Sure, you're expecting your body to go through a few big changes when you get pregnant, but what surprised me most is how much your marriage takes a beating once you have a bun in the oven. But, fear not; thanks to a new parenting trend you and your partner can avoid the things couples fight about most during pregnancy and baby's first year and save your marriage by drawing up a pregnancy contract.
In my own home, there were things I admit I was resentful about during those time periods, but ultimately it was my own fault. My husband will do anything I ask him to do for me and our children, but just because I didn't communicate my needs doesn't mean he's not willing. So it got me thinking: wouldn't parenting be a whole heck of a lot easier to enjoy if you just discussed things ahead of time?
But, before you verbally chastise me for zapping the magic out of it, developmental psychologist and registered nurse Nancy Buck of Peaceful Parenting Inc. explains that the key is to have these discussions before your baby is born. When you're not stressed you make better decisions. So, whether you call it a pregnancy contract or call it a discussion, there are some things you'll want to address before Baby arrives.
- Discuss prenatal participation. Set a reasonable expectation about how often Daddy-to-be will attend doctor visits throughout pregnancy with consideration for work schedules.
- Consider couple time. Agree on date night expectations, set up a sign that you're up for sex, and agree on a way to make each other a priority. And don't forget to decide on whether or not to take a babymoon.
- Hash out a budget. Talking about how much to spend on baby gear, the nursery, clothes and how to handle purchase decisions will be a huge stress-saver as you get ready for Baby.
- Remember to talk about a tentative date when you'll stop working before your due date and when you'll return to work postpartum.
- Most important of all is to discuss baby duties. Who gets up with the baby, bath schedules, who tends to the baby when he or she cries and who attends the well-baby visits should be included.
- Tackle the dirty work. Decide who does what household chores during pregnancy and throughout baby's first year.
- Talk about how to get along. Your relationship shouldn't take the back burner, so agree to accept that each parent has a different style, choose a code word to stop arguments in their tracks and set up date night expectations. You'll thank us later.
Not convinced? Dr. Buck explains that many things couples fight about during pregnancy and Baby's first year stem from the pictures we have in our head about what we expect, what we want and what we think is right when it comes to our children. And we tend to get those ideas from how we ourselves were raised. So, instead of squabbling, save your marriage by drawing up a pregnancy contract and enjoy this beautiful time in your life.
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