8 Things You Should Definitely Ask Your Partner Before You Get Pregnant
Before my husband and I got married, we went to marriage preparation classes. We sat with a dozen or so other engaged couples, and discussed marriage and relationship issues. As the group started to dwindle, we realized many of the topics discussed were new conversations for some of the couples (and those conversations were the cause of a few breakups). Among other things, I learned that when it comes to important life decisions, you need to have a talk. So, yes, there are definitely questions you should absolutely ask your partner before you get pregnant.
Becoming a parent can be stressful, to say the least. If you're not on the same page as your partner and in agreement on some major childcare and family issues, problems can arise and what is already considered to be taxing and exhausting, can become downright impossible. Many parental decisions on important issues are decided upon before people even think about having children. We can be influenced by the way we are raised or by a rejection of how our own parents did things. Sometimes we can be convinced by our own reading or research on a topic, or we might be swayed by the techniques or routines practiced by our friends or even celebrities.
Whatever factors influence our choices, it's important to talk about these issues with our partner way before we see those little lines on the pregnancy test.
"Are You Sure About This, Right Now?"
Whether you have an unplanned pregnancy or not, making an informed decision about getting pregnant (and/or staying pregnant) is vital. Taking the time to make sure this is what you both want, and if this is the right time to make and sustain a family, is crucial.
"How Are We Going To Do This?"
Although birthing options are and should be left up to the woman giving birth, it makes sense to discuss a birth plan with your partner. Do they want to be there? Will it happen at home, in a birthing center or in a hospital? What will their role be and how can they help you to have a happy and healthy delivery?
"Are We Using Formula or BreastFeeding?"
Again, this is entirely up to the mother who is feeding the child. What a woman wants to do with her breasts is up to her, my friends. However, how you're going to feed your baby is a subject both parents should discuss. The more informed your partner is, the more they will be able to support you in whatever decision is ultimately made.
"Who Is Looking After The Baby?"
People often have very different and conflicting views about childcare, including if and when a mother should return to work (if she wants to, of course). You have to discuss your plans in advance, so that neither party feels surprised.
"How Are We Dividing The Labor?"
There are a lot of baby-related duties and chores that will need to be completed, on top of the usual pre-baby household maintenance and cleaning. Unfortunately, many times the majority of the work falls to one parent, and then frustration and feelings of being taken for granted can seep in. Being preemptive and setting up a roster of jobs before baby arrives, can stop these issues from even starting.
"To Co-Sleep Or Not To Co-Sleep?"
Co-sleeping or bed sharing can be a contentious issue, so it's not unheard of for parents to have opposing views. Parents will need to agree, though, and especially if they are sharing a bed.
We kept our son in our room for the first six months of his life, and although he napped in bed with me, I didn't feel comfortable sleeping next to him all night long. So, we just transferred him to his own bassinet at bedtime. Problem solved, and everyone was on the same page.
"What Do We Believe?"
Of course, multiple faiths (or no religious faiths at all) can and do exist in families, but it is still wise to discuss whether or not you intend to raise your child in particular faith or religious tradition. This decision can affect schooling and medical treatment, as well as your plans on Sunday mornings.
"How Do We Deal With Tantrums?"
Parents need to agree on their discipline strategy right from the start, and then agree to modify it if it's not working. If one parent relies on taking away privileges or timeouts to deal with bad behavior, but the other parent undermines those strategies, children can be left confused and the situation will only worsen.
Even though we may disagree on many issues involving our children, parents must talk about their differences away from their children (something my husband and I are still working on). Parenting is difficult, but it's not impossible when you keep those lines of communication clear.