Becoming a parent is a truly exciting chapter in our lives. While some people spend their whole lives dreaming of this moment, others find themselves faced with parenthood when they least expect it. All the same, having a child really does change your life in more ways than one.
Those prepared for parenthood may well have read up on the various aspects of parenting, from the good to the bad. On the other hand, those less so might find themselves wondering what they need to know as they emerge into this new part of their lives. This is where we come into the equation.
Detailed in this article, you will find a list of some common ways that becoming a parent can impact your health and how best to manage them. Whether you find yourself already experiencing these conditions or want to know what best to do when faced with these conditions, we feel confident you will find something of value here. Get yourself comfortable and read on for more.
Exhaustion and Tiredness
We have all experienced bouts of tiredness throughout our lives. Whether a result of a late-night out with friends or from binging too many episodes on Netflix and losing track of time, sometimes our sleeping patterns take a knock. Lifestyle changes are the most common reason we experience changes to our sleeping habits, and undoubtedly, becoming a parent is one of the most significant lifestyle changes out there.
New parents have most likely heard stories from others about the sleepless nights that will make themselves known. While this is something you should be prepared for – which is an entirely normal part of the newborn process – this could lead to increased levels of tiredness and exhaustion.
Naturally, it will be challenging to stick to an established sleep routine when you have a miniature version of yourself dictating when they want to be fed or cuddled! While that is very well the case, there are tricks and tips that you can implement into your daily schedule to help tackle any exhaustion or tiredness you are experiencing. One thing worth noting is that the fatigue and tiredness you are going through are unique to you, and a solution that might work for other people is not set to work for you. Trialing different solutions to find what works best for you is the best way of going about this.
Ways that you can combat tiredness and exhaustion associated with parenthood include the following:
- Creating a Comfortable Sleeping Environment: This goes beyond the parameters of having a comfortable bed, although that is of utmost importance. Prioritize the environment around you to ensure you have the best possible sleeping environment for you. Studies from Harvard University have established that the environment in which we sleep can significantly impact both the quantity and quality of sleep. Have a cool temperature to sleep in and a comfortable mattress to minimize the number of times you wake up (not counting the times your newborn will wake you up!)
- Stick to a Bedtime Routine: While it is essential to establish a routine for your newborn, you must do what you can to establish a bedtime routine for yourself too. The routine itself might not be at a set time, but the things that you do within this routine could remain the same. Giving yourself time to cleanse your skin and read a favorite book; these will allow you to relax and shed the stress from the day.
There are plenty of other things that you could try when wanting to improve your sleep efficiency, which goes beyond those suggested in this piece. To find out more information on sleep efficiency and how to improve your own, check out this article from the Ruscio Institute.
Experiencing struggles with your ability to sleep can have a knock-on effect on other aspects of your health, both physical and mental. This takes us to the following section.
Mental health is something that affects every single one of us at some point in our lives. With an estimated one in five American adults admitting they have experienced severe mental illness in their lifetime, there is no surprise this has been given a mention in this piece. Mental health is in the spotlight more often than not and is becoming less of a taboo subject than previously thought. Regular discourse surrounding mental health has opened up, with famous people telling their own stories as a means of encouraging this discourse even further.
At the same time, becoming a parent is one way your mental well-being can take a hit. This is entirely natural, for you are embarking on a chapter of your life that represents change and adaptation. Experiencing feelings of trepidation in the immediate weeks following the birth of your baby is entirely natural. It is when these feelings remain beyond this timeframe that could be an indication of something more serious.
It is worth noting that you are not alone when faced with this situation. You are not the first parent to experience these feelings and certainly will not be the last. Turn to your support network to get through this challenging time while also enlisting the services of a trained professional. Dealing with the mixed emotions that you are experiencing will go a long way. Taking care of yourself during this time is just as important as taking care of your baby; do not forget to make time for yourself!
Exercising and Staying Active
For the most part, we imagine new parents and those with older children are constantly on the go. Rushing around after troublesome toddlers or ferrying your older children to several extracurricular activities, you are undoubtedly always doing something. However, while this is very much the case, it has been suggested that parenthood could lead to some more significant lifestyle changes.
Studies have shown that parents get less exercise than others their age without children. As a result, this could lead to some weight gain and other associated factors from taking place. While there is nothing wrong with gaining a few pounds, excessive weight gain could lead to a whole host of other health conditions. Doing what you can to stay active while eating a healthy, balanced diet throughout this time will not only provide your body with the nutrients that it needs but will be proactive in ensuring you do not gain too many extra pounds.
You could look into combining your parental responsibilities with that of exercising. Many parents have taken it upon themselves to go for a run or jog and have taken their child along in their stroller. Finding groups near you who do this sort of activity and other parent-friendly exercises will provide you with the opportunity to stay active and the chance to meet others in your situation; did somebody say new friends and support network?
While these are but some of the ways your life will change when you become a parent, we hope this guide has shed some light on the topic in question. One thing we can be confident about; this is an exciting time in your life, and you should ensure to enjoy it as much as possible!