Right from the second my water broke with the first baby and jolted me out of an afternoon nap, nothing unfolded the way the prenatal classes had suggested.
Not the contractions, which went from non-existent straight to three minutes apart. Not the transportation plan, as my spouse was out of range, holed up in a press box covering some CFL game. Not the arrival at the hospital - when the sight and sound of me, clad in ratty housecoat and doubled over with a towel wedged between my legs, sent the tour group of horrified expectant parents bolting from the delivery room.
And definitely not my bouncing baby who, upon arriving, decided the world was sufficiently interesting that he wasn't inclined to miss out on any of it by sleeping. At least not for more than 20 minutes at a time.
All of which is to say that however well-intentioned, the "Be Prepared" motto doesn't always work when you're pregnant. Because you just can't be.
That's why you may be interested in a new program for first-time couples to help them navigate this strangely exhilarating, exhausting, mind-boggling, emotional transition into parenthood and through the first two and a half years of raising baby.
It's called The Parenting Partnership and it's open for enrolment to anyone expecting a baby next month (December), and in May or July of 2007. Created by Invest in Kids, a national non-profit organization aimed at helping parents and children through the early years, it's available to parents in the GTA, Hamilton/Niagara and Ottawa-Carleton regions. All you need is an internet connection.
New parents are always busy, so lots of the coaching, discussions and Q and As are done in weekly online meetings, while monthly face-to-face sessions are also held at partnering centres in the community. Not only do new parents get direct advice and information, they also get to connect with others who have babies the same age.
"New parents tell us that while they were filled with happiness and excitement about the arrival of their first baby, they also felt concerned and insecure about their own parenting knowledge and skills," says Dr. Carol Crill Russell, senior research associate with Invest in Kids.
The program will provide information on everything from labour and delivery to finances, infant nutrition, establishing routines, child development and how a baby can alter a couple's relationship.
For more information, visit the website or call Invest in Kids at 1-877-583-5437 or 416-977-1222.