"Having children is like relationship boot camp," says Ian Kerner, a sex and relationship counselor and author. And he's right.
Bringing a new baby into the world is a HUGE change and many couples may not realize the impact it can have on their relationship. That's why it's important throughout your pregnancy that amidst buying car seats and diapers and reading pregnancy books about what to expect, you take the time to communicate with each other and make sure you're each getting the love and attention you need.
Take a Babymoon
So the two of you have found that out you're expecting and you're probably extremely excited but also quite terrified. It's time for a babymoon.
What is a babymoon? A babymoon is a chance for you and your partner to go on a romantic getaway before you transition into full blown family life. It's a time to connect to each other and openly discuss your concerns and fears about bringing new life into the world. The goal is to leave the trip feeling closer and confident about what lies ahead.
Do you like warm and tropical? Cool and cozy? Would you rather save money and spend a day on your couch watching Netflix? For our list of top Babymoon destinations and things to consider, click here.
“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.” - Roy T. Bennett
During your pregnancy, you will need to focus harder then ever on communicating with each other. You will both be tired and stressed so tiny things will be blown out of proportion. A few things to remember:
- Tell each other how you're feeling. DON'T hold things in or criticize each other.
- Listen to your partner and ask them thoughtful questions.
- When you're angry, take a walk and give yourself some space and time before addressing the issue again.
Fights are inevitable in any relationship. In fact, when done in a healthy way, they are a sign of a good relationship. Common fights expectant couples have include everything from baby names and nursery colors to intimacy and attachment issues. Below are some example of common fights and ways to resolve them.
Baby Names: Perhaps he has a family name that doesn't appeal to you. Maybe you are dead set on a name you think is adorable that he just doesn't agree with. Set a time to discuss the name options together and why ones you are choosing are meaningful to you. If you can't decide in one sitting, table the discussion and continue to revisit it together until you have come to a decision.You have nine months to drag out the discussion if need be so take your time and listen to each other.
Not Being Intimate: So you're feeling huge and tired and maybe a little self conscious about being intimate with your partner. Don't let the gross and strange aspects of pregnancy stop you from being close with your partner. This experience is a chance for the two of you to form an unbreakable bond. So just laugh and go with it.
Selfish Accusations: Perhaps you feel like your husband is spending too much time at work or away with his friends. Or perhaps he feels like you're not respecting him for all he's doing to help out during pregnancy. It all comes back to communicating with each other. You'll both need to recognize each other's needs and figure out what you need to do to properly support each other. Openly discuss your concerns with each other.
The In-Laws: Like it or not the in-laws are going to be involved in your relationship. It's best if each person handles their own parents and sets boundaries if they are overstepping.
Create a Budget Together
For financial piece of mind, you will need to sit down and make a budget for baby together. Not in your head, not on a whim but physically written down and typed out. Decide how much money you can spend and stick to the plan. The internet is full of helpful budget sheets and templates. Once you finish your budget, keep a copy on your phone and computer. Print it out and hang on the refrigerator. Keep it in your purse to refer to. This may seem a little extreme but it will help you both stay on track. For more, read our guide on Budgeting for Baby.
Make Sure You're Getting Enough Sleep
Check out our tips for getting those much needed ZZZ's in our Ultimate Pregnancy Sleep Guide.
Line up Extra Help
Since you'll your hands full once the baby arrives you are going to need extra assistance with your little ones during that first year. Plan ahead and ask family and friends about their availability and line up several good babysitters. If a parent offers to move in and live near by, by all means let them. You'll want to make you still have time for date nights and alone time during that first year.