Deciding to start a family is not like it used to be. Once upon a time it was marry young, immediately start family, mom stays home raising, baking, and cleaning while dad is working the desk job. Times are much more complicated these days with both parents working and sharing household duties, most of us have established careers or are on a certain path and birth control is the norm (or must). Making that step from just the two of you to family is huge with important issues to discuss and agree upon before trying to make that leap. Here are the top issues to discuss with your partner before ditching the birth control…
What if you and your partner are ready and wanting a baby, but you aren’t able to get pregnant? The two of you need to figure out what steps you are each willing to take in order to become parents fertility treatment, adoption, surrogacy and agree on them.
Perhaps you are fanaticizing about an all natural, in home birth that might completely freak your partner out or vice versa. Who do you want to be there when the baby is born? I’m a big believer in the person delivering the baby should decide how she wants to deliver and who she wants in the room, but’s it’s only fair to discuss your wishes beforehand so you can be on the same page.
What type of testing are you and your partner willing to do during the pregnancy? Tests like a CVS or Amnio. If the results come back with genetic abnormalities what options are you willing to take. Can you raise a child with severe disabilities or deliver a baby that may only live for a few days? Or can you never imagine terminating a pregnancy? This is a difficult topic and one that many couples avoid, but should be a priority you can agree upon before conceiving. If this becomes an issue and was not discussed previously or the two of you cannot agree, it can tear apart a marriage.
How Many Kids
Seems so simple, right? What if you always dreamed of having 3 kids and your partner never wants more than one? Not so simple anymore, so have this talk.
Dividing Parental Duties
This might seem like a no brainer, you are picturing your partner giving bottles and changing diapers. That picture is in your head, unless you discuss, as in say it out loud, your partner will never know. It’s also not reasonable for one parent to do it all, even if the mom is off on maternity leave and exclusively breast feeding. There are still diapers to be changed, laundry to wash and baby to bath and all those other household responsibilities. Discussing who can do what, even making a chart will help with resentment later on (and there will be resentment if one person is doing nearly all the work!)
Challenges Of Pregnancy And Post Partum
Let’s face it, pregnancy and post delivery are tough emotionally and physically. You’ve got raging hormones, which can make you very sensitive and seemingly unreasonable, but you ARE reasonable! Your body changes and you feel self conscious about this drastic weight gain, not to mention the all over pains you experience on a daily basis. Basically your body is taken over to create this baby and you don’t get it back after the baby is delivered because now you are the food source and everything is flabby and hangs differently. Yep, it’s true so make sure you and your partner are talking about dealing with these changes. Also, what if you end up on bed rest? Will your partner be able to take over all responsibilities having to do with the house?
Are you willing to raise a girl if all you ever wanted was a boy? You don’t really get to choose what sex your baby will be so make sure you and the partner will love and adore whatever the two of you create.
Who will be there to help after the baby is born? Do you have family living close or coming to visit? Do you both really want a houseguest for the first month (or two, gasp!) of your new life as a family? Ask your friends for help with meal delivery after the baby is born to ease the stress of feeding you both.
Oftentimes one parent feels very strongly about raising children with certain beliefs, better to get on the same page now.
Who is going to take care of the baby, you, your partner, nanny, family, or daycare? What are the options and what options are you and your partner willing to agree upon?
Babies do not come cheap. Set up a budget and discuss what you need to purchase. Is one of you set on having all high end gear while the other would like to get as much second hand as possible? What about private vs public school?
What type of parent do you want to be? How do you want to raise your child? Are you willing to read parenting books or go to parenting classes? This is a topic that will evolve and change and you really can never tell until you have children, but just discussing the big issues, like spanking or time-outs will help the two of you understand each other.
Where To Raise Your Child
Are you living in an area you want to raise your children? Do you need more space or a yard or want to be near family? Think about conveniences like parks and good, free schools.
This list is really about opening your relationship up to discussing issues that will come up, perhaps not all, but many. If they are not discussed, preferably before it’s actually an issue, then resentment builds and arguments will follow. So really just see this as relationship building and gearing you both up of for the wild and unexpected ride that parenting is. Since there’s really nothing that can totally prepare you, might as well reduce some arguments!