Dr. Melanie Strang, a Melbourne doctor and mother with an interest in antenatal education and in emotional well being during and after pregnancy.
She runs a program called Well Mum Well Baby with the aim of providing "Emotional, Psychological and Relationship Preparation for New or Expectant First Time Parents."
Melanie's work in preparing parents for the life-changing event of the birth of their first child, is aimed at helping understand what is happening and thus help maintain emotional health during this happy but stressful time.
Here are her 5 tips for managing expectations of pregnancy:
Be flexible: It is common for mums to struggle with coming to terms with what they planned versus what reality serves up. For example you may have planned to return to work by 3 months yet circumstances change when bub arrives.
Don’t believe the hype: The media portrays a romanticized version of motherhood: Understand that life with a young baby does not look like a Huggies ad! There are amazing moments of joy and bonding yet this is mixed with plenty of dirty nappies, hard work and acclimatising to this massive transition.
Love takes time: Bonding with your baby may not happen immediately: It is normal for bonding to occur over a period of weeks to months. If a baby has a medical illness bonding may take longer- this may not be in line with your expectations but it’s ok.
It ok to be sad: There are many losses associated with motherhood: Having a baby is a time of wonderment and joy but acknowledging the losses will help you move forward-you are now a different version of yourself.
There are no rights and wrongs: No one bit of advice or parenting book will have all the magic answers- you and your baby are a unique pair to be understood in your own right.
Well, Mum, Well Baby
Maternal and Child Health Service in Victoria, reference for the free, univerally available service in Victoria, Australia
PANDA, for support with postnatal depression
Breastfeeding Australia for support with breastfeeding