Meghan and Harry have recently welcomed baby Archie into their lives and introduced him to the world. Here are some words of advice for Meghan, Harry and all new parents:
1. Parenthood is a journey into the unknown
You’ll be experiencing things you’ve never experienced before and facing things you’ve never faced - both as individuals and as a couple. This can sometimes cause conflict. In fact, researchers say 92% of parents have increased conflict in the first year of family. With sleep deprivation and everyday stresses of early parenthood, that’s no surprise.
And in a few months’ time when different ideas on how to raise little Archie start to creep in, even more likely. New conflicts don’t mean there’s anything wrong with you or your relationship, so don’t freak out.
2. Be learners and not experts
Parenthood is on the job training and much of it has surprisingly steep learning curves. You’ll discover many raw new learning edges of you own. And you’ll be bumping into each other’s too.
Don’t even try to get things right first time. Archie doesn’t care! Stuff up, make mistakes, laugh about them. Forgive yourselves and each other. You’ll soon discover that just as you think you’re getting on top of things, Archie will grow and change and mix things up again.
3. Don’t rush to get back to normal
In fact, don’t even try to get anywhere back there. Normal is not normal anymore. Around two thirds of couples report declined relationship satisfaction in the first 3 years after baby because they don’t know this.
Going forward into the wild and woolly unknowns of parenthood, it’s up to you to work together to create the new normal that’s right for your family. And boy, do you have a family! You’ll find self-care, couple-care and stress relief can be the difference between coping and not coping as a couple on any given day.
4. Nurture your new parent-selves
Most parents expect that aspects of life will change when they have a baby, but most parents don’t expect aspects of themselves to. Parenthood is a rite of passage and people emerge from it forever changed.
Right now you’re both becoming biologically primed to be sensitive to Archie and his needs. This means you’ll both be more sensitive to each other too (another reason for conflict!). Support each other in all your parenting attempts. Be a source of self-esteem.
There will be new sides of each other to cherish and old wounds from others to heal. So much growth, both within and between, is possible through parenthood.
5. Where focus goes, energy flows
Parenthood is a journey of discovery. On the inside too. More than ever, you’ll need to tune out some of the advice (have you notice how much of it is conflicting yet?) and pay attention to your voices inside.
And this is the most important thing: as much as Archie is going to need your care, love and support for the next few years and beyond, don’t forget to care for, love and support each other too. Because the bond between you is the foundation for your family. Continue to nurture this and Archie will thank you both for the rest of his life.
Becoming Us was founded to prepare parents for the normal changes and challenges of parenthood to reduce perinatal anxiety, depression and relationship distress suffered by 1 in 3 mothers and 1 in 5 dads. We hope to support the mental, emotional and relationship wellbeing of all parents, so whole families can thrive from the beginning.