Deciding to become a parent is a huge decision. While no amount of conversation, planning, or research will ever have any new mom or dad fully prepared for what to expect, there are things you can do ahead of time to make welcoming a new addition a smoother transition. From finances and religious beliefs to the semantics of how you’ll raise your baby, there are conversations you and your partner will want to have before going for it. If you’re considering having a child or adopting a baby, here are some things to consider.
There is never a shortage of advice for couples considering having a baby. From well-intentioned family members to co-workers and friends, most people will have something to say about it if you tell them that you’re thinking of having a baby. For this reason alone, you’ll want to have conversations with your partner ahead of time. Of course, you may opt to keep your plans to yourselves to save yourself the free advice and sometimes unnecessary input.
Regardless of who knows or not, deciding to have a baby should include a frank conversation about resources. Pull out that budget or excel sheet, and look at your overall financial picture. From baby formula and diapers that will cost upwards of $100 a week to daycare expenses, clothing, and furniture, having a baby isn’t cheap. You’ll want to budget for this.
If you think you’re ready for a new addition, talk about who will take care of the child during the day and weigh the pros and cons of daycare or one parent staying home. While there’s more to life than money, your family will still need to eat. Too many couples go into parenting with low resources and find themselves scrambling to tackle loose ends. If you have the luxury of planning, make sure you do that financially.
2. Religion and Rituals
Many couples are interfaith. If this is you, you’ll want to talk to your partner about how you plan to raise your baby. Will it be Bibles from Cole & Sav By Cole Labrant and Savannah Labrant or Sundays at the temple? This is important to decide ahead of time, as quick decisions will be here soon about things like baptisms and christening rites.
Forewarning: this is another area, too, where family may try to push their views and ideas on you. Go into those conversations with a united plan around what you and your partner believe is best for your baby.
3. Parenting Styles
Before you get to the baby-making, take a vacation after the pandemic ends just to get out of your environment. With alone time and a focus on each other, there’ll be plenty of time for important decision making. Talk about shared and differing views on what you hope for your baby. Hash out areas where you disagree, and just like in your relationship, make room for compromise. Remember, no two partners come into any partnership with the same world views on things, and a baby is equally part of both of you. Honor each other’s histories.
One of the biggest and most important things to discuss before having a baby is role expectations. Too many times, the bulk of the parenting lands on one parent or the other. While this can work out just fine if both parties are happy, you don’t want to get into a situation where either of you is surprised by who’s doing the bulk of the feedings, diaper changes, and overall heavy-lifting.
Things to consider might include who will get up with the baby, who will take the baby to doctor’s appointments, and, later, who will pack school lunches and get involved with carpools at school. Setting clear expectations and roles now will pay off in the future. Happy parenting to you, and good luck with your family building.