There’s a lot that happens when a couple has their first baby…
Endless, life-impacting decisions.
The world being turned upside down.
Re-creating a “new normal.”
A constant fear of things going wrong.
The steep learning curve for both parents.
The list could go on, and on, and on. And I’ve heard it all… The good, the bad, the ugly, the astoundingly beautiful… And it’s all made me a little worried.
First, let me back up for a second. My husband and I have been married a little over a year, and we are not hoping to have kids for another two years or so. That being said, I’m fully convinced that I was brought into this world to be a mother. You can ask any friends or family. That whole “motherly instinct” has always come very naturally to me.
But for my husband… not so much. Although we both want kids someday, the timeframe and the number of kids differ just a little bit (or a lot, depending on the day). Even though we don’t have kids yet, the conversations around our future kids have already caused some division between us. And it’s caused a little bit of fear for the day that we do become parents.
And as we watch friends around us start to have kids and we hear the stories they share about all the challenges that come with starting a family, our fear has only grown…
“Wait, WHAT happens during delivery??”
“Are you SURE you want to go through that?”
“When we have kids, you can’t ________ anymore.”
“Why don’t we wait till we’re 40 and just adopt?”
“We’re cranky enough in the mornings on 8 hours of sleep.”
“There are very few parts of parenting that sound like a good thing…”
These are just a few pieces of conversations we’ve had about our future. The fear is real. And it’s for good reason.
But the desire to have kids is also real. Very real. So how do you balance the fear of parenting, the fear of having kids, the fear for your marriage—with the desire to have kids? Well, I can’t fully answer that for you. That’s something you and your spouse are going to have to work through together. But I can give you a few tips on how to have that conversation!
Here are a few questions to ask each other before having a baby:
- What are you most fearful about when it comes to having kids?
- In what area do you think having kids will cause us to have the most conflict?
- Is there anything we can do now to work on that area before we have kids?
- What tendencies do you see in me that might be a problem for you once we have kids?
- How will we share responsibilities so that one spouse isn’t totally overwhelmed?
- Are you willing to start our routines completely from scratch?
- How can we work together as a team and rely on each other’s strengths?
- What are your top 3 expectations of me as a parent?
- What roles did your mom and dad play in your life growing up? Are there ways you want to be like them? Not be like them?
- What are things I can do right now to help us both not fear becoming parents?
Prioritize Your Marriage
Having kids rocks your world. I don’t know that from experience, but I’ve been told that what seems like a bajillion times, so it must be true. Kids are a lot. They come with new responsibilities, new challenges, and new things to argue about.
And if you let it, being a parent might overtake being a spouse. But the key is to always prioritize your marriage first. Yes, kids require a lot. But they grow up. And after they’re grown, you’ll still have your spouse by your side.
So, choose today to strengthen your marriage. Actually, choose every day to strengthen your marriage. And the rest, even babies, will fall into place—a wonderful place.
***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***