The Only Advice New Parents Need To Know (Episode 59)
What words of wisdom for new parents do you have? Advice is flowing everywhere - what do you trust? And how do you navigate what you REALLY need to know?
In this episode, Nathan and I explore words of wisdom for new parents, becoming a parent for the first time, and Preparing for Childbirth.
So, do you ask for advice, or no?
Crowdsourcing can be a powerful way to learn best practices, tried and true, what your friends swear by, etc. Yet there is only so much you need to take in, because, ultimately, you're never going to be fully prepared. Nothing fully prepares you for parenthood - other than being a parent. So know that it's okay to not have all the answers. None of us do. That's the beauty and intricacy of humanity - it's not a "one-size-fits-all", and you have to learn as you go. Always, always, remain teachable.
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Where are we this week?
Follow us on our journey on Insta as the FieldTripGypsies!
We scooted over from Glacier in Montana to Newport, Washington, and we've spent some time enjoying and learning about the Spokane area. The massive trees were cool to see.
Did you know that "Spokane" (pronounced Spo-CAN) is a Salish tribal word that means "children of the sun"? #kickinitunschool
What Advice Would You Give First Time Parents?
First and foremost, check out this video from Ina May Gaskin:
"We are the only species of mammal that can doubt it's capacity to give birth.
We are the only species of mammal that regards it's rear end with contempt.
Think of what it does for you!"
According to Carol Lorente (1995), the work of Gaskin and the midwives might not have had the impact it did, if it hadn't been for the publication of her book Spiritual Midwifery (1977):
- "Considered a seminal work, it presented pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding from a fresh, natural and spiritual perspective, rather than the standard clinical viewpoint. In homebirth and midwifery circles, it made her a household name, and a widely respected teacher and writer."
By the early 1990s, after multiple reprints, Spiritual Midwifery was acknowledged as a "classical text on midwifery" with a "lasting impact". More on Ina May here
It's so important to have confidence and stay calm. Maintain your headspace. Don't let yourself get scared. It's when we are fearful that we tend to react.
From the MSN Community:
- Bill: 1) CHILL. Take a deep breath, it will be alright. ok, now you can deal with the immediate issue.
- Robert: Ignore all advice...just go with it. For thousands of years, parents were able to figure it out...before the advent of books, social media or the internet...and way before having a baby was an opportunity for consumerism. You don't need all the crap that they tell you need...the only thing you need, is to be there for them.
Don't be afraid to say no, stand your ground, and/or ask questions. There is a lot going on in labor/delivery, and especially in a hospital setting, remember your voice, as no one there is more invested in you than you are. No matter how amazing a doctor is, they are not a mind reader. Just because someone has initials behind their name, that doesn't negate YOUR voice.
Be empowered to have a voice as a parent, starting from inception. Educate yourself. It is YOUR responsibility to learn what is going on with your body, and with your child's body.
Remember Baby Mozart? We are all trying to figure these things out - it's all theory, and we learn by trial and error. No, our children aren't simply guinea pigs. Yet understand that there is not one perfect answer that will solve everything and catapult your child to instant success.
It takes a Village
- Jason: Don’t go it alone. Things are much better with a village than solo.
We want to impart that to our children - that everyone is our teacher, and we always have the opportunity to learn. Be okay with screwing up. You will make mistakes. You're building the plane as you're running it. Every child is different, and even if you're a 5th time parent, that sixth child can give you a run for your money.
When our children are young, we're up on this pedestal like we're the smartest, wisest, best people in the world. Yet it's so, so important to allow your children to see you fail. It can be a normal part of growing up, or, the first time you see it, it can completely rock your world as your parents fall from grace. Help them to see that you are human! You fall, too...and, you have to get back up. If you are simply giving advice but they never see you fall on your knees, it's hard to really relate.
A village helps to support you and keeps you in check to be the parent you want to be. So don't turn down help, AND, take it with a grain of salt.
The last thing we need in the midst of our struggle is Shame for being Human. Brené Brown
- Dawn: Don’t rush any phase, stage, or day. You’ll miss the one you’re in longing for the next... On the rough days I remember “The days are long but the seasons are short.”
Hindsight is 20/20. Soak it in. Yes, there are some extremely long days - but in the scope of life, it's fleeting.
- Michelle: Everything is temporary and you’ll be over with this drama and on to the next in no time at all.
Don't Buy Everything.
- Chris: Don’t buy everything! You won’t use it all. Take your time and get it when you need it.
- Liz: Get off the damn internet. Don't buy anything. Not one thing.
- Cindy: You need WAY less baby products then what people or stores will try to tell or sell you.
But it's so fun to buy stuff! Yes. However, remember that, when you have a baby, that doesn't mean all the stores shut down. You can go out and grab it if you find you really need it. This is your time to crowdsource with other parents and find out what go-to baby item they really loved. Be minimal - get the core essentials because it's fun to prepare. Just don't go overboard, or you add the clutter which will lead to even more overwhelm when new baby arrives!
Shop consignment! You can completely stock up, oftentimes with brand new items, as kids grow so fast they don't even wear/use half of what people accumulate. Don't feel overwhelmed - you will still have time to go and grab items as you need them. And if you can't imagine leaving your home with a newborn, hello Amazon!
- Kelly: Wear your baby as much as possible. Ring sling, water sling, Tula, ergo, wraps.
Share resources - have friends pool together for those not as frequently used items, like a hiking backpack. Or ask around and borrow an item for a spell. I have had countless hand-me-downs for kids that have passed through multiple families where we just keep passing them on.
The Big Three:
Know your options. You have a voice, even in the operating room. So don't ignore this. Know the protocol with your hospital on how they handle emergencies. Read more about my story. Even in an emergency situation, you may still have options.
Educate yourself on both sides of the pendulum. And recognize this doesn't have to be a black and white decision. You may choose a modified approach, or only certain ones. Know what vaccines there are, what is in them, and who is backing up the information. Follow the money and know the source for where you are getting your information.
- Ashley: I follow the money. If I want an honest answer I'm going to use Google scholar read medical studies and then double check the sources and follow their money sources. For example if a company tells me to eat yogurt and steak to reduce risks of breast cancer and yet the Susan G. Komen and a beef brand are huge donors for this company. I'm probably not going to believe it. Money talks and it's often at the expense of the consumer.
Make sure you are making this decision beyond just "this is what I know/what has happened in the past." As you're doing your research in all of this, look world-wide. What we think of as "the norm" in the US is cultural - and you'll find very different perspectives across the world. We are seeing a shift, especially with circumcision, as more light is shed on whether this is medically necessary. And the switch has been flipped - this is not as common a practice as it used to be even a generation or two ago. Now, there are many insurance companies that will not cover this.
Don't parent out of fear. It's a scary world, and yes, there is a lot that can happen. But we can cripple ourselves with fear. As your child grows, it's going to be more important to look beyond what the "right path" is for parenting. Turn more attention to your child so you know what their path is.
This is YOUR family:
- Jessica: •Don’t compare what you’re doing with others around you. •Don’t wait to start saving money for your children. Start immediately! •Children grow up quickly so find enjoyment and something positive in all parenting situations. •Teach them biblical principles.
- Katie: Do what works for YOU and your family!!!
- Stephanie: Decide what is important for your family. If something doesn’t fit with your priorities, don’t sweat it even if it’s contrary to conventional parenting advice.
Lots of well-meaning folks will attempt to speak into your parenting, but you get to decide what voices you will listen to and adopt. You have zero obligation to take any advice that doesn’t fit within your family’s vision.
Your Weekly Challenge:
Family vision isn't just something you do once your children are old enough to be involved. Creating a family vision starts with you and your partner, and can happen way before children ever enter the conversation. This is a growing, morphing, collaborative idea that will continue to change as you and your family grows.
The more we recognize those personality styles and those strengths and what triggers us, the more we can come back to how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.