Finding out your pregnant is a blessed time, but also life changing event! Even if the pregnancy is planned, it is likely you will each have your own fears. There are so many little factors, and big factors to consider, everything from whether to birth the baby at the hospital or at home, to how much to spend on the nursery, but this shouldn’t be a taxing time, this is a beautiful blessing and one you can both share with joy.
First things first though, each pregnancy is different, and all the circumstances around pregnancies are different. It’s important to prioritize things with your own situation in mind. Obviously if you are happily married, concern over your marital status would not likely be a priority, however your relationship evolving and changing may be. Remember this is an incredible time in your lives, sit down together and write down fears you have, or fears you are worried your loved one has. A few examples that were on our list were: money, baby’s health, mother’s health, the nursery, discipline, health insurance, and our marital status. Whatever you list are the priorities you and your loved one are taking on. Each one of these should be addressed in its own right. The list I’m providing are simply things my fiance` and I discussed or things I wish we would have discussed during our pregnancy.
Money: This is a topic that most people will put on their list so its a good place to start. A lot of questions come up when you start to realize that another mouth to feed is not just about food. The average newborn will go through 6 – 10 diapers a day. A pack of Huggies Size 1 diapers (count 168) is roughly $40, assuming your baby goes through 8 a day that’s 21 days of diapers for $40, nearly $2 a day. Add that to the wipes, the clothes, the sheets, the formula, the list goes on and on. It’s no wonder money comes up as a big concern to new parents to be.
Establishing a good budget now will help you from snowballing out of control later. Plus – now it is likely that while you are tired from the pregnancy you are both sleeping more than 3-4 hours a night and you will have clearer heads.
The Savings Account: Another thing to consider doing now is to open a savings account for your little one. Discuss whether it is important or not to you and your spouse, discuss when the account will be opened for your child. Is it there for school only? For that perfect prom dress or wedding dress? To help him buy a house? Perhaps to help him open a business? Or perhaps that account is for all his expenses from diapers to medical costs to school and beyond. You very well might think its there for only post-graduation life changes and your significant other may think its there to help decorate the nursery!
Also who is contributing to this account? Just Dad? Just Mom? Is Grandma Dee as well? Anyone who contributes likely has an opinion, so you may consider adding Grandma Dee in on the conversation if she will make any sort of significant contribution.
Health Insurance: Is labor and delivery included? Are baby wellness checks? Will baby be on mommy’s insurance or daddy’s? Do you need Medicaid? Is your girlfriend even able to be covered on your plan? Its a good idea to get a copy of your insurance plan, read through it, and discuss it in the first trimester, if you aren’t worrying about baby’s coverage then you can let yourself think on other things. After baby is born who’s plan will the baby be on?
The Birth Plan: Is it important to you to have a home birth? Does your partner agree? Are you very opposed to Narcotics or Epidurals? Would you like an OB or a Midwife? Will you try for a natural birth, C-Section, or water birth? While these are important things to consider also keep in mind that a doctor, OB, midwife, etc, can and often does override birth plans, and that while its important to know the options available to you, one should never dedicate themselves solely to it.
Baby’s Health: At what point do you bag the “natural birth” in favor of the epidural or the c-section? Will Mom not be allowed to touch alcohol and cigarettes while pregnant? (I’m shocked how many arguments I’ve heard about mother’s being upset because their spouse won’t let them drink a glass of wine with dinner.) Will mom be allowed to take medicinal drugs or will you opt out for fear of what can later be found? Is the prenatal vitamin something your husband feels strongly about?
Another thing to consider, if you are in a state where its allowed, is if there is some sign of deformation will you consider terminating the pregnancy or sustain it as long as you can?
Mother’s Health: This ties in closely to the baby’s health in many ways. At what point do you chose drugs, or not? Will you try breathing exercises? After the baby is born how long will Mom take before she goes back to work, six weeks? Never? Will Dad stay home the first week to help? I hated to discuss this possibility with my fiance`, but: if the mother is somehow incapacitated and cannot make the decision on her own should the father try to save the baby first or the mother?
Father’s Input: Does dad want to be involved every step of the way? Does he want to be sitting next to you interviewing OB’s and Midwives? Will he help pay for the costs of the hospital bills? Will he pay for everything? Does Dad want to name the baby? Does he want to stay home with the baby?
The Nursery, The Baby Gear: One of the biggest arguments I’ve been privy to is when to get the baby gear. Many dad’s I know insist on waiting until that very last shower before buying a single outfit. Why buy a bunch of clothing when all you get for your shower is clothing and you need things like that Diaper Genie, a baby bath, towels, etc. However many mother’s I know feel that they miss out on a key part of their bonding during pregnancy because they didn’t get the opportunity to “Nest.” How much money will you spend on the nursery? Does it need a full set of paint and all the trimmings or can you just put a crib and set of drawers in it and be happy? Does Mom loose her crafting station or Dad loose his man cave?
Birthing Class: I’m surprised by how emotional some people, and myself, get over birthing classes. While I was pregnant I insisted that my fiance` come with me to each of 3 different classes. Is it important to you? If you have no experience with babies but your spouse does would you prefer to take the class or prefer to learn from your spouse? Is the cost too much for you? Would you prefer to hire a private tutor, if its available in your area? Would you like to go just for the social opportunities because you don’t know a single person with a baby in a 50 mile radius?
Baby Naming: Odds are you don’t need to be told to discuss this, but it must be mentioned. Does your family have a tradition of naming the baby after the grandfather/mother? Does Dad assume its his right to name the baby? Do you just love Eloise but your spouse can’t stand it?
Home Life: This topic will be one that you come back to time and time again, long after your baby girl is born and even into school. But here’s some things to consider now:
After baby is born who will take care of him? Will you have a nanny, daycare, or will you be a stay-at-home mom or dad? At what point do you decide that the stay-at-home parent should go back to work: kindergarten, when finances are too tight, never?
What religion? Will your baby be baptized or blessed?
What sort of values would you like to instill in your child? Discipline, responsibility? How will you work on those? Is it important for you to have a strict set of rules established? Maybe you want to set up a specific schedule for diaper changes, feedings, bathes, bedtime stories, or maybe you are a parent that would prefer to let the baby dictate what they need when. Do you believe in corporal punishment? Grounding? Paying fines?
Marital Status: Is this something that’s important to one or both of you? If the pregnancy is not planned will you “do the right thing” or will you work a sharing plan into effect? How will your family take the news? Is Grandma going to be very frustrated? Does that matter? Will you get married before the baby is born? After?
Love-Making, Partner Relationship: Will you schedule times to make love? Will you only make love when the baby is in her nursery and alone? Will you take a weekly date? Will you not make love in the third trimester by choice? (Sometimes doctors will recommend you stop intercourse during pregnancy.) Are certain positions less or more comfortable to you or your spouse? Would you prefer to do this but not that? How soon after the baby is born will you or your lover need to resume love making?
There are many topics of discussion that come up with pregnancy, I hope that you both have the open minds for having these discussions, and that any other fears you wrote down are discussed and brought forth. In any life changing event there will be fears on both sides, remember that you have a partner to share these feelings with.
A side note: The terms spouse, significant other, lover, or partner are used simply as a term for the Father or Mother of your baby, it is not meant to be a prejudice, slight, or hurtful term for said party.