Having a baby is exciting and very much at the same time, terrifying. All sorts of new questions brew in your mind. How will my body change? What sort of mother or a father will I be? What will the baby be like?
Culturally, we’ve done an excellent job at preparing for the baby in terms of their basic needs. Nursery? Check. Diapers? Check. Hospital Bag? Check. For many, we feel prepared when the nursery is done, the registry is complete and the crib is built.
Interestingly, many couples enter this transition with very little knowledge that a baby will cause (for some) tremendous stress on their relationship. Your relationship will go through an entire new transition, together.
As a couples therapist, I work with couples to meet this transition with tools, resources, and also, help them prepare in advance for what the transition will bring. Below are some questions you can your partner can discuss:
- If my relationship changes, and I am unhappy, how can I communicate this to my partner?
- How do my partner and I handle division of labor? How do I communicate when I’m feeling overloaded?
- If I’m upset with my partner, and sleep deprived, what is the best way to communicate this?
- If we were to stop having sex for several months, how will my partner handle it?
- How do I communicate resentments?
- How do I envision my life changing when I have a baby?
- What freedoms will I give up that I have now? What will I miss the most?
- If my support network were change, who can I relay on?
- If I (or my spouse) encounter post-partum depression, how will I know?
- Do I have trouble asking for help?
- How do I handle stress?
- How do I take care of myself when I’m feeling burned out?
- If I’m really tired, or can’t do something for whatever reason, do I have trouble saying “no?”
- Do I like to control things? Or am I a perfectionist? If things are out of control, how do I handle it?
- How did my parents parent me?
- What are a few things I hated as a kid, and a few things I loved?
- What is my parenting style? What is my partners?
- What traditions do I want to carry over from my childhood?
- When I’m at my worst, who am I? How do I come back from it?
- When I think of the kind of mother or father I want to be, what comes to mind? Why is that important to you? If my partner is doing something that is in direct conflict with that idea, how can we talk about it?
-- Erika Boissiere, MFT is a the founder of TRISF, and a relationship and individual therapist in San Francisco, CA.