How To Have A Baby When Your Family Is Far-Flung
In the weeks, months, and years after you have a child, your needs as a parent and as a person will change. Most times, parents are showered with support before and immediately after the birth of your child. When those days and weeks pass and the initial throng of visitors tapers off, you may be left in a different situation than you envisioned.
I personally envisioned my family and friends being not only extremely close but also extremely helpful when I pictured the first months and years of my child's life.
However, things don't always turn out the way you'd hope.
There are many, many mothers and fathers that are so lucky in having an extensive network of family and friends present for support at the drop of a hat. My husband and I do not.
When we made the choice to live a significant distance away from our family and friends, a price we paid was the lack of support system. Couple that with pre-existing medical conditions that barred some of our closest family from being as physically present as they'd like to be, and my husband and I were basically on an island with our child.
If you find yourself in this situation after your child is born, here are a few tips that helped our little family to get through.
If your significant other is involved in your baby's life, learn to rely on each other. Part of being a wife- for me, in this transition, has been to learn how to give my husband rest, breaks, time away... but also to ask for it in return.
It is also extremely important not to dwell on the lack of support. If you spend your time thinking of how little help you have, when it does come around, you're not going to be thankful for those moments.
While you will eventually get back to these tasks (I promise!), seriously just forget about your chores for a while. If your ironing/vacuuming/dishes slide off of your priority list for an extended period of time, it's not important. When you begin to learn the balance of parenting, some of those tasks will be added back in slowly. Until then, don't worry about it.
And lastly, find what works for you. If it feels healthier to get out and take your child on a walk every day for fresh air, make that a priority. If you feel overwhelmed and don't even want to bother spending hours getting ready for one simple outing, stay at home. Making yourself healthier as a parent is going to lead to a happier you and a happier family.
If you do find yourself in this position, know you're not alone. We will learn, we will adapt, and we will not only get through this, but we will be better people for it.
How much support did you have as a new parent? How did you cope at the times you didn't have help?