Ok, real talk. Having a baby is some level 10 adulting sh*t.
From one very new mama to you, expecting mama, you’re going to want to talk through some important business with your partner before you give birth. And we’re not talking about the baby’s name, your birth plan, or what route to take to the hospital. We’re talking how you want to raise your baby, how you’re going to afford the lifestyle you envisage for your new family, and other light fodder.
Here are five important conversations to consider having with your partner before giving birth:
Topic 1: How the f*ck you’re going to afford this
Babies are damn expensive. Some studies say they cost up to $10,000 in the first year. Add in the fact that you’ll likely be living off one income during those first few weeks and months as you care for your little one, and money is more important than ever. Crunch the numbers with your partner – how will you afford to buy the things you need for your little one (Mumli tip: ask any friends that have had babies what they actually needed, to save yourself some dosh), how much time can you take off work, and perhaps longer term things like how you’ll save to buy or rent a bigger house or apartment if you need extra space.
Topic 2: What raising hell (a.k.a. your little one) looks like
It feels like there are a million books, websites and podcasts out there dedicated to telling you how to settle, play with and feed your baby. But there’s no guidebook for deciding how you want to raise your little one – think the values and morals that you want to instil in them, whether you raise them within a religion, how you’ll reward or discipline them, or what you want them to understand at what age. Research shows that children start to learn emotional cues like empathy during infancy, so it’s up to you and your baby raisin’ partner to work all this out…pretty much from the get go. And I can tell you now you don’t want to be doing it after a sleepless night of cluster feeding.
Topic 3: The roles you, your partner and your village can play
Babies are bloody hard work. We can’t say this enough – ask for and accept help! There’s a reason why they say “it takes a village…”. Think about the roles you and your partner can play in managing your family life. Splitting the load on things like the cleaning, the feeds, settling, caring for your pets and more, can help you both to navigate the demands of parenthood. Also discuss what roles your friends and family can play to help you out – whether that’s getting your siblings to drop over food for the freezer, asking your parents to watch your little one while you and your partner grab a coffee, or having friends pop in to keep you company. They ALL want to help!
Topic 4: How you’ll cope when the going gets tough
There are going to be days where sh*t gets real. You’ve had two hours’ sleep, you’ve run out of chips, your cat has shat in the living room, your back f*cking hurts from holding your little one…and, speaking of the little monster, they’ve been screaming for four hours straight.
Whether it’s postnatal anxiety or depression, a sh*tty day, or all of the above, it’s important to chat to your partner about what you’re going to do when things get tough. It might look like a code word for “OMFG I’VE HAD ENOUGH”. It might look like a list of people or organisations to call for professional help. Or it might look like being clear about the things that help you to relax. Chat about it. And as we said above, ‘it takes a village…’ – ask for help!
Topic 5: What the future looks like
From day one, your baby is going to kick your a*s into doing some serious goal setting because they are going to grow up and they are going to have needs. Like education. A bedroom of their own. Friends and family around them to run wild with. Discuss with your partner where you see yourselves in five years. What do care and schooling look like for your kiddo? Are you returning to work? Are you thinking of having more kids (even though your vag shudders to think about it right now)? Even if you don’t nut it all out now, rip that bandaid off and get started.
Mamas – what did you find helpful to discuss with your partner before giving birth? Let us know in the comments.