Hah. You can't. It's impossible.
If you are looking for an enlightening or practical insight into how you best prepare yourself for impending parenthood, then I'm sorry I can't help you.
I've been doing this Mothering business now for just over 8 months and I still can't work out the answer to this question. That's the thing. There is no answer. Nothing I, nor anyone could say to you could possibly prepare you for the responsibility of being a Mother. There is no written instruction manual and certainly no right or wrong way of doing it. There is nothing you can do, before having a child, that can prepare you for the emotional rollercoaster that is parenthood - and no, raising a puppy does not even come close.
Someone told me once that being a parent was the hardest thing they'd ever done. Back then, before child, I really didn't fully comprehend what that meant. I smirk now though when I think back to those days and remember thinking at the time "Really? It can't be that hard, right?" and "People do it all the time and sometimes multiple times, so it can't be that difficult surely?". Holy crap was I naive.
I thought when people told me these things they were just trying to scare me. Trying to put me off having children but in reality they were just being honest. Because, in all honesty, at times it's fricken hard. Without a shadow of a doubt it is the most difficult, life changing thing I've ever done.
I thought I was exhausted before having Ella, when I was pregnant with her, but now she's here there is no comparison. When I complained about not being able to sleep or not being able to function on little sleep there is NO comparison to the permanent exhaustion when you actually have the baby.
I know it sounds like I'm being condescending or scaremongering but in reality you actually don't know what it's like to have a baby until you have one.
When it's one of those days where your baby's been grizzling all damn day or nothing seems to satisfy them and they're just NOT sleeping - there is just no getting away from it. Not only this but
they COMPLETELY rely on you for everything. You are the sole responsibility for ensuring this little person is fed, watered, clothed, nurtured and brought up to be a well rounded, confident and pleasant human being.
The weight of this responsibility is huge. It can be so daunting. There are days when I'm like "what am I doing?" and "am I doing this right?" But in reality there is no right answer or right way of doing it. It's completely trial and error, with a little bit of maternal instinct and finger crossing thrown in.
So, you may ask where is this blog post going? How do you ACTUALLY prepare for Motherhood?
Im sorry, but again, you can't.
I guess what I am trying to say is that although you can't prepare for what being a Mother involves at the end of the day none of the stress, uncertainty or exhaustion matters. Because, no matter what Motherhood (or baby) throws at you and after all the tears, exhaustion and tension headaches. It does get better. After a thundercloud comes the sun and when that sunshine comes out - it's glorious.
The laughter, the smiles, the cooing and the chattering, the growing, the learning and that delicious baby smell. When those eyes light up if you enter the room or when you're treated to the biggest mega-watt smile - in that moment, it's all forgotten.
The rush of overwhelming love you have for that little human being makes every single damn tantrum and grizzly day 100% worth it.
So, if you are preparing for Motherhood all I can say is...
Welcome to the emotional rollercoaster. It's life-changing, overwhelming and amazing. No one tells you this but, it's ok to not "like" your child at times it doesn't mean you don't love them with all your heart and soul, it just means that you are human and that being a Mother is tough! It's also immensely rewarding and worth every single minute. Don't forget - it get's easier and everyday is a new day!