Deciding to have a child is a momentous decision and one that should not be taken lightly. Who you choose to have a child with is just as crucial as deciding to have the child in the first place. Here are some questions to ask your partner before having a child with them.
Do you want children? Why?
It’s important not to assume that your partner wants children or that they want them with you. Ask them if they want children and if they do, why? Why is a simple yet revealing question? It will help you understand the rationale behind their decision.
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How will we divide domestic work?
This touches on everything from direct caring for the child to cooking, cleaning, and everything in between. Domestic work is already such a loaded subject among couples and is a minefield you should navigate sooner rather than later. Who will be the primary caregiver? How will you handle nightly feedings? Will you divide up chores or will you have a system where one person takes the morning shift and the other the evening shift? Will either of you give up your job and become a full-time stay-at-home parent?
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What if we have trouble conceiving?
What happens if you have trouble conceiving? What alternate methods are you willing to try? Are you open to adoption? How about in-vitro fertilization? Can you afford it, or should you start saving now? At what point will you begin to try alternative methods? How long will you keep trying whether natural or other options? When will you know to stop?
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What happens if there are abnormalities?
There are a number of different tests for chromosomal abnormalities. What happens if any of the prenatal tests reveal serious medical issues? Would you consider terminating the pregnancy or are you ethically or spiritually opposed to taking such a decision?
Are we psychologically prepared?
Children. They are noisy and expensive and get sick all the time. They ruin your sleep and sex life. And that’s just the highlights. Are you ready for these and the myriad of other changes a baby will come with? Are both of you in a good enough mental headspace to add this new level of stress to your lives? Is this a good time for both of you? How do you currently handle stress? How can you get better?
What kind of parents do we want to be?
It’s important to get on the same page about how you want to raise your children. For example, how will you discipline your child? Does either of you lean on the traditional authoritarian model while the other favours gentle parenting? What are your feelings about screen time? Social media?
What values do you think are critical to teach your child? How about religion? Will you raise them according to a religious tradition or none altogether?
What went well and what didn’t with your childhood?
Talking openly and vulnerably about your childhood can help you not only get to know each other better but also be more deliberate and mindful as you parent together. Past experiences especially from childhood shape us far more than we realize and being conscious of what we think went wrong that we don’t want to replicate and what went right that we’d like to model is helpful.
What are your biggest fears about having children?
Voicing your fears to your partners is incredibly beneficial for you and your partner. These things may be scary to talk about but it’s necessary. Keeping our fears unspoken only further amplifies them, making them huge, and increasing our anxiety and worries.
Do you have name deal breakers?
Do either of you have strong feelings about names and naming conventions? For example, must the child’s surname come from their father? Must it? Must it? 😊
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