Deciding to start a family is not like it used to be.
Once upon a time it was marry young, immediately start family, mom stays home raising, baking, and cleaning while dad is working the desk job.
Times are much more complicated these days with both parents working and sharing household duties, most of us have established careers or are on a certain path and birth control is the norm (or must). Making that step from just the two of you to family is huge with important issues to discuss and agree upon before trying to make that leap.
Here are 7 issues to discuss with your partner before ditching the birth control:
1.) Difficulty Conceiving
What if you and your partner are ready and wanting a baby, but you aren't able to get pregnant? The two of you need to figure out what steps you are each willing to take in order to become parents - fertility treatment, adoption, surrogacy - and agree on them.
Perhaps you are fantasizing about an all natural, in home birth that might completely freak your partner out or vice versa. Who do you want to be there when the baby is born? I'm a big believer in the person delivering the baby should decide how she wants to deliver and who she wants in the room, but it's only fair to discuss your wishes beforehand so you can be on the same page.
3.) How Many Kids
Seems so simple, right? What if you always dreamed of having 3 kids and your partner never wants more than one? Not so simple anymore, so have this talk.
4.) Dividing Parental Duties
This might seem like a no brainer, you are picturing your partner giving bottles and changing diapers. That picture is in your head, unless you discuss, as in say it out loud, your partner will never know. It's also not reasonable for one parent to do it all, even if the mom is off on maternity leave and exclusively breast feeding. There are still diapers to be changed, laundry to wash and baby to bath and all those other household responsibilities. Discussing who can do what, even making a chart will help with resentment later on (and there will be resentment if one person is doing nearly all the work!)
5.) Challenges Of Pregnancy And Post Partum
Let's face it, pregnancy and post delivery are tough emotionally and physically. You've got raging hormones, which can make you very sensitive and seemingly unreasonable, but you ARE reasonable! Your body changes and you feel self conscious about this drastic weight gain, not to mention the all over pains you experience on a daily basis. Basically your body is taken over to create this baby and you don't get it back after the baby is delivered because now you are the food source and everything is flabby and hangs differently. Yep, it's true so make sure you and your partner are talking about dealing with these changes. Also, what if you end up on bed rest? Will your partner be able to take over all responsibilities having to do with the house?
6.) Gender Preference
Are you willing to raise a girl if all you ever wanted was a boy? You don't really get to choose what sex your baby will be so make sure you and the partner will love and adore whatever the two of you create.
7.) Support System
Who will be there to help after the baby is born? Do you have family living close or coming to visit? Do you both really want a houseguest for the first month (or two, gasp!) of your new life as a family?
This list is really about opening your relationship up to discussing issues that will come up, perhaps not all, but many. If they are not discussed, preferably before it's actually an issue, then resentment builds and arguments will follow. So really just see this as relationship building and gearing you both up of for the wild and unexpected ride that parenting is. Since there's really nothing that can totally prepare you, might as well reduce some arguments!