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Prepping For Motherhood: 4 Steps To Take When You're Ready To Start Your Family

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Dec. 13 2022, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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Prepping for motherhood when you’re ready to start a family is an amazing time. A whole new world opens up and preparation quickly begins. As you begin preparing for millennial motherhood, review these four things you should know while preparing to start a family.

1. Build your village early.

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As you begin the journey to start your family, building a supportive community can be integral to helping navigate motherhood. Gaining better education and support now is important.

According to the National Library of Medicine, websites, apps, and social media are important ways to gain valuable childbirth information for millennial women.

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A great website to join is What To Expect When You’re Expecting which offers the following resources for free:

  • “Resources for when you're trying to conceive

  • A personalized daily tracker that shows your week and day of pregnancy

  • Expert advice to cope with every challenge you might face during your baby's first year, such as sleep regressions, breastfeeding struggles, and more.

  • An active community that lets you connect with other moms in a whole new way — sharing photos, stories, and advice in real-time, and arranging meet-ups with moms like you” (WhatToExpect.com).

The WhatToExpect app offers community forums of parenting for those who are trying to conceive, in addition to preparation for when you are on your road to motherhood and have questions.

2. Review your medical coverage and plan ahead.

Planning ahead so that you have the right medical coverage is super important. Whether you will need medical services, assisted reproductive technology like in vitro fertilization (IVF), home birth, or you prefer a birthing center, having appropriate medical coverage will save you financially in the beginning and give you peace of mind.

According to a research study conducted by Merrill in partnership with Age Wave, they found that “New parents are surprised by how much more they spend.” They encourage potential parents to “Ensure adequate health, life, and disability insurance coverage.”

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I was quite surprised to learn that my medical coverage did not cover my daughter’s health expenses when she was born, thus I was responsible for the full cost of the medical needs of all doctor’s visits and medical procedures until I obtained a different medical insurance policy. This not only cost a wealth of unexpected expenses, but I also had to file continuous applications for financial assistance which could have been avoided if I had taken a look ahead of time at the fine print of my health insurance policy.

When it comes to becoming a new mom, planning, and researching sooner than later is definitely better. Check your current medical coverage now by calling your insurance provider. If you do not have medical coverage, contact your local county to ensure the no/low-cost medical assistance available in your area.

3. Begin forming healthy habits now.

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The Center on Developing Child - Harvard University found that strengthening core life skills and reducing stress can support parents in freeing up time and energy “ to participate in responsive relationships.”

Responsive relationships convey understanding, validation, and caring, and help set the foundation for a stable and caring environment for children to grow up in. In fact, research has been found that connects prenatal stress with overall “maternal health and human development across the lifespan.”

Forming healthy habits can support not only now, yet can extend into your pregnancy. In fact, Stephanie Collier, M.D., MPH, in "How can you manage anxiety during pregnancy?" highlights the key healthy habits that include: "regular physical activity, adequate sleep, practicing mindfulness, yoga, meditation, and acupuncture."

Don’t wait to form healthy habits. Instead, form them now to help support on the road to your family planning.

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4. Seek insights into educational resources on preparation for parenthood.

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Reaching out to your local community for educational resources and supportive services can be an amazing support. For example, where I live in Los Angeles, CA, the LA County Department of Health currently has initiatives in the form of a birthing doula for Black infants and families.

Doulas can support you emotionally and physically, while also helping to advocate for you along your journey. When I was pregnant, a doula actually came to my house to educate me on breathing techniques, things to look out for, and education as I prepared for childbirth.

In the planning stages, it’s great to research potential doula programs, and know what the government offers, so you can sign up early to access services due to some programs having long waitlists. Do your research now to know what’s available to support you during family planning, and what’s most affordable for you on your parenting journey.

As you plan, remember, this is an exciting time! Help is available, and keep pushing forward. Best wishes on your journey!

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By: Shari Walker

Shari Walker is a former foster-care child who now advocates for mental health and wellness through her advocacy work, socially conscious writing, empowerment coaching, and spoken word poetry. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s Social Work-Social Change and Innovation master’s program, who has advocated alongside the Alliance for Children’s Rights, The RightWay Foundation, the National Foster Youth Institute, and the California Youth Connection.

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