with all of these topics discussed ahead of time, there is no amount of preparation that is going to make raising a child easy. Every kid is different, every kid reacts to things differently, and things are always easier said than done. Just because they decided they would have Santa be real for the kid until they were 13 doesn't mean some kid in their class will spoil it when they are 6. There are no absolutes when it comes to raising children, so a lot of things come as a big surprise. Here is a list of some of these things.
15 Lack Of Intimacy
A lot of people have their little sayings. “Happy wife, happy life,” “there are three rings in marriage: engagement ring, wedding ring, and then suffering,” “having a baby is a good way to ensure you never have sex again.” Most of these are just patriarchal nonsense, but the last one actually has some validity to it. Women who have just given birth really have no interest in sex - of if they do, they can't indulge until everything is OK'd by the doctor - and then once they physically feel up to the task, couples can rarely find the time.
It's not that women stop liking sex once thy give birth. At first, they are just physically exhausted, and after that, they are pretty mentally strapped. And that's not to say that the father doesn't have any mental hangups about having a baby, as he certainly does. But a mom's whole mental makeup changes when she pushes out a baby, and then sex pretty quickly drops down on her list of priorities.
14 Fear Of Failure
There is nothing more stressful than raising a baby. The reason for this is the stakes are so unfathomably high. It is up to the parents to shape this person. If it’s a dog being trained, then maybe they don’t fully understand that they are not supposed to go up on the sofa. But if it’s a person being raised, there seems to be so much more that can go wrong.
Parents are aware of all of this. Therefore, they get really really afraid of making the wrong decisions. Especially if they are new parents. It’s really nice having a partner to help out with the decision making, but that doesn’t make it easy by any stretch of the imagination. There is not a parent walking this earth right now who hasn’t thought “I really hope I don’t mess this kid up for life” at one point or another.
13 Anger Towards Baby
This is one that freaks a lot of people out. They see on TV, they read in books and magazines, and they hear from their friends that this baby is supposed to be the single greatest thing that ever happens to a person. Now, all of a sudden, the parents, often the dad, but it certainly happens with mom as well, feel almost disconnected from this baby.
If this happens, it is important for the parents to not panic. Unless feelings of wanting to hurt the baby arise, this is probably a normal thing. Before the baby came around, there were nights full of sleep, and neither one of the parents ever had to touch human feces. Now that the baby is here, no sleep is to be had, the sound of a crying baby echoes in dreams, and there are feces everywhere more often than not. Some feelings of anger towards this little thing are acceptable. If they persist or do turn into violent feelings, however, that is a sure sign to seek help immediately.
12 Resentment Towards SO
This one is the reason that so many people feel that having a baby is a good way to end the amicable relationship of pre-baby partners. Whether it be due to different parenting styles, or feelings of jealousy, or anything like that, then oftentimes the couple could be harboring feelings of resentment for one another. One of the biggest reasons, and it almost seems laughable, is the feeling of "oh, you put this baby inside of me," or "oh, you had to stop taking your birth control."
There is no doubt having a baby changes things. However, it is important to remember that having the baby was not a split second decision. It’s possible for sure that the pregnancy itself was an accident, but it’s the 21st century, if the parents think that there is really going to be a problem, there are other options. Know it is something that the two people got into together, and it is together that they can successfully raise this child.
11 Feelings Of Jealousy
This one is way more common than people either like to admit or that they like to think about. Oftentimes, especially from the father's point of view, it seems as though the baby is taking up all of the mom's attention. And it certainly is. That's part of having a baby, it needs an incredible amount of love and affection. With that said, the dad often gets fairly jealous of the baby.
"Well, why is she spending so much time with the baby? Has she forgotten about me?" No, she hasn't forgotten. She just has an incredible amount of responsibility now. In addition to the flooding of hormones that make her love this baby on a biological level, she also has that extreme fear of failure we discussed earlier, and she is afraid that every move she makes could be the wrong one. Of course, all of her attention is going into this baby. Just know that it won't last forever, and she obviously still loves her SO.
10 No Time For Each Other
It’s amazing that this is something that people don’t think about ahead of time, but it is. Something that couples who just had a baby will find is the leisure days are over. There are no more Saturdays spent in bed, no more spontaneous date nights, no more getting drunk together on a Tuesday night. A baby is an insane amount of responsibility, and it is a completely helpless being.
Being so helpless, it needs somebody else to do everything for it. And that somebody else is the parents. Therefore, they cannot just lounge around talking about each of their days. If one of them was home with the baby all day while the other was at work, then they can kind of switch when the one gets home. But that doesn’t mean they can all of a sudden just leave the baby alone for awhile. It needs constant attention. And the attention that used to go to the partner now goes to the baby.
9 Different Ideas For Parenting Style
This is one that comes up quite a bit when raising children. When couples decide that they want to have children, a lot of times they talk about the ooh's and ahh's of having a baby, but they don't get down to the nitty-gritty of what it actually takes to raise a baby. They don't discuss how they would reprimand the child, what their thoughts are on rigidness, or even what rules they would set.
This is why deep communication is necessary before deciding to get pregnant. It cannot be overstated, raising a human is an insanely important job, and lots of people assume that their way is the right way, or at least right for them. So when this lack of communication happens, the couple doesn’t really know how the other truly feels about style until an issue comes up, whether it's behavioral or otherwise. Talking about ideal styles before the pregnancy is the best way to avoid conflict down the line.
8 Completely Overwhelmed
Raising a kid is insanely hard! There are no two ways about it. Sure there are a million books out there about raising kids, but what none of them take into consideration is the fact that everybody is different, both parents and the kids. Therefore, couples, who during the pregnancy part, felt super prepared and ready to go, like they were going to raise the best kid there ever was, find themselves extremely overwhelmed once push comes to shove.
They are thrown by all the responsibility, and in their head they figured "ah, we'll change him a few times a day, put him down to bed at 6:30, then we'll have some time to ourselves," but then once 6:30 comes around the kid has absolutely no intention of going to sleep. It's unpredictable, and it's hectic. Therefore, if there are any new parents reading this that feel overwhelmed, just know, it's completely normal.
7 Money Issues
This is another one that people don’t always take into consideration. Not only is raising a kid incredibly demanding of time and energy, but they also cost a lot of money. Diapers, formula, blankets, cribs, toys whatever. Kids are expensive. And they don’t get cheaper as they age. There are parents still paying for their 20 something year old’s rent. The average cost of a new baby was $233,610 in 2016. Most people don’t even make that in a year. A middle of the road job in America oftentimes doesn’t even pay $100,000 in a year.
That means that it takes over two years of work to make enough money to pay for one year of life. Some simple arithmetic will show that this is a tremendous amount of money, and also pretty much impossible to get ahead of. That average, by the way, is only for a child up to 17 years old. That means that college tuition, or rent, or whatever, is not even factored into that. That means that number actually gets larger as time goes on. Cha-ching!
6 Chores Become A Huge Hassle
This is another thing that couples often don’t consider until it is staring them in the face. With all this extra responsibility of taking care of a helpless human, somebody still has to do the dishes. Somebody still has to cook. And vacuum, and dust, and make the bed, and, and, and...It’s a never ending job. People without kids often get overwhelmed by keeping the house clean, and that pressure increases once that little bundle of joy arrives.
The important thing to remember when dealing with this situation is communication. If the mother, for instance, stays at home all day taking care of the baby while the father goes off to work, then by the time the dad gets home, she might be ready for a nap. However, if the father feels this is still the 1960’s, he might feel entitled to a hot meal waiting for him when he gets home. However, the mother who has been taking care of the baby all day might feel pretty burnt out on doing stuff for other people. Therefore, who makes dinner? Things like this can be a constant struggle.
5 Clashing Of Priorities
This is another one that often comes from a lack of communication. However, priorities can be difficult to set up until the actual event is going on, so this one is a bit more understandable. Say there is a couple who just had a kid. The mom thinks that the most important thing is teaching the kid how to say mama, but the dad thinks that they should just ride the wave until the kid starts walking.
Having a kid is a bit different than having a dog, but the principles are somewhat similar. After all, a dog is basically a baby that never fully grows up. So using the dog as an analogy, the dad might think it is more important to teach the dog how to sit, while the mom might think it’s more important to teach the dog how to walk on a leash without pulling. The trouble with raising a child is that both of these things are equally important. Therefore, the couple needs to work out a compromise in how they should prioritize what they both want and feel the baby needs.
4 EVERYTHING Revolves Around Baby
This one is surprising that it's surprising. Of course, the kid is the focus of everything. New parents find that they can no longer just make plans to go out; they either need to stay with the baby or if it is old enough, find a sitter. If they can't do that, then they are not going out. Parents find that they might make smarter health choices even for themselves, because they realize that they want to be around for this kid for as long as possible.
No decision that new parents face is made without considering the child. Job offers, social offers, even purchases are now always made in the name of the child. This surprises some parents because it is not something that is planned, it’s just something that happens. Even the most selfish people in the world find that they put themselves second to the kid once it is born. It’s a strange but beautiful feeling.
3 Relationship Changes
This is another reason some people feel having a kid was the beginning of the end for their relationship. Regardless of who they are, or what kind of relationship they had, there is not a single couple out there who have the same relationship before kids as they do after kids. It’s just impossible. That is when adulthood really sets in, and each individual’s needs come after the kid’s needs.
The reason for this change could be really anything that we've been discussing. People might begin to resent their partner because of a difference in priorities, or differing styles. Some of the love that they once felt for one another might be redirected at the baby, so the other person might feel a bit slighted. Even if things remain good, the dynamics are different after having kids. The couple isn't just two kids having fun anymore, they are two adults responsible for the life of this baby.
2 Sleep Deprivation
This is a pretty well-known consequence of having kids, but it's still something that should be mentioned. People underestimate the effect that not getting enough sleep has on a person, so that is what can be surprising. It's more than just yawning extra the next day. And it's also for many, many nights in a row. Without proper sleep, the ability to make sound judgments, or to focus on something, or even maintain a pleasant disposition becomes greatly compromised.
Many new parents feel as though they are going crazy in the first few years of having a baby. Waking up constantly throughout the night has a serious toll on the physical and mental wellbeing of a person. They can then grow bitter towards the child, or towards their partner. Their work performance could suffer, which ultimately could affect the financial wellbeing of the entire family. It’s important to get sufficient sleep, but it’s almost impossible to do so when there is a baby in the house.
1 Are We Good Parents?
This one is similar to the fear of failure, but, believe it or not, it is a bit different. It’s more of a deeper insecurity. When people are afraid of failure, they are afraid that their kid will turn into a bank robber or a sociopath. The good parents thing, however, is a different kind of concern. These parents are worried that their kids might grow up with skewed morals and priorities.
It’s also a worry of instilling the right values, reprimanding bad behavior accordingly and doing the best thing to correct the behavior. One thing about parenting is that nobody really knows what they are doing, and every situation is different. Some people feel that instilling a love of money and material things is the best course of action, others feel that money should take a back seat to experiences and relationships. There is no one right way to do things when it comes to parenting, and many parents find that deeply unnerving.
Sources: Blogs.Psychcentral.com, WebMD.com, TodaysParent.com, Parents.com