While you can’t plan motherhood, you can prepare for it.
This is just as true for pregnancy as it is for labor and delivery as it is for your fourth trimester.
Every pregnancy, birth, and parenting journey is different.
So in that sense, you can’t plan it all out. But you can educate yourself and prepare ahead of time.
Preparing for motherhood can help you know what to expect, what variables are at play, and the range of likely experiences.
This can lead to increased confidence, which can be empowering and reduce fear and anxiety.
With more information and a sense of preparedness, you’ll be able to maintain your sense of self more easily than you otherwise would (especially when you’re alone with your baby).
How To Prepare For Motherhood
Preparing for motherhood isn’t just about making sure the nursery is ready to go. It’s about preparing physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Tip 1: Identify your fears and address them.
Mentally preparing for motherhood, in part, means identifying your fears and addressing them.
Fear is an emotion that seems murky and very “unknown” until you bring some certainty to it.
Ask. yourself what you’re most afraid of. Write down the answer.
Go to the place in your mind where that fear comes true. What would you do if that “worst case scenario” happened?
Often, you’ll find yourself worrying about the future as if you’re not able to be an active participant in the solution.
When you imagine your fears happening, how would you show up? Who would you be in that situation?
This can be helpful mentally and emotionally because you’ll see that you can overcome any challenge that comes your way.
- 3 Steps To Reduce Anxiety For Moms (free class)
- 11 Ways To Avoid Stress During Pregnancy (blog post)
- Disagreements In Marriage (podcast)
Tip 2: Educate yourself.
Educating yourself before the baby arrives is one of the best things that expectant parents can do.
When you’re educated, you have more information and knowledge to pull from. Meaning, your brain will be more equipped to make decisions. Because of this, you’ll have an increased sense of confidence.
A big part of preparing for motherhood is becoming aware of what you don’t know. While you can’t (and shouldn’t try) to learn everything, by reading books, taking courses, and listening to podcasts, you’ll get a good knowledge base to start.
The more educated you are, the more you reduce your insecurities and self doubt. This makes for easing a bit of the mental load of motherhood.
Tip 3: Cultivate relationship with other moms.
Getting around other moms who are going through what you’re experiencing will help you feel more prepared for motherhood.
You’ll learn little nuances and tidbits that the books won’t tell you. Better yet, you’ll hear about unique stories that will help expand your idea of what motherhood will be like.
There are forums or groups you can join for this (like on Facebook) as well as apps, like the Peanut App (designed kind of like a dating app but for moms to meet other moms).
Having a supportive community of family and friends will help you prepare for motherhood because you’ll feel seen, loved, and more capable than you otherwise would. Better yet if some of them are moms, too.
- What Is Pregnancy Intuition (blog post)
- Pursuing Your Passion (podcast)
- How To Deal With A Challenging Relationships (free class)
Tip 4: Get your money in order.
Getting your finances in order before the baby is born is a responsible way to prepare for motherhood. While it may not seem as fun to you as decorating the nursery, the long term benefits are priceless.
When you have a handle on your money (even if it’s just the money coming in and money going out, like in a planned budget), you have an increased sense of control. This is helpful because bringing in a new baby increases expenses in a way that’s usually exponential.
One way to get your money in order beyond budgeting with your spouse is to set aside money every money for the “baby” and only live off a portion of your income. This way you see what it’s like to have a bit less for your normal day-to-day expenses, which is what will happen when the baby arrives.
- Money Management (podcast)
- How To Become More Mindful With Money In Marriage (free class)
- Thursday Inspo (email newsletter)
Tip 5: Practicing doing everything with one hand.
A fun way to prepare for motherhood is to practice doing everything with one hand.
Okay, fun might be a stretch, but you really will find yourself carrying your baby so much that practicing for that type of strength and coordination may be helpful in a way you hadn’t thought of before.
The truth is that you’ll be caring for your baby 24/7 and that means doing a lot with just one hand. Practicing this ahead of the baby’s due date can be a huge help.
- Related: 75 Journal Prompts For Moms (free download)
Tip 6: Start a meditation practice.
Starting a mindfulness and meditation practice is a smart way to prepare for motherhood.
The mental load of caring for a baby is something often not discussed, yet typically the hardest part.
If you can manage your mind and maintain a sense of internal calm, you’ll reduce anxiety, overwhelm, and new mom stress.
Get started with my free class for becoming a more mindful mom here: How To Become A More Mindful Mom.
Tip 7: Plan for your “fourth trimester.”
Planning for the first three months postpartum (aka the “fourth trimester”) is something new moms need to do, yet it’s often last on the list (if it’s on the list at all).
In the book The Fourth Trimester, you’ll learn new ways to do this, including making sure you’re cared for, having warm food available, letting your body heal for several months, and more.
Personally, I was completely surprised with how much goes into planning the fourth trimester yet no one really talks about this part.
As you think about how you’ll spend the first three months postpartum (whether that’s as a stay at home mom or you’re on maternity leave), being prepared and having a plan is going to serve your physical, mental, and emotional health.
A Final Note
Preparing for motherhood is something that can be fun and have a huge impact on your life. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, insecure, and alone, you can feel confident, self-assured, and capable (even on really hard days).