I think that anyone who has had a child or is pregnant at this very moment knows that the overwhelming feelings (good and scary) of being or becoming a parent starts the very moment you see or saw that positive sign on the pregnancy test.
Thoughts and feelings flood you of so many things: Will it be a boy or a girl? What color and how will you decorate the nursery? What name will we choose? How will we afford a child? Where will we deliver the baby? Who will be the physician/pediatrician? Will s/he be healthy? ... so on and so forth.
During your pregnancy, everyone has an opinion about how to do this and how to do that, what you should eat and maybe not eat - and that continues once the baby arrives. There are many personal opinions on breast-feeding verses bottle-feeding, where the baby sleeps, homemade food verses bought food, binky or no binky ... are you getting the picture?
All these thoughts and anticipation really consumed me during my pregnancy and kept me awake most nights (when I should have been getting all the rest I possibly could have before he arrived!)
While I was pregnant with Aftan (who is our first child), I read a few books, received monthly to weekly emails from a website called thebump.com and spoke a lot on the phone with my oldest sister, Becca, about all the things to maybe expect or possibly anticipate when bringing home baby. I read "What to Expect When You Are Expecting" and "What to Expect (The Toddler Years)." I also took advice from my mother (better yet, I may not have quite survived without my mother) after bring our son home.
My husband was very swamped with work. Being a farmer and having a baby born on the 28th of May, after a very wet planting season, meant he was behind in planting. The time for him to finish his field work, of course, came when Aftan was born. It is a very overwhelming experience bringing home your first baby, and I was so thankful to have my mother and other family members close by to lend a helping hand - do not be afraid to ask for help, either. We aren't superheroes and we aren't any less of a mother if we ask for help. You can rest assured your friends and family are dying to help you out and wouldn't mind at all.
Since bringing him home from the hospital, almost two and a half years ago, there are many, many, things I have learned. (I could write a small book!) But I think the very most important thing I have learned is that not all of us parents are the same. We all have different beliefs, values, and wishes of how we want to raise a child. There is no 'perfect' parent and there is no 'perfect' way of raising a child (or children).
You have to do what works best for you and your family. You can ask 100 different parents or several professionals for assistance along the way, but in the end, you have to do whatever it is that works for you. That is the only way to survive and make yourself 'perfect' (in your own little world). What is important is that you care enough to seek out help from others or advice, and that you love up that baby and do all that you can do for them ... that is being the best parent. You will miss out on so much if you worry about being perfect and don't just enjoy all those moments and stages of children.
I've also learned to hold on tight, let him be little, let him run in the rain, jump in that puddle, smear mud all over your clean porch. Let him help with baking those cookies (even if it takes twice as long and gets super messy), let him visit with family and cousins and grandparents and great grandparents, pick my battles and don't get too fussed up over messed up routines and a late bedtime.
Babies do not stay babies, toddlers do not stay toddlers ... it all goes by way too quickly to worry about doing things 'right' and 'perfect' because, reality is, there is no perfect. Do not compare your situation to someone else's. Their path could be and probably is so very different than yours. Even pregnancy to pregnancy, child to child, are different, and I can't wait to go through this experience all over again with our second baby due summer of 2014.
Dara (Frymoyer)?Reinford was born and raised in Mifflintown, where she resides with her family. Reinford enjoys being able to stay at home with her son and spend time with family and friends.