It’s the million dollar question.
How to baby-proof your relationship?
You’ve conceived and your baby is on the way but how do you know that the love between you and your partner will last and you will become a parenting A team?
These are my insights into helping the journey to motherhood be more loving, joyful and connected.
1. Be realistic
Most women I coach and support are intelligent and well educated and according to a recent article in the Guardian our dream is to be independent, loved, creative and appreciated, but most importantly, financially secure on our own terms.
We are often conceiving our children when we have established careers and possibly out of marriage (which may come later) meaning we are used to running our own show, leading a team, feeling confident in our day-to-day life and abilities and enjoying our freedom.
When a baby comes along there can often be a conflict of emotions and open communication with your partner about how you truly feel can be vital for creating the life you want as a mother, lover and other. Outdated stereotypes whilst outdated can still have a powerful pull and speaking up about your needs and ensuring you create the shared parenting partnership your heart desires rather than what society (or your friends and family expect) takes effort and commitment
2. Be honest
Speaking your mind is not always easy especially when your emotions are raw post birth and your thoughts and feelings can be more conflicted – so making time for discussions pre-birth is preferable. A recent article Single While Female from a Women in Work series by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant on Why Women Stay Quiet at Work highlights the natural tendency that women have not to speak up and I also see this in homes.
I have been guilty of this myself, choosing to keep quiet and holding back on expressing my deepest desires and in my experience it only leads to resentment and heartache. Our needs matter and we need to be open and courageous to speak our truth – even if that is to recognise you don’t feel as you thought you would.
3. Be open to support
There are all sorts of support groups for couples which can help you and your partner as you navigate new parenthood including :-
Reach out to friends, listen to others and then trust your own instincts with what feels right to you.
4. Recognise it’s a work in progress
According to The Fatherhood Institute, the UK’s fatherhood think-and-do tank men are just as hardwired to care for their newborn – albeit in a different way to mothers.
There is absolutely no magic ingredient women have when it comes to being parents.
Women do not have to take on the lions share of raising a child unless they choose to. Men are more than capable of stepping up and women have as much right to developing their full potential as a man, with or without a child but this is new territory for you as a couple and it’s ok to figure it out as you go along.
5. Lighten up
Parenting isn’t perfect and neither are you.
Enjoy the process, celebrate the smiles and remember the love that brought you and your partner together.