Think back to when you were pregnant with your first child. You may have been excited, or scared. You may have wondered about what the child would look like or be like. You may have been sad about your pregnancy – particularly if it was an unexpected pregnancy. You may have been beaming with excitement.
Then the baby arrived – some will have had an ‘easy’ birth, some harder but still okay and some may have had a difficult birth. After being in the hospital or with your midwife for a while, you were then be alone with this new little human – learning to do all that needed to be done whilst recovering from the birth and coping with interrupted sleep.
For many of us, there was a time when we thought: ‘I have no idea what to do here’; or ‘I’ve tried everything and he’s still unsettled’ or ‘Help, I can’t do this’.
At this point in time the reality is that you have stepped outside your Comfort Zone, and you are in a space/ situation which is uncomfortable for you, and this is because it is very unfamiliar – it’s something you’ve not done before.
Comfort Zone is defined as: ‘A situation where one feels at ease.’
Clearly, being a first time parent is very unfamiliar and therefore is outside our Comfort Zone.
Let’s think about all the new things which are happening which may lead you to feel uncomfortable, particularly in those first few weeks:
- You are responsible for meeting the needs of this newborn;
- You are responsible for keeping the child alive;
- You are responsible for keeping them safe, warm and well nourished;
- You are ‘meant’ to know when the baby cried to tell you that they are hungry or tired or had wind;
- You still need to shower, dress, eat and do some housework to keep that going;
- You now have an even bigger load of washing to be done;
- You have to learn how to change a nappy, how to wash a slippery baby and how to dress an uncooperative little body;
- and sooooo much more!
It’s no wonder that you are tired, tear-y and want to run away at times! This is because of being outside of your Comfort Zone – of being in an unfamiliar place.
Think back to another time when you felt overwhelmed with learning heaps of new things and skills in a short period of time – it might have been a new job, or learning to drive a car. With both of these experiences, it was likely that it was very uncomfortable in the first few weeks because you didn’t really know what you were doing – you were outside your Comfort Zone. As you gradually learnt what you needed and practiced the new skills, it gradually became less uncomfortable and became more familiar each time you did it. Gradually this new role or skill became ‘easy’ and merged into your Comfort Zone.
This is exactly what happens with parenting also. As we learn the skills needed to care for a new born infant we gradually relax a bit more as we feel more comfortable in our roles – our Comfort Zone has grown!
Then our baby starts to crawl, or walk, and we may have a new time of suddenly feeling outside our Comfort Zone and having to learn more again…. Then comes toilet-training, or pre-school or school and we start again!
Life is a series of challenges to grow and stretch our Comfort Zones
– and as we do, we grow as human beings!
Enjoying the s-t-r-e-t-c-h beyond your current Comfort Zone, to the next level!