Every couple is different. For some of us, the first year of marriage is awesome — for some of us, it’s incredibly stressful. Some couples adjust to children quickly and easily, but the majority of us have a much more difficult transition.
For every new experience, of course, there’s a honeymoon — when everything seems like a dream, because it’s new and exciting. It’s a beautiful novelty.
But then the rubber hits the road.
For parenting, it’s usually going to be tough — so go easy on yourself. And as you prepare for this — one of the biggest transitions of your life — there are a few things you can do to make sure your relationship is ready.
1) Know Your Partner and Yourself. Knowing each other really well, what your strengths and your weaknesses are, will prepare you for team parenting, because you’ll understand more where you can rely on them — and where you’ll need to give extra support. Your needs often change during parenthood, so the more self-aware you are now, the more prepared you’ll be to understand your own needs as you parent. The CVI can be extremely helpful in this arena! Do you need an arsenal of people to call for help? Or do you need an arsenal of books and research? What will make you feel prepared as parent? Your preferences can be predicted by your CVI, which can help you prepare.
2) Get Support. Having the support you need lined up before baby comes is essential — no matter what your personality type is. This is a time to reach out to your family & friends, or to have hired childcare set up and ready to go. Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, or working family, have your childcare options set up in advance. This preparation will be essential to healthy and joyful parenting.
3) Get Rid of Expectations. It’s impossible to predict what your life will be like when children arrive. There is no ‘norm’ for anyone. Even with preparation, you just can’t know how you will respond until you’re in this phase of life. Give yourself and your partner grace as you adjust together.
4) Take a Class. The Gottman book, And Baby Makes Three is an incredibly useful tool when it comes to preparing your marriage. It’s a book and a class that you can take to prepare for how to preserve your relationship after the baby comes. They even have a card deck of questions to ask before you get pregnant! How will finances, romance, your social life, change? How will your work-life agreements at home change? Will chores change? Who’s cooking? It’s essential to think about all of these areas of life, and to talk about them together.
5) Rely on Therapy. So many people only turn to counseling or therapy once they’re in crisis — but it’s an excellent preventative strategy for stressful transitions. Have a family therapist to come to when life gets difficult; they can help you prepare for this transition, and walk with you through it. That’s why we’re here for you; don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re thinking of expanding your family!