7 Tips for Intended Parents to Prepare for Parenthood
Surrogacy can be so complicated that some intended parents may completely forget about preparing for parenthood. Here are some tips to help.
Soon-to-be parents have a lot to think about during any pregnancy. When you add the complex legal, medical, financial and social challenges of surrogacy, it can be easy for intended parents to get so absorbed in the surrogacy process that they forget to prepare for the next journey ahead: parenthood.
While it’s easy to get caught up in the world of surrogacy, it is also important to think about your next steps once your baby finally arrives. Here are some ways to ensure you are ready when it’s time to bring your new baby home:
- Read – There are thousands of pages in books and on the Internet dedicated to newborn care and parenting. While all this information can be overwhelming, it may be a good idea to read one or two of them to help you know what to expect when parenting your newborn.
- Find classes and services – Contact your hospital, pediatrician, local school district or county family services office to find parenting classes and other resources available in your community. Many can direct you to classes you can take to prepare for your baby’s arrival, as well as services that may be important to you once your baby is here. Find additional training suggestions under “Resources for Intended Parents” below.
- Be prepared for changes – At least for the first few months after your baby arrives, your life will probably revolve around your new little one. Be prepared for middle-of-the-night feedings and a restricted social schedule, and discuss childcare roles, responsibilities and expectations with other members of the household ahead of time.
- Prepare to bring your baby home – During the pregnancy, start gathering essential items, like a crib and stroller, and decorate your nursery. This step is necessary in physically providing for your new child, but it will also help you get into the mindset of being parents.
- Find support – Parenthood can be overwhelming, and friends and family members know that. Be willing to accept help and build a support system for when your baby comes home.
- Enjoy the journey – While you may not get to experience the pregnancy firsthand, you do have nine months (or longer) to mentally and emotionally prepare for your baby’s arrival. Be as involved as you can during your surrogate’s pregnancy, enroll in registries and have a baby shower to help you get excited about your little one. The more involved you are in prenatal care and preparation, the more “real” your impending parenthood will become.
- Be flexible – You will likely have an idea of how you want to parent, but be prepared to go with the flow. No matter how prepared you feel, you will face challenges, and you may need to adapt your parenting style and let go of some control. Just remember that it will be okay if things don’t turn out exactly as planned.
Resources for Intended Parents
As your baby’s due date approaches, you may begin to feel more nervous about assuming your new role as parents. However, there is no shortage of advice from the experts who have been there, and knowing what to expect may help put your mind at ease. Here are some of the top educational resources for new parents:
- Baby 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice for Your Baby’s First Year by Denise Fields and Ari Brown
- Your Baby’s First Year Week by Week by Glade B. Curtis and Judith Schuler
- What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
- The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two by William Sears, Martha Sears, Robert Sears and James Sears
- Baby Center
- What to Expect
- Ask Baby
- The Bump
- Zero to Three
- Child Welfare Information Gateway
Classes and Services
- National Parenting Education Network: NPEN is a national umbrella organization that links parents and parenting education professionals to local community services and support.
- Babies R Us: Babies R Us locations across the nation offer individual appointments, classes and events to help new parents and parents-to-be care for their new babies.
- Mommybites: Every month, Mommybites offers free online tele-classes, webinars and written information on parenting, as well as paid private one-on-one phone or Skype sessions with parenting experts.
There is no such thing as a “perfect parent.” Every parenting experience is different, and in the end, nothing can quite prepare you for all of the joys and challenges that your child will bring you. If you are struggling or need additional information, reach out to your partner, friends, family members, surrogacy professional or family counselor for help.
Are you interested in learning more about surrogacy or starting the process? Complete our form to request free surrogacy information now.