Expecting? If so, it’s probably time to have some serious conversations with your partner.
But what should you discuss before your baby’s arrival?
We spoke with Ashley Ayala, a parent coach and licenced marriage and family therapist to get her take on the three conversations you need to have before your baby is born.
Keep reading to learn more!
Why Communication is Important
Ashely said it’s important to communicate your expectations, goals, and fears.
“I am a strong believer that communication is the key to connection,” she said. “When we share our thoughts, feelings, values, and expectations with others, we create opportunities for understanding and change.”
Going from a party of two to a family of three over night is a big milestone, but that doesn’t mean you and your partner will have the exact same views when it comes to raising your little one.
“We come with our own childhood experiences (both the good and not so good), which helps shape the way we want to raise our own child,” Ashley said. “By sharing these goals, fears, expectations, and so on with your partner, you are learning more about how your partner imagines life with a baby and creating meaningful conversations to explore.”
Related: How to Create a Family Manifesto
Conversation #1: Parenting Roles
Ashely advised couples lay out what each person’s role as it relates to:
- Child rearing
- Household expectations
Will one parent take on the brunt of child-rearing? Do you plan to put your child in daycare, or will one parent stay home? What household chores will each person be responsible for?
Ashley said to hash these things out before the arrival of your baby.
Conversation #2: Postpartum Care
While exciting, the postpartum period can be stressful. Ashley said parents should identify who can help cook, clean, and offer emotional support during this time.
It might also be worthwhile to discuss responsibilities during the postpartum period. If the mom plans to breastfeed, can the dad take on changing diapers and making sure mom has water and snacks on hand?
Having a plan helps eliminate tense discussions while everyone is exhausted and overwhelmed.
Conversation #2: Settle on Hot Topics
How do you feel about piercing your baby’s ears or circumcisions? What about religious ceremonies?
“Unless these are discussed and expectations are reviewed, they can bring up tension and upset after the baby is born,” Ashley said. “Now can be a great time to sort out where each person stands.”
How to Start the Conversation
Should you tackle these topics all at once? Ashley said yes.
“I love a good sit down to cover all the topics at once,” she said, “However, it's always good to go back and re-discuss any areas that were unclear, became too heated, or needed further discussion.”
She also said it can be helpful to take a time out if conversations get too tense or stressful.
“By making this caveat before you go into a discussion, each party understands that when it’s called, a break needs to occur and the convo can be revisited at a later date,” Ashley said.
Lastly, Ashley noted that even trying to have these conversations is starting your parenting journey on the right foot.
“Anyone who is sitting down and even attempting to have these conversations with their partner are already showing that they are strong partners & setting themselves up for being amazing parents,” she said.
To Sum it Up
- It’s important to communicate your parenting expectations, goals, and fears.
- Parents should discuss …
- Parenting and household roles
- Postpartum care and plans
- Hot topics, such as religious preferences and circumcision
- Ashley advised you have these discussions before your baby is born.
Ashley Ayla is a certified parent coach and licensed marriage and family therapist. She specializes in helping families with children ages 0-12 and has worked in schools as well in the clinical setting.
She developed The Modern Parent, LLC after the birth of her second child.
You can follow Ashley on Instagram at @the_modern_parent.