Having a child is a huge, life-changing event, and often requires a great deal of thought and planning. It impacts relationships, stretches finances, can impact career opportunities, may require moving house, and can impact friends and extended family. There are many things that couples need to consider when looking at taking the next step to have their first child or add to their tribe.
Increasingly, people are delaying starting a family, with financial pressures being one of the main concerns. Added to this, increased gender equality in the workplace, coupled with people living and working longer, means that women are increasingly able to have careers and families in ways that weren’t possible before.
One of the key elements for a successful transition into parenthood is making sure both members of the couple are on the same page, and able to communicate effectively with one another. Communication with other children already in the unit, family and friends is also important, as having a support network is key.
How to Improve Communication
- Recognize areas of concern
Behaviour like passive aggressiveness is a very common way of avoiding conflict. It allows individuals to express their frustration at the situation without addressing the root cause of the issue. This can lead to aggressiveness or simply avoiding each other in the long run, neither of which is conducive to a strong relationship.
- Process feelings
It is easy to get riled up and emotional in the heat of the moment, but this rarely leads to positive outcomes. By taking time to process the emotion it can be easier to speak in a level-headed way about what has happened, why you are upset, and what can be done to resolve it.
Timing is key to resolving conflict. Giving a heads up can mean that the other party doesn’t feel ambushed, as well as giving them some time to consider things. Additionally, trying to bring something serious up when one or both are tired, ill, or busy is bound to increase conflict and resentment rather than resolve anything.
- Focus on solutions
In playing the blame game and pointing fingers, people set up a fight that is them against their partner, when in fact it should be about the partnership against the problem, and what can be done together to resolve it.
Other things to do to prepare for a baby
- Manage debt
Begin by cutting debt (or at least making it managed).
- Maternity and paternity leave
Speaking to HR about parental leave options will also help plan out the first few months, who will look after the new arrival and what childcare will be needed. Life insurance and a will should also be in place.
- Get the right gear
Babies may be small, but they certainly need a lot of additional stuff that non-parents won’t have, and those with older children may still have (but need to check they are still safe for use). This could include:
- Car seat
- Change bag
- Age-appropriate toys
- Breast pump and bottles
- Prepare the house
Baby proofing the house is a key part of keeping a baby safe, especially once they are crawling. This can include:
- Covering sockets
- Tidying cables away
- Securing furniture and heavy items
- Using a baby gate to secure stairs and fireplaces
- Storing small items on higher shelves out of reach
- Padding any sharp corners
- Adding child locks to doors, windows, cupboards and drawers
Despite all the best laid plans, there is rarely, if ever, the perfect time to have a child. Sometimes, the desire for a child outweighs the rest, and as long as would-be parents are aware of the potential challenges that lie ahead, and prepare where possible, having a child can be a wonderous thing!