Having a baby is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. Kids can change everything, from your sleep schedule to your social calendar.
It can be the most rewarding and fulfilling thing you do – but it can also be the most challenging. That’s why it’s important to give it some thought and planning before taking the plunge into parenthood.
To help you get started, we’ve listed 10 important things you may want to discuss before having a baby.
1. Why do you want to have kids?
Chances are you’ve discussed when you want to have kids and maybe even how many you’d like to have, but it’s important to consider the why, too.
This simple question can start a deep and meaningful conversation that’ll likely have you learning a lot more about each other. It can also help you determine whether right now is the right time or not.
2. What if we can’t get pregnant right away?
How long are you willing to try for a baby before considering other options? Are you both open to fertility treatments or adoption? How many rounds of IVF would you be willing to try, if any?
It’s important to have these difficult conversations and ensure you’re on the same page.
3. What are your biggest fears about having a baby?
It’s normal to have some worries and fears around raising a human. Worrying about your child and whether you’re doing a good job comes with the territory of being a parent.
Talking about your fears before baby comes along can help you address them proactively – or at least share the load with someone you trust.
4. How are we going to share parenting duties?
From nappy changes to late-night feeds, babies come with a long list of daily to-dos for their parents. Failing to discuss how you’ll divide parenting duties fairly may lead to some resentment down the track.
It’s always best to talk it out before you’re arguing over whose turn it is to get up with bub in the middle of the night.
5. How do we want to discipline?
It’s a parent’s job to teach their child right from wrong. No matter how well behaved your child is, you’ll likely have to discipline them in some way one day.
It’s important to present a united front with your partner to ensure boundaries are clear and consistent, so you’ll need to agree on appropriate consequences/punishments for misbehaving.
6. How involved do we want our families to be?
How do you feel about your in-laws popping around unannounced every day? Are you happy for relatives to spend hours passing your baby around the living room every weekend? It’s normal for families to get excited over a new baby, but an endless loop of visitors can be draining.
Discuss how involved you’d like your families and friends to be, and set boundaries early on. For example, you might tell your loved ones to text or call to ask if it suits instead of just dropping in whenever they see fit.
7. How will we keep our relationship strong?
It’s no secret that having a baby can cause some new issues in a relationship. Accepting that the road might be rocky for a while is one thing, but making a commitment to nurture your relationship during the tough times is another.
This could be in the form of a monthly date night, an annual romantic weekend getaway, or an hour dedicated to child-free chat after baby’s bedtime.
We’ve listed some of the common relationship problems that come with having a baby and how to overcome them in this blog post.
8. What will we do for childcare?
One of the more practical things to consider before having a baby is who will look after it – not just now, but in the years before school starts.
What kind of maternity/paternity leave entitlements do you have? Will one person leave the workforce and stay at home? Will you put your child in day care or hire a nanny? These nitty-gritty details need to be nutted out in advance to ensure you’re not scrambling for solutions.
9. What beliefs and values do we want to pass on?
Beyond teaching your child how to be kind and respectful, there might be other beliefs and values you’d like to impart. Do you want to raise them within a particular religion? Are you passionate about teaching them about gender equality? Is it important to you that they’re exposed to people from all walks of life?
Kids are like sponges, and what they see and hear in the home can have a huge impact on their beliefs and values. Consider the things you want to intentionally include in their upbringing.
10. Who will care for our child if anything happens to us?
It may not be a pleasant topic, but it’s something every parent/caregiver needs to consider. And more than that – you should make it official with a written will. The peace of mind of securing your child’s future will be worth the temporary discomfort.
Many individuals and couples find counselling helpful when they’re thinking about making a big life decision like having a baby. Our qualified counsellors can help you explore your feelings and concerns in a safe and supportive environment.
You can call 1300 364 277 to book a counselling session in person, over the phone, or via Zoom video call.