Having a baby is life-changing. This is why it's crucial for parents-to-be to discuss important matters before birth — sometimes even before pregnancy.
Why before birth?
Sometimes it can be a little difficult to make rational, logical decisions when you’re drowning in happiness, doctor's check-ups, sleep deprivation, stress, and just the general awe of having this beautiful being in your arms.
There are a lot of emotions at play during such this delicate time, so complicated discussions and decisions often take a back seat. So don't wait. Before birth, parents should already discuss important matters concerning the child, rather than discuss them (or forget to) after the baby is born.
Here are some discussions and decisions you must tackle before birth.
Important discussions before birth
1. Is the timing right?
Before you even get pregnant, it’s always good to consider whether the timing is right for a baby. Do you have your own house? A stable income that could accommodate a new member of the family? Are you emotionally and psychologically ready? Are you healthy?
Also, consider where your partner is right now. Is he or she ready, too? Do the both of you still want to do some things before having a baby?
2. Parental leave
As parents, you’ll have to consider your employment situation and benefits before birth — even before deciding to have a baby, actually. Ask yourself, how much time off do you plan to take when your child is born?
It’s so easy to make a vague decision about parental leave, but please, for your sake, have a concrete plan. It's not just the time off either. You also need to consider the steps in which you return to work.
How much work do you engage in while you’re on leave? Do you pay undivided attention to your child or multi-task? How will your partner react to your multitasking? These are important considerations before birth.
3. Arranging visiting schedules
Your friends and family will surely celebrate the birth of your child. And celebrations mean getting a lot of visits for the baby. Coordinating all these visits isn’t easy. Trust us, it can be a challenge when you have a newborn in your arms and a C-section wound in your belly.
Before birth, you can ask a trusted friend or a family member to help you out. You can delegate responsibilities to them, so it’s important to sort these out before birth. If you trust your friends and family, let them help.
And remember, you can always choose to not have any visits at all. People will respect your decision.
4. Night duties
It’s a well-known fact that having a baby will make you lose sleep. But you and your partner don’t have to lose sleep together. You can alternately have “night time duty” to take care of your baby at odd hours.
This is important to discuss before birth because how couples split night shifts is always different. Being on the same page and agreeing on something is vital so there will be no hard feelings between the two of you. In addition, the workload should not rest on the shoulders of the new mom alone.
5. Parenting Duties
We’re putting parenting duties here separate from night duties because it’s a wholly different thing from tending to your baby at night.
It’s great to split responsibilities between parents, since eager fathers can be more involved in taking care of the child, and tired mothers can rest more easily.
So before birth, discuss who can make meals and how often, who washes the dishes, does the groceries, cleans the house, change the diapers, and all the little details. You don’t want to get into a “but I did it last time!” argument just because you didn’t fix parenting duties before birth.
Now depending on you and your partner’s culture, this may be an important discussion. Also, if the baby’s a boy. That’s really important.
The decision to circumcise an infant can either be a personal reason or a health reason. But whatever the reason, this should be discussed before birth in the event that you get a baby boy.
Religion is a delicate subject, but as parents, we usually want to instill our own children with the same values and beliefs. However, since religion is intensely personal, your decisions may be different from others. Will you raise your children in your faith? Or will your children be given the freedom to choose what they believe in? This can be a difficult discussion to have, especially for couples with different religions.
One thing worth extra consideration is whether you’d like your child to become an ethically moral person who is kind, compassionate, and possesses empathy for other people. This consideration takes precedence over specific beliefs.
So sit down and discuss this with your partner. Be open to compromise. The bottom line is, you should only provide your child with an understanding of various religions and give them the freedom to choose, as long as the ethical bedrock is there.
It's all about teamwork
Being a parent is difficult and nobody should make it any more difficult than it already is. A parent's difficulty can become a child's difficulty early on if both parents aren't communicating and working together towards a common goal.
So, whenever you may be making the big decision, make sure you're on the same page. Talk it out. Things are not going to be easy, but it would be nice for each of you to know that you have each other's back.
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