There’s one fact you learn very quickly after you find out you’re expecting: the first trimester is really boring. After the initial excitement of the positive test, telling the people you’re closest with, buying the baby books, etc. there’s not a whole hell of a lot to do while you wait for the ultrasounds and the baby kicking and the protruding belly to show up. I found out I was pregnant with Chase at only 5 weeks, which made for a very long pregnancy and an especially long first trimester. But I was so excited and I felt like I wanted to be doing something, even if it was only talking with Adam about our baby. So, I trolled around the internet looking for discussion topics for new parents and I was shocked to find there was nothing really out there. Which led me to get creative and think of some of my own, which you can now, hopefully, benefit from 🙂
I found these topics to be a great way of getting the ball rolling on larger discussions about the way in which we both hoped to raise our child. I personally think that men view having a baby as a very abstract concept until the baby actually arrives (understandably so, since they don’t have the same physical link to the baby throughout the pregnancy) and this helped my husband to really think about the baby in a more tangible way. It should be noted that some, if not many, of these answers may change once the baby is here and you are in the parenting trenches doing what you need to do to get by, but I think it helped us figure out what was really important in the grand scheme of raising a child together.
- How do you plan to tell family and friends about the baby’s arrival? Do you want people to know when you go into labor or after the baby is born?
- Will you allow visitors in the hospital? If so, who?
- Who else (if anyone) will be in the delivery room with you besides the doctor/midwife?
- Will you use a doula or other type of birthing coach?
- Do you plan to try delivering naturally or with meds?
- Will you take birthing classes? What topics specifically are important to you to learn about together?
- What are both of your expectations of how the baby will be fed? Do you hope to try breastfeeding? If you formula feed right away, have you looked into costs for budgeting purposes?
- How do you both envision tackling baby care as a team? Will you have a set division of labor (ie; she feeds the baby, he changes the diapers) or will it be on a case by case basis?
- Do you have any strong philosophies on parenting or any specific parenting style (ie; sleep training, attachment parenting, etc) that you hope to implement in your own parenting?
- Moms: what is your expectation for your baby’s father during your pregnancy? Are there books that you think are important for him to read? Classes you’d like him to take? Skills you think he should learn? (diaper changing, holding a newborn, etc.) (This is not to say that he’s obligated to fulfill your every wish, but it’s nice for him to know how he can best support you during the pregnancy since men often feel very helpless during that time)
- Who will be responsible for watching the baby during the day? Will one of you stay home? Will you use a childcare center/home daycare? A family member or friend? A combination of several of these? If the mother plans to go back to work, how long will her maternity leave be? Paid or unpaid? Will she work until the end of her pregnancy or take time off before? Does the father get a paternity leave from work or plan to take any time off when the baby arrives?
- How will you budget for the added expenses of a baby? Are there certain changes you need to make to your lifestyle to save money? (If so, early on in the pregnancy is a good time to discuss this, as it will leave you more time to save up)
- Are there any people or situations that are stressful to you that you can avoid or minimize during pregnancy? Is there anyone in your lives that either of you are worried about exposing the baby to? (This can be a hard discussion to have, especially if you disagree about who you want to be in your baby’s life. However, it’s best to talk about it beforehand than wait until the baby arrives to think about it.)
- Do you need to set any boundaries with family or close friends ahead of time about visiting, advice giving, etc?
- Will your child have godparents? If so, who? If your family is religious, do you plan to have your baby baptized?
These ones are a little more lighthearted and fun, which I thought was a nice break from all the heavy discussion about finances, division of labor, etc.
- What are some of your favorite childhood memories that you’d like to replicate with your child?
- What are some things you loved/hated about your own upbringing that you’d like to carry on/avoid with your child?
- How will you handle holidays once the baby is born? Will you celebrate major holidays in your own home? Travel to be with family? A combination of the two?
- Do you plan to find out the gender of the baby? Do you have a guess as to what the baby will be? Any names in mind for either gender?
- How do you plan to tell family and friends about your impending arrival (if you haven’t already) Would you prefer a creative announcement like these or simply telling them in person?
- Are there certain traits or characteristics from either of you that you hope your child will have?
Obviously, this isn’t a discussion for one day, but more of a when-you-feel-like-it list. We used them on long car rides or before bed and it turned out to be a great way to pass the time and also get into the nitty gritty of parenting choices. We both had strong opinions about certain things (sleeping, hospital visitors, birthing style, etc.) and it really helped us to figure out the things that were very important as opposed to kind of negotiable. It also might be fun to write some of your answers down and see if things change once the baby arrives.
Do you have any to add? If you have children already, what topics are you glad you discussed ahead of time or wished you had?