A wise African proverb states: “It takes a village to raise a child.” What this proverb summarises so neatly is that it takes an entire community, people from all walks of life to interact with our children to help raise them with rich experiences and shelter them from harm. You’re going to need help to do this thing called parenthood, especially in the early years until your little one is running around the place.
It would, therefore, be a good idea and very advisable for you to start getting your tribe together and have this support network in place, even before you fall pregnant. Nowadays with the modern conveniences of the internet, you can find these support networks online in places like Nutricia Careline.
Continue reading to learn more about the support that is available to you before you get pregnant, during pregnancy and when your new arrival comes into the world.
The Importance of a Support Network from Preconception through Toddlerhood
Preconception Phase Of Parenthood
First and foremost, get yourself a great obstetrician. You need to feel welcome and safe when dealing with him/her. This doctor is going to be there when you give birth, so it’s imperative that you have a good rapport with him/her.
Start exercising and eating healthy if you’re not already doing so. This will help you to become pregnant faster. Stop drinking and smoking because this could also impede the conception of your baby. If you feel comfortable enough to share your decision to have a baby with your friends, share it. Ask them to be there for you and your partner. Avoid people that are negative or that say things that hurt or upset you as emotional stresses can make conception harder too.
Pregnant Phase Of Parenthood
Join a support group in your area for pregnant moms. You can find a group through the hospital, social media, or searching on the web for a support group near you. Get information from your local community center, check with a childcare center, ask your midwife or doctor, or ask your local council. These groups are designed to answer those weird questions you have like, why are my nipples darker, and guide you through the wobbly moments, like, what have I gotten myself into?
Nowadays, you can have the option of in-person groups or online groups. There are so many benefits of support groups; you can learn from mums that have gone through this exciting and sometimes scary experience. You will get information on different birthing techniques, and you’ll make new friends. Come up with a birth plan with your partner too.
Toddler Phase Of Parenthood
The benefits of joining a support group for parents with toddlers are priceless. Parents that have gone through what you are going through will be able to give a mountain of information which you can learn from. Can’t get your toddler to sleep? There will be someone that will be able to share their tried and tested methods with you. Feel overwhelmed? Someone will put their arm around you and let you cry it out.
These support groups are not only for mums. Dads should also interact with other dads because they might have concerns too that perhaps they cannot share with their partners. The benefits for your toddler is that he/she will become more creative when he/she interacts and plays with other children and grown-ups. Your child will develop social skills that cannot be developed in isolation, and it will build your child’s emotional confidence.
You Are Not Alone
Being a parent can be difficult at times, but do not lose hope. Many support structures can help you, like your family and friends. But you have to reach out to them. Don’t be shy and remember that there’s no weakness in asking for help. It is very wise. If things get a bit rough, speaking to other people who have been there too will help you to feel much better.