Having a child will change all aspects of your life, including your marriage. It is important to be on the same page about the changes you will encounter. Discuss these important topics with your spouse to ensure you are on the same page. If you aren’t, consider seeking some professional help prior to having a baby.
Expectations about Roles
It’s very important that you discuss your expectations about your roles before the birth of a baby. Do you anticipate doing half of the work and your partner doing the other half? Do you think you’ll be able to do the majority of the childrearing while your spouse has a full-time job? Discussing your expectations can help clarify what you want your life to be like after having a child.
Unfortunately, many couples struggle after the birth of a baby due to disagreements about the added responsibilities of having a child. Couples argue about having too much work to do. Resentment can build when one person feels they are doing more than their share. Also, lack of time together as a couple can create further strain on the marriage.
Talk openly about what you want your role to be. Also, discuss your expectations of your spouse. Talk about how you will handle the added stressors and the increased responsibility of taking care of a child.
Any disagreements you have about your extended family will become magnified after the birth of a baby. For example, do your in-laws annoy you already? See what happens when you have their grandchild. It is important to resolve any issues you have with extended family before having a baby.
For example, maybe you think your mother is great. Your spouse, however, thinks she’s annoying. Your mother wants to come for three weeks after the baby is born to help out. Then what happens? It is important to discuss how much help you want or are willing to accept from extended family.
Also, discuss the role you hope that extended family will take in your baby’s life. Do you envision your child spending weekends at Grandma’s house? Or do want your child to only see her once in a great while? Discussing your expectations up front about the boundaries and limits you want to set can prevent a lot of headaches down the road.
Impact a Child Will Have on Your Marriage
How will you respond to the impact that raising a child will have on your marriage? Do you envision still spending evenings out as a couple? Do you think you will still spend a lot of time with friends? Or do you imagine that you will stay home with the baby and all of your activities will revolve around child friendly activities?
Sorting this out early on is helpful. Obviously, this may change as the baby grows up. However, having a plan to help keep your marriage healthy after having a baby is important. For example, will you plan once a month date nights to make sure you still have some time together? Will you plan a weekend away at least twice a year? These sorts of things can help ensure that you are still making your marriage a priority.
Discuss how you will respond to the added financial strain of raising a child. It is important to have a plan in place ahead of time to make sure you can handle the financial aspect of raising a child. Discuss how much money you anticipate spending as well as saving in the long-term. Do you want to save for your child’s college fund? Do you want to save for a trip to Disney World? It is important to have a handle on your budget prior to having a baby.
It is also important to discuss some topics that may not be pleasant to discuss. For example, do you have life insurance? Do you have a will? You will need to make sure that your family will be taken care of even under the worst of circumstances.
Although you won’t need to be doing any disciplining for quite a while, it is important to discuss your parenting style and discipline values now. For example, do you believe in spanking? Do you think time outs are a good strategy? Discussing these sorts of basics about your discipline beliefs is a good start.
Also, talk about the role you expect to take in your child’s life. Do you think you will want your child to play sports, learn a musical instrument, and do well in school? Or do you value your child being a free spirit who can explore and find his own interests in life? Discussing how you plan to make sure your child grows up healthy can ensure that you and your spouse share the same values about parenting.