There are a few conversations to have before you have a baby! Do we both want kids? Yes, one and done/ two and through! Will one of us give up a career to stay home or both continue to work? You agree on naming one child after his late father, and you both want your kids to attend a prestigious college. He has agreed to help you shave your legs before the big day, and you have agreed to disagree on his beard. The rest are just minor details, right? After giving birth, you’ll be sore, and you and your partner will be extremely tired, and at times, really confused or emotional. When we considered what conversations to have before you have a baby, we thought these just might help you divert a crisis situation!
Do you both have the skills you need to communicate effectively?
Being able to communicate with one another is paramount to getting off to a sustainable start as a family. Effective communication is clear and concise communication. Both partners feel respected, heard, and, in an ideal situation, walk away with some resolve. If you haven’t learned this skill, I suggest you get on it right away! Here are some tips to communicate more effectively:
- Be willing to ask for what you need directly.
- Don’t expect others to pick up on hints or anticipate your needs.
- Explain how you feel without pointing fingers.
- Use “I” statements more often and use “you” statements less often.
- Check in on your partner. Ask questions like: “What can I do for you?” “Is there anything I can do differently?”, “Are you and I on the same page?”
- Don’t waste energy trying to read into what your partner is saying (remember you’re both being direct).
What boundaries will we set now for after our baby is born?
Think you got a good thing going? Throw a baby into the mix, and watch your world tip upside down a time or two! Is it a bad thing? Not necessarily, but without setting some boundaries now you may find it more difficult to keep a good thing going! You will be exhausted, you will be sore, and you will want to relax, shower, sleep, and have some privacy while you get to know your baby and as your new family adjusts.
Not great with setting boundaries? Great, you already know! That means you’re one step closer to being a great boundary setter! Go ahead, get familiar, you’re a parent now! Here are some things you may want to consider:
- Who will visit in those first six weeks?
- How long will visitors stay?
- How will they contribute while they are here?
- Where will they stay if they are coming from out of town?
- Are your visitors willing to take turns with other visitors are in town?
- Will you set boundaries for hand washing? Kissing baby?
- Will you ask those coming in contact with your baby if they’re appropriately vaccinated (dTap and flu are especially of concern for a newborn)?
What will self-care look like after we have a baby?
Self-care is a term that many people use carelessly. However, self-care is not only essential, but it’s about more than just self! Caring for yourself properly allows you to be the very best version of you that you can be. It tells others how you feel about yourself and how you will allow them to treat you. It also helps teach your children that they are important and should take time out to love and care for themselves too.
Self-care looks different at different times in your life, but all stages have one thing in common. You are purposing to take time out for Y-O-U! In the beginning, it’s scheduling time for a daily shower or bath, brushing your teeth, and sometimes enjoying a cup of tea on the patio in the morning sunlight! Later it may look like a massage once a week, taking yourself to a movie, and hanging out with your girlfriends over lunch. If you’ve not been keeping up with self-care it can and often does feel weird or wrong in the beginning. DON’T STOP! You need it the most right now! Here are some things to consider when thinking about self-care:
- What one thing will I do daily, weekly, and monthly that is only for me?
- Therapy and counseling count as self-care!
- What things do I enjoy doing? What brings me joy?
- It gets easier to enjoy self-care!
- Need ideas: gentle yoga, walk on the beach, massage, pedicure, movie, hike, kayaking, walk around or shop your favorite store (coffee in hand), paint with a twist, visit a tea house, stay overnight at a bed and breakfast, take a drive, turn the radio up and dance, go to the park and swing!
We took many things into consideration when deciding on the most important conversations to have before you have a baby. We hope you found the information here insightful and decide to have these conversations.
Happy Birth and Parenting!
Elizabeth is the owner of The Jacksonville Baby Co., providing exceptional support and inclusive care for families welcoming babies in the Jacksonville, FL area since 2013. Helping families enjoy their births, their babies, and their sleep.