Having a baby is wonderful, magical and life-changing and also an incredible responsibility, because you’ll be providing love and 24/7 care for a tiny, helpless baby, who will grow and change into a unique child. There are countless things that will change in your life, your partner’s life and your path forward. Some of these things can be anticipated, and some cannot.
As you and your partner consider becoming parents together, the very best gift you can give your much anticipated and wanted child is a good relationship with each other.
Children benefit when there’s lots of love and also when their parents are respectful and supportive of one another and parent as a team. And all of that, starts with mutual respect and good communication.
Becoming Better Communicators
Maybe you’re already great communicators, maybe you’ve been so busy it’s been hard to find time to connect, either way or anything in between, it doesn’t matter.
Start wherever you are now.
Find time to talk about your hopes and dreams for your future together as a couple and as parents. Be sure to talk about your concerns, worries and what you envision together.
Here’s a few tips that might help
- It’s important to have a few ground rules. 1st agree to just listen to each other’s ideas and thoughts about what’s most important to each other. Just listen, without any judgment or interrupting to defend your own viewpoint.
- Wait to respond, remember you’re each in the process of gathering information and learning more for better understanding.
- Repeat back what you heard – Try to reflect back what you think your partner was trying to communicate heard to make sure that you understood them correctly.
- Ask more open-ended questions to clarify anything that was confusing. Dive deeper into what the underlying concerns or priorities are.
- Then switch roles and let the other person listen to understand better
- Create a list each other’s priorities and concerns, again without any judgment or the very natural impulse to try to get your own way.
Surprises are normal
You might be surprised at what’s important to your partner and what you agree and disagree about. Before you try to convince one another to change priorities or timelines, do start with what you both can agree upon and build from there.
It’s important for both of you to feel heard and respected and not to push one person toward pregnancy and parenthood before they’re ready. It’s also important to talk about work/life balance, how families play a role in your lives, finances and your living situation and all the other influences in your lives.
As you dive deeper and talk about your hopes and dreams as parents, here are some questions to help you get started:
- What would you like your life to look like?
- How will you juggle work, school and family and lifestyle with a new baby?
- How’s your health? Your partner’s health?
- What about your living situation?
- How do your finances figure into your decisions?
- What about work or school? Part time, full time? Do either or both of you travel?
- What would you like your future to look like?
- Where does a baby fit in to all of this?
Remember you are a unique couple and you’ll be creating your own unique family. There’s no road map for this or one right or wrong way to do things. You’ll want to partner together, keep open, respectful communication to discover the unique path that you can both feel good about.
And, this kind of healthy communication is beyond fulfilling. It will not only improve all aspects of your relationship, you’ll feel more emotionally connected, loved and understood. According to Dr. John Gottman, who has written extensively about what works in relationships, all of this adds up to a very satisfying life together and as a side bonus, more passionate sex.