If you’re expecting your first child, you and your partner have probably been on the receiving end of at least one of these phrases:
“You can’t really prepare for what your life will be like once that baby’s born.”
“Enjoy the time you have NOW while you still can!”
And one of the worst, “Your life as you know it will be over!”
Ugh. Seriously, who are people kidding when they utter such words! Isn’t a basic assumption that, indeed, having a baby is life-changing?? Yes, life will change once your first baby is born. It will be wonderful. It will be challenging. You and your partner’s relationship will change, but change is not necessarily a negative thing. I encourage expectant parents to invest time in their relationship now to be better equipped for the upcoming transition.
This may sound over-simplified, but I cannot stress enough the benefit that communication has on your relationship as you’re preparing to enter this new stage of your life together. Talk and talk often! But don’t limit your “baby talk” to narrowing down your list of baby names or what kind of car seat to register for. In order to strengthen your relational bond, you need to dig a little deeper. Here are some things to consider discussing with your partner before your baby is born:
- What are our roles going to look like after the birth? What roles do we currently have in our relationship? How are they going to change?
- What roles did each of our parents have when we were children? How do we feel about their roles? How did those roles influence our perception about marriage and family?
- What fears or concerns do we each have about our changing roles? (For instance, when men are allowed to speak honestly, many of them express a fear of “coming in second” to the baby. While it may be a bit of an irrational fear, this is the opportunity to speak up about any fears you have, no matter how small or irrational they may be.)
- What does our baby truly need from us? Are we prepared and able to order our lives to meet those needs? How can we creatively keep our relationship strong while also meeting the needs of our child?
- What are our expectations of one another after the birth? Are these expectations realistic? If not, how can we adjust our expectations to align with reality?
- What do we need from each other right now? What do we need from each other after the baby arrives?
The transition to parenthood certainly has the potential to cause strain on a relationship. But when expectant parents take the time to adequately prepare for the transition, there also is the potential for something beautiful to take place: the relationship evolves and deepens.
By Expert Mommy, Sarah Baker