How to talk about potential parenting issues before baby arrives? Part 1

Pregnancy Tips for Parenting Discussions

How to start talking about parenting with your partner before the baby arrives

Part 1

Parenting
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With all the excitement that surrounds your pregnancy; doctors’ appointments, picking out names, creating a registry, setting up the nursery, taking childbirth classes or reading books it is no wonder that parents forget to talk about HOW their lives will be affected after their baby arrives. Parenting starts before the baby arrives.

Did you know, according to research “about two-thirds of couples become dissatisfied with their relationship within three years of having a child. It’s no wonder sleepless nights, raging hormones, scant time for long talks or sex — they all converge to forge a divide between you and him.” http://www.parents.com/parenting/relationships/sex-and-marriage-after-baby/how-to-stay-close-after-baby/  Prepare and plan NOW to help your relationship stay on the same page.

Pre-marital counseling is available to couples about to be married, but little to no parenting counseling is offered before the baby? The focus from one another shifts once the baby arrives and it takes practice and communication to keep your relationship strong. What kind of questions do you want to know from or about your partner in terms of parenting? Are they scared? Nervous? Ever changed a baby’s diaper? How do they handle lack of sleep? What do they think about immunizations? Will they be hands on? These are ALL great questions and adding a baby to your family is incredibly exciting but also overwhelming.

Yes, you can talk to family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors to get an idea of what it will be like, BUT it will still be different in your relationship and home life. You are this baby’s parent! You are 100% responsible for another human being. This is your new reality. Take a deep breath and remember, YOU GOT THIS!

I like to say that being pregnant is like planning for your wedding (usually have a couple months, lots to do, plan for, arrange, emotions, etc.), but the postpartum period is like the actual marriage. Who plans for their marriage – NO ONE! Most people just figure it out.

When my husband and I did premarital counseling, we laughed a lot because we had a lot to learn about each other.  Our pastor encouraged us to discuss things that we generally did not talk about, specifically our pet peeves. For example, does it matter what way the toilet paper roll goes on? Do you squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom or the top? Should your bed be made in the morning or do the covers stay where you left them? Do you need a night light on or complete darkness? Can the toilet seat stay up or does it need to stay down? Is it ok to drink out of the milk carton?

Ask your partner these questions.

We were also encouraged to talk about how we were raised, our values and beliefs. What our childhoods were like, what we liked and disliked about our parents, holidays and traditions, chores and responsibilities, bank accounts and family.  The discussions sparked an interest and got our wheels turning plus allowed us to voice our thoughts and feelings BEFORE we got married. Shouldn’t it be the same as you prepare to bring this new human being into the world?

After spending more than half of our lives together, my husband and I still sit down and talk about stuff daily.  We do not always agree, but we always come to a parenting decision that is best for our family. As children get older and times change, it is still our responsibility to help guide them and give them wings to fly when they are ready. So while we might not be discussing diapers, midnight feedings, preschools, babysitters and whose house to go to for Easter, we are discussing, social media, homework, boys, parties and driving.

One piece of advice for parents-to-be, discuss topics BEFORE the baby arrives. Keep the lines of communication OPEN as your baby grows and times change. Talk about these questions NOW instead of waiting until you are sleep deprived, in the thick of it and emotional.

I love helping families start these important discussions about parenting during pregnancy. Their anticipation is high and their hopes and dreams for their baby are at the forefront of their minds. ,

In the next part of my blog I will discuss the conversation starters….STAY TUNED!