There are many things to consider when preparing for the birth of a new baby. You have to figure out some possible names you like, have to figure out how to stock up your nursery, have to debate if you want to know the baby’s sex, and then all this gets even more complicated when trying to figure out things with a partner.
When I discovered I was pregnant it seemed like I’d have plenty of time to figure this all out. Now sitting here 5 months in there is still a lot I need to get done and the time has passed very quickly.
I’ve been doing my best to feel more prepared before and after the birth and have had to navigate some critical discussions with my partner.
Are We Ready For This Child?
If you were planning for your baby, you probably won’t need to even bother with this conversation when you get pregnant. I was on birth control when I became pregnant and the plan with my partner was to start for a kid in 2022 after we got a couple life things out of the way and after the pandemic stuff calmed down a little. So we were planning for a kid only we were hoping to do that a bit further in the future.
Things did not work out that way and I was very upset when my test came out positive. I was not sure how my partner was going to take the news as usually people like to go into things with their full knowledge. So I braced myself for that conversation and I told him the news. He was slow to reply as he was at work and all he replied was for me to drink water and maybe get in bed to rest more. Then he disappeared for a while and I was unsure about things during this time.
He showed up with an offering of prenatal vitamins, some high nutrition snacks, and a couple of assorted goodies he thought would be useful for me. He immediately started charting how we needed to figure out scheduling my medical care and assorted future preparations so it was clear he was gearing up to do this with me. I was glad that the news was received positively and he seemed really happy with the whole venture.
As a woman newly pregnant, this conversation with a partner is often scary. Not every woman will find a partner who is supportive or welcoming of the news. Of all the partner conversations you have this one is probably the most important aside from talking to your partner BEFORE having sexual relations at all. Though this conversation can sometimes be useless as a partner might say one thing going into it all then say another if it actually happens.
You will want to have this conversation as soon as possible because you need to figure out if you are doing the pregnancy alone or not or if you can find other proper supports so you are safe. The earlier you figure out where your partner stands the better you can see your options and how you want to navigate things.
A good conversation to have is to figure out your birth plan. Do you want a home birth or a hospital birth? A midwife or a doctor? Drugs or no drugs?
Your birth plan is an outlined list of what you want to happen during your childbirth. It helps you have more control and helps pass along your wishes to everyone involved and especially the medical staff.
Your birth plan can also be filled with any useful notes and who you desire in the birthing room and who you do not.
Talking about this early helps get things ready ahead of time as you might have a partner who isn’t agreeable to your wants. You might want to do a home birth and your partner may expect you to do a hospital birth. You may want only your husband present and he may have a pushy mother who wants to be present or your own mother may be pressuring to be present.
You will want to set the expectations early because it is your birth.
Discuss the “What If’s”
While crafting the birth plan you will also want to figure out what happens if there should be any complication. We all have this idea that deliver will be smooth sailing and at the end will be a new baby and everyone will be alright. Sometimes birth doesn’t go as we planned.
You do not want to risk an injury in birth or be sitting around too long during a difficult natural birth. Some people require an emergency cesarean birth when they originally planned to have a natural birth. It is always wise to have alternative plans outlined for different situations.
Who Do You Want As Visitors?
After the new baby is out you can expect a lot of family and friends will want to come by. Depending on how you feel you may need to talk to many of them about how often or how soon you expect them around. The first few weeks with a baby is often a test of fortitude anyway as you will be dealing with mixed emotions and sleep deprivation.
Some well-meaning people may even want to help, but having a mother-in-law stay for a few weeks may be annoying for either you or your partner depending on how those relations function. You want to try to set boundaries and plans early so all interested parties can be on the same page going into this exciting and stressful time.
Maternity Leave and Paternity Leave
If you are a working mother it is critical to have your maternity leave set early in advance. It is important to inform your place of employment of when you are going to be absent and figure out if there are any other protections or benefits for your state. With both parties better prepared they can bring in some temp help and you can help with your new baby.
This is when you discuss with your partner how long you plan to take off and figure out your financials. If your job is giving you issues then you need to investigate your parental rights and laws surrounding pregnancy and maternity leave.
This is also a good time for dad to do the same and figure out his paternity leave options.
After Maternity Leave
Many working mothers return to work after maternity leave ends often because they feel they have to in order to cover the costs of living. Other working mothers decide to stay home for the first critical years and either switch to a work at home option or just focus on their child until they start education.
It is important to figure all of these things out with a partner as soon as possible and possibly your employer. Many parents are often shocked at the costs of childcare so those considerations need to go into the after plan as well.
There isn’t really a right or wrong answer when figuring these things out an ultimately it comes down to whatever is good for the family.