Whether you’re family planning or about to become a parent the amount of questions you will ask yourself is unremitting. It doesn’t take long as a non-parent to find out what’s in store when you have children. You simply listen to friends who are parents or browse a satirical parenting website that discusses the trials and tribulations of parenting.
The overarching theme: it’s a herculean task to raise children but totally worth it. As a soon-to-be parent a tireless ticker tape of questions circulated my mind on any given day. As someone who had little experience with children many questions understandably erupted from self-doubt.
How will I cope with sleep deprivation? What if my baby is colicky? What if my child has a chronic illness? What if I feel overwhelmed and have little help?
As a parent of one child planning number two in the future similar questions resurface. How will I cope with two? How will I give them the attention they need? Somedays I find myself stressed with one; what if I can’t handle the stress of two?
I’ve learned one crucial piece of insight as a new parent that answers every single one of these questions: you’ll rise to the occasion. It seems ridiculously simple but the natural self-doubt that accompanies parenting often lends us to forget. We forget the capability and resilience we embody.
Our bodies are capable of facing adversities such as sleep deprivation, stress, and the demands of ongoing caregiving. Modern day parents face different stressors than previous generations: isolation from other parents; absence of “a village”; information overstimulation often confusing our own innate parenting intuitions; and parenting complications resulting from children’s accessibility to technology.
It seems like a lot to handle because it is a lot. Raising children without a community of moms looking out for each other is far more physically and psychologically taxing. In addition many moms have stopped supporting each other’s parenting styles; adding insult to injury.
Some days parenting is intense. Since becoming a mom I’ve faced some of my toughest challenges. I’ve tackled self-doubt, fear, anxiety, stress, and lots of multitasking. Some of the elements I worried I wouldn’t be able to handle, I’ve handled well.
Knowing your child is completely dependent is an effective motivator. The love and gratitude that accompany becoming a parent provide the endurance and adrenaline needed to be a caregiver day after day.
Remember that no matter what the world of parenting throws at you: you will always rise to the occasion. Parents always rise to the occasion; it’s our job. You will find a way to balance and cope with the ongoing stress. You will find the strength to care for a chronically ill child. You will know many of the answers to your own parenting questions.
When it becomes too overwhelming or seems beyond the scope of your abilities: you will adjust. We often underestimate the depths of our inner strength. Parents across the world raise children in far more treacherous conditions than we find ourselves.
Thus, when you ask yourself questions that start with “how will I…” or “what will I do if…”; the answer is always: you’ll rise to the occasion. Even if rising to the occasion means soliciting help when it feels like pulling teeth to ask.
People faced with new challenges have an astonishing capability to foster their inner strength. Don’t forget this crucial element to give you self-confidence when you experience the inevitable new parent insecurities.
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