However ready you feel to become parents, there are issues you should discuss before the big day…
The nursery is ready and waiting; you’ve been to antenatal classes and chosen a shortlist of names. But as your due date draws near, there may be one thing you still need to do: prepare your relationship for parenthood. ‘Becoming parents will change your life irrevocably’. ‘For a start, there’ll be three of you! Talk about how you’ll have less time for each other, but promise that you’ll work hard at making sure neither of you feels neglected.’ We’ve come up with six key issues to discuss with your partner before the birth.
We promise…. To Talk Our Birth Plan
Your baby’s birth will be one of the most treasured memories you share with your partner, and it’s a good time to make sure he’s as involved as possible. ‘He’s likely to have his own opinions and fears about labour, so discuss your birth plan together with your midwife’. ‘Also, discuss how you’d like him to support your during labour, by giving you a soothing massage for example.’
Your partner will also be your best support in the early days after the birth of your baby. ‘Talk about the possibility of getting the “baby blues” and how you can help prevent it by sleeping when your baby sleeps, drinking enough water and eating healthy food’.
We promise… To Devote Time to Our relationship
A seismic shift is about to occur in your life together, but it doesn’t have a negative impact on your relationship would be for our baby, so we agreed to always make time for us, says Emma Maddocks, 25, from Norwich, mum to Joshua, 9 months. ‘My mum baby-sits so my partner Neil and I can go out for a meal or to the cinema, and we have a bedtime routine for Joshua so we have our evenings together.’ Taking about how our lives are going to change will bring you closer and make you more of a team when the baby comes. ‘Agree to talk regularly about how things are going and find time to empathise with each other.’
Now is also a good time to prepare for how your sex life may change after the birth. ‘Be prepared for the fact that your libido is likely to be affected in the first few months when your baby is still waking in the night.’
We promise…. To Discuss Our New-Baby Routine
Discuss the importance of your partner’s role with him. ‘Men often feel sidelined, so talk about how you’ll both be beginners when you first hold, feed and change your baby and how you can learn together.’ Also, discuss who’ll do the feeds, nappy changes and bedtime routine. Barbara Blazquez Castro,35, from Cambridge, mum to Martina, 7 months, shared fears that she’d find it hard to cope on broken sleep. ‘My husband Rafaela and I agreed that he would mostly do the nights feeds. When our baby arrived, I believe I was a better mum because I had enough sleep at night.’
We promise… To tackle Our Finances Together
As your life together moves into new territory, this could be the first time you sit down and analyses your finances as a family. ‘Identify your money priorities and create an action plan for the future’. ‘There are lots of different bank accounts to suit every family, from solo and joint to savings. If either of you finds it hard to work within a budget, set up a separate account for spending money.’ Check your account for any memberships you no longer use, and remember you may be able to find better deals on utilities or insurance now you’re a family. ‘Research the benefits, tax credits, and help with childcare costs that are on offer, and sign up to parenting clubs for vouchers’.
We promise… You Create The Right Work/Life Balance
Taking about your career hopes now will help you both work towards them as a team once your baby arrives. The good news is that there are lots of ways to find the right balance for your family. New parenting legislation allows men to share maternity leave. You could also both ask for flexible working hours, so you can share childcare or nursery pick-ups.’ Vicki Bohr, 35, from Essex, and her husband Simon planned she’d take a year’s maternity leave to look after Abigail, now 6 months. ‘Having that discussion before our baby was born helped us to live on a tighter budget and stopped me feeling guilty about staying at home with Abigail,’ Vicki says.
We promise… To Agree On Our parenting Style
Discuss the kind of parents you want to be. Kaye Leadbetter, 31, from Burwash, East Sussex, mum to Mori, 1, and Tora, 6, knew she wanted to practice ‘attachment planning’-breastfeeding on demand, co-sleeping, and carrying Mari in a sling. She says, ‘My husband Andy was very supportive and we worked out ways to ensure he still felt involved, deciding he would do the baths and baby massage.’ Start by talking about your own upbringing-whether you’re looking to copy your parents’ style or do something quite different, says Suzie. ‘Don’t panic if you have slightly different beliefs. If you can learn how to discuss and resolve a difference of opinion together, it will be a great lesson for your children as they grow.’
One area which can cause conflict between parents is religion. ‘Talk about whether you want a religious ceremony for your new baby and how you’re planning to bring them up, then if you come under pressure from family and friends, you can pout on a united front.’