With a baby on the way, there are a few big conversations you need to have with your partner, and they’re not the ones that revolve around prams or paint colours. These are the important rehearsal conversations, the ones that decide how you’re going to play the parent game. And you both need to be on the same side … before baby arrives. Here we go:
1. What’s going to happen in the delivery room?
In those last few months leading up to your due date, make sure your partner is fully on board with how you want to give birth. Sure, surprises happen in the delivery room, and it may not shake out the way you expect, but if you can both at least have a basic plan, then your partner can advocate for you at go-time. Going to your pregnancy checkups together, and attending some prenatal classes as a couple can help you both prepare for the realities of d-day.
2. Do we have a name?
You’d be surprised how contentious the name-choice process can be. You might have been dreaming of a daughter called Chloe, but then a dark look washes over your partner’s face. Turns out their ex-girlfriend was called Chloe. Eek! Happens every time. If you can, draw up a list of names while you’re still pregnant and make it a working document. Maybe the perfect name will come to you when you meet your baby for the first time. But just in case it doesn’t, you’ll be prepared.
3. Can we talk about money?
Every couple will inevitably have to do some number crunching before baby arrives. There’s the basic reality that one of you will have to be home with baby for at least a little while, and then when you do return to work, how much is daycare going to cost? These are all details that are different for everyone, so take a long look at your maternity leave benefits, government rebates, and living expenses, and have an honest conversation about how you’re going to make ends meet when two becomes three.
5. Who’s cooking?
Believe it or not, when you’re home with a newborn, the hardest part of the day is often around 5 o’clock, when the baby witching hour sets in and everyone’s suddenly hungry for dinner. So be honest with each other – who’s going to be planning the meals, buying the groceries, prepping dinner and washing up every night? Basic stuff, I know, but you’ll be grateful you’ve made some pre-baby vows when you’re stuck on the couch breastfeeding and there’s nothing in the fridge, and voila, your partner walks in with dinner. Small things make your day when you’re home with a baby.
6. What about the cleaning?
Just like the cooking, the chores have a habit of getting the better of you in those early days. Everyone talks about never having time to have a shower when you’re a new mum – well add to that never having time to do the washing, or the sweeping or the anything. Not everyone can cope with living in a messy chaotic house, so nail this one down with your partner. Divvy up the chores, get a good to-do-list happening, and you can skip the domestic squabbles later down the line.
4. And are we doing the naughty corner?
Discipline. I know, you’re not even thinking that far when you’re pregnant or holding a freshly-minted newborn. But soon enough, your baby blossoms into a toddler and there’ll be times when you need a united discipline front. This conversation can open up a lot of personal feelings and memories about your own childhood, and how you were raised. That’s why it’s best to talk about it now, so you can figure out your own approach ahead of time, and agree on the nicest possible naughty corner in the house.
7. And one last thing … sex?
Some couples get right back on it, many don’t. Getting your sex life back can take time after having a baby. It really is worth talking honestly about it, and setting some realistic expectations for those first six months (or let’s be honest, the first year).
If you’ve found an answer to all those seven questions as a couple, you’re ready to step up to the starting line. Good luck!
Any other thoughts about what expectant parents should be talking about? Let us know.