top of page

Preparing for parenthood during pregnancy

For this blog post I spoke with Karina from Små Steg, who supports parents at the start and throughout their parenthood journey with counseling and family therapy. She shared with me some practical exercises that you can do as a parent to feel prepared and to build confidence in your parenting skills. The best moment to do this? Already before your baby is born! Pregnancy is the natural time to prepare for parenthood, and therefore a very good time for reflection and conversations.

Karina emphasizes that she would like all parents, especially mothers, to feel confident that they have what it takes to be a good parent. ‘I wish all parents to feel safe and proud about who they are and the efforts they make. Maybe you feel you need some support or tools, but basically you have what it takes to be a good parent!’

Core values

Something that can be of help on your parenthood journey is to have a clear idea of your core values. What kind of parent do you want to be? What do you wish for your kids, and what do you wish for yourself? Try to make a list of six core values. Reflecting on your core values can give insight into what is truly important for you and helps to determine what direction you want to go. Not only as a parent, but as a person in general. Examples of core values are: In my family I want open and honest communication. I wish for all family members to have self-confidence and to have confidence in each other. In my family it is important that everyone feels loved. Etc.

If you have a partner, it is helpful to have a conversation about this together. You could each first make your own list and then have a look at what you both wrote down. Is there an overlap? Do you understand why the other person considers something a core value, even if it isn’t for you?

Write your core values down, so you can refer to these at later times. At moments you feel you are struggling, you can have a look at the core values you identified to see if you are still living in line with these. You can use them as a compass, when taking decisions. At times you feel change is needed, but you are uncertain about what, your core values might point you in the right direction. They will help you to navigate in the landscape of motherhood or fatherhood.

What are your expectations?

Having a baby or a small child means certain tasks recur frequently. Like feeding, bedtime, bath time, etc. For some of these, you might have already specific ideas about how these should be done, and others you might have not thought about at all yet. How were these things done when you were a child yourself? And how was it done in your partner’s family? Maybe you find it important to research what experts say about certain topics. Often, we (unconsciously) assume our partner things about these things the same as we do. It is therefore smart to talk about these topics with your partner before the arrival of the baby. Make these talks practical and specific. For example, when it comes to bedtime: Who likes to do what? Are you yourself a morning person or an evening person? Do you have a certain bedtime ritual in mind? Do you find it important that you both do the same thing?

Have an ‘emergency plan’

You may never need it, but if you do, it is helpful to have an emergency plan. Who will you call when you need support? Practical support or mental support. Who can help you? What are things that can help you feel better, at times you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or completely sleep deprived? And what do you expect from your partner in such a situation?

Good enough

It is important to remember that we don’t have to do everything perfectly, to be good parents. Most of the time, what we do is more than good enough. We are not meant to do this alone, but in our individual society that is often what it comes down to. Becoming a parent is one of the biggest changes in life. The change is not only to get (another) baby, but also, we change as a person when we become a parent. Especially mothers. Our bodies change, our brain changes, our hormones change, our identity changes. It is huge.

When we have a child, things that we experienced in our own childhood also easily come to surface again. This can be joyful and nice, but also painful or even traumatic. It is completely normal if this is challenging, and it is smart to seek help if there are things that need processing or healing.

First Attempt In Learning

Lastly, Karina tells me that she likes to interpret the word FAIL as an acronym for First Attempt In Learning. So, whenever you feel you are failing as a parent, try to let this be a reminder that you are on a learning journey. There are loads of opportunities to practice. It is totally normal that we don’t always get it right the first time or all the time. Making a ‘mistake’ is not equivalent of messing up your child for life!

About Karina

Karina is passionate about care and support for mothers and fathers, which is why she founded Små Steg. Becoming a parent can be quite a shock. The lack of sleep, all the (well-meant) comments, advice and opinions, the hormonal rollercoaster, insecurity, anxiety, discovering your new identity, the changed relationship dynamics, all these things can make us feel vulnerable and needing some support. Karina sees it as her mission to make parents that seek her support feel loved, confident and good enough. She has a background in child pedagogy, family therapy and systemic therapy. Visit her website for more info.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page