As most parents will tell you, nothing ever really prepares you to be a parent except for the job itself. However, there are some things that you can do to help make the on-the-job training a bit easier.
First, take advantage of the time that you have to read up on the topic as much as possible. There are many wonderful books on the subject of parenting from a variety of viewpoints and perspectives. Pick up a few books at the library or browse the parenting section at your local bookstore. If you are the type of person who likes to have a definite plan and for whom 'winging it' is just not an option then taking the time to research everything from feedings to what to expect during labor and even beyond can prove to be quite comforting.
Talk to your own parents about parenting. This is an excellent time to bond with your parents in an entirely and new way. You may just discover a completely different side of your parents that you never knew existed and also gain some valuable insight into the decisions that they made during your childhood that you might have never guessed. While your own parenting style may prove to be somewhat different from that of your parents there is no doubt that how you ultimately decide to parent will be affected by the way in which you were parented.
Along the same lines, talk to your friends and other family members that have children. The voice of wisdom can mean a lot during the months leading up to the arrival of your own child. While every parent is different and you will certainly develop our own style of parenting, it can be important to listen to different perspectives and viewpoints.
During this time you should also think about your lifestyle and consider how parenting may change your current lifestyle. There is no doubt about the fact that becoming a parent will change your viewpoint on practically everything and the decisions that you make for the future. While in the past your decisions were typically based made upon the needs of you and perhaps your spouse or partner, now that you have a child to consider, you will likely find that this changes things dramatically.
Depending upon your experience with babies, you may also wish to either take a class or spend some time with a friend or family member that has a baby. If you are anxious about the day-to-day routines and tasks of caring for a baby, this can help to put your mind at ease. Your physician may be able to recommend classes that can help you to learn more about nutrition, healthcare and other important issues that will come up once you have brought baby home and are responsible for his or her care.
Preparing a space within the home for your baby can also help you to feel more in control during this emotional time in your life. Nine months can be a long time to wait and anticipate the arrival of one little baby who is going to completely turn your life around. Focus some of your time and energy on preparing a place for him or her by setting up a nursery, getting clothing ready and making plans for the first few weeks after you and baby come home.
In the end, much of what you need to know you will simply learn from experience. Keep in mind that no parent is perfect and there will undoubtedly be stumbling blocks along the way. The main key is to keep an open mind and be willing to learn.
Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.