After writing about the things I learnt from the past two years having a family with two kids, my wife asked me to write about what I learnt when preparing our babies arrival. Which is a fun question because for the very same reason – no one really told me what to do (well, actually people told me this and that, especially about being ready near the due date or funny stories about wife’s food craving) – so I kind of digest them and figure things out on my own. So I have learnt about some things, and these 5 things are the most valuable lessons for me:
1. Save money
This is very natural, and super important. The money we have is a big determinant factor when we chose the hospital. My in-laws were asking to have a bigger room so that we can accommodate more guests, for the first born. But then we could relax on the room size for our second born, because well, we think that people would not be so excited anymore (which is funnily true to some extent!) that they want to give us a visit. For me it was funny to find out about that. Anyway, do not forget that saving money also applies after the babies bornt, for immunization, diapers and milk (it’s so expensive, so encourage yourselves for exclusive breastfeeding!), and actually.. for the rest of your life!
2. Join parental class
This is kind of fun. We took only one-day class which was more for breastfeeding, and I wished I had more classes on other things. It was nice to see other young couples trying to learn the same thing as us. My wife and I also happen to be a little bit competitive (she would absolutely deny this), so we were trying to ask more than other couples. This had made the whole thing more fun!
3. Get (more) organized at work, because you are preparing to take your annual leave, sirs!
Yes, as we do not have paternity leave in Indonesia (maybe some regions have already regulations about this), we have to make our own paternal leave. Take a week off (or 5 days), to spend more time with your newly-expanded family. It will be tiring, I warn you, but it will be extra worth it. And if your budget permits, pick a room that allows you to stay with her, so .. when preparing the essentials for your wife, pack some of yours as well. This would not only include clothes, but also your hobby materials as you could find some time alone in between the baby cries and visiting guests (not too much, because you might also find those in-between times as the right time to sleep!).
4. Read book and websites
As you can educate yourself on how to handle some emergencies (knock on wood!) as well as regular stuff on new born baby and wife. For me, some of the things are quite surprising, from a very important stuff like knowing normal bilirubin level of your new born baby, to a non-so-important stuff such as the fact that newborn may not look as beautiful as it were portrayed on movies or tv series and it can sometimes be covered with fine hair, all over his/her body – My first had it, and I was like, euhh? – But worry not, they will disappear and your newborn will look more and more beautiful everyday!
5. Pray (a lot)
To get mentally more prepared, I happened to find praying to be self-relieving. Knowing that you could only do so much to make sure your baby and your wife are okay, and you will just have to wait until the minute it comes out of your wife’s belly to know how it really looks like, praying for me is my like the last thing to complete whatever I have done to make sure everything goes well. I also find praying is very exciting because I literally can pray for everything I want, and also very personal, because well, no one really needs to know what I pray for. And yes, I also pray that whatever I did bad which would mind-trouble my parents [if they knew it] would not be done by my kids!
Were those things actually help me? Yes, but the second I see my children for the first time, none of them was in my head, because I was busy being amazed by the small beautiful human being!