So, you and your partner have made a key decision in life – to become a parent. You have time to agree on essential points. After the baby is born, they can become those stumbling blocks that will break your relationship. These are the points that should be discussed in advance so as not to face surprises in the future.
1. What if there are problems with conception?
In an ideal world, pregnancy occurs as soon as you decide that you are ready to become a parent. In reality, everything can turn out to be much more complicated. If you and your partner cannot conceive naturally, what alternative methods are you willing to use?
How do you and your partner feel about IVF, surrogacy, foster parenting? When do you decide it’s time to start this process?
2. When the baby is born, who will take on the main burden?
Perhaps one of you is ready to stay at home with the child. Or maybe you both plan to continue working – and the responsibility for the baby will be distributed between you. You can already figure out what things will be like: who will be responsible for the child’s diet, daily routine, buying clothes, walking?
Will the parent, who at first sat at home with the baby, continue to do so, or will he still go to work when the child reaches a certain age?
3. What do you do with night feeds?
If the baby is breastfed, it is clear who will feed him at night. But is the future dad planning to get up at night to change the baby’s diaper, lull the baby in his arms if they are crying, carry the baby upon his shoulder until the newborn burps?
Or is he planning to sleep all night blissfully while the mom is going to drop down from fatigue and lack of sleep the following day? And if the baby has to be formula-fed, will mom and dad take turns at night?
4. How do you share responsibilities around the house?
Household chores often turn into a source of constant resentment, irritation, and a sense of unfairness for couples. After the appearance of a newborn in the house, the question of distributing countless routine household chores between the parents can become a time bomb that can blow up family life.
Who will wash the dishes, load the laundry, dry it, buy food, cook, and clean up? You need to discuss honestly and in advance how you will share this large amount of work.
5. Who will stay with the child?
It is good if you are lucky to have grandparents or other relatives you trust and who agree to take over your baby voluntarily. If not, will you hire a nanny, or will the child go to nursery school and kindergarten?
If you both agree on the nanny, how do you picture her? When planning your future family budget, do not forget to include these costs in it.
6. How will you raise your child?
It is crucial to understand whether you and your partner are on the same page in such an important issue as discipline and punishment, even before the child gives any reason to start the educational process.
Does your partner prefer not to interfere? Will everything be allowed to the child? Or are you supporters of an authoritarian, old-school parenting style?
7. Should I give my child gadgets?
This is also an important issue. It would be good to reach a consensus in advance. Otherwise, it will become a stumbling block in your relationship. Therefore, it is worth agreeing at what age to start acquainting a child with electronic devices and how long he can stay in front of the screen.
8. How do you plan to provide for the future of the child?
This question is part of a more extensive discussion about what will happen to family finances after children are born. How will having a baby affect your spending and savings? Will you open a savings account for your child to pay for their future education? How often and how much will both parents contribute to this account?
Will the child go to a private school or a public one? And don’t forget about extracurricular activities – over time, all those soccer shoes, gymnastics leotards, kimonos, and piano lessons can punch a massive hole in your wallet if you don’t prepare (and even if you do).
9. What will happen to your relationship?
The stress of parenting and the monotony of family life can destroy even the closest relationships. How do you plan to make your relationship withstand the onslaught of endless challenges and responsibilities? Would you like to date each other once a week? Or periodically spend the weekend alone, without children?
Having an open, honest conversation about sensitive and painful topics will make the transition from partnership to parenting smoother.