Our Most Important Conversations Before Our Daughter Was Born

We gave birth to our daughter in November and I still pinch myself every morning to remind me that she’s really here. My partner and I struggled to get pregnant for years. Thankfully after two rounds of IVF, we gave birth to the little one we had been hoping for. The years of unsuccessfully conceiving were difficult, but I am grateful for them. They provided my partner and I the time and space to have the most important conversations before our daughter was born. It’s those conversations that made us a stronger team and more equipped parents.
Due to our infertility we were one of the last of our friends and family to welcome a baby. This gave us a front row seat to how others were approaching parenthood. It enabled us to pull together the things that we thought would work for us and attempt to avoid the things that others were struggling with. One common theme that started to show up in those around us was the fact that the female in most relationships appeared to be the default parent. What do I mean by that? The parent that takes on the majority of the household and childcare responsibilities day to day and when plans change like illness or school/daycare closings. This default parent responsibility was by choice in some relationships, but not always. In many partnerships that we saw, it was causing stress, frustration and even resentment.
We decided we didn’t want that to happen and that we’d make conscious choices to avoid it. We quickly realized the solution was to have some really difficult conversations with each other before she was born. 

The Most Important Conversations We Had Before Our Daughter Was Born

What are our family values?

We used Brene Browns list of values and looked at them individually. We chose our top 5 values and then came together around a fire in our backyard to share how and why we got there. It was one of the most powerful and connecting conversations we’d ever shared. It was an opportunity to learn things about each others childhood, deeply rooted beliefs and expectations around how we want to live our lives. You think you know everything about your partner after being together for so long, but this experience taught us both there’s always more to learn.
After sharing our individual values with each other, we were able to come together to build a set of values for our family. We wrote them down in a notebook and vowed to revisit them each year. We decided that when we’re faced with a difficult decision we will come together and use our values as a guide.

What does equity in our partnership look like?

Both my partner and I understand that women shoulder 2/3 or more of what it takes to run a home and family regardless of whether they work outside of the home. We did not want to be part of that statistic. We wanted our home to feel fair and equitable. In order to create that we needed to have an open and honest conversation about what that looks like for both of us and how we would achieve it.
For us, that meant practicing Fair Play (method for distributing household tasks) and having weekly check-in’s with each other to ensure things feel fair. It also meant being unafraid to adapt and make changes in real time if needed. Raising a child is not something either of us had any experience with, therefore we knew we were going to make mistakes. We promised to be compassionate and accepting of those mistakes and to talk through them when emotions were low.

How do we continue to create time for ourselves?

Being a new parent is all consuming. Your little one has zero regard for your needs and this can be stressful especially if you’re sleep deprived (we’ve got a list of Seacoast sleep consultants for you!). Because we had seen this play out with our friends and family members we were able to talk about how we were going to handle this when our daughter arrived. We both treasure our alone time and investing in things that inspire us individually. It would be important to continue to prioritize this, but it would take a lot more intention and planning once we became parents. We discussed how we’d make this happen for each other.
Because we had this conversation we were both able to continue to workout after she was born, see friends and even spend a night away after our daughter was a month old. This time for ourselves, allows us to show up for each other and our daughter with love and patience.
I’m so grateful we shared these conversations with each other before she was born, but it’s never too late to have them no matter what phase of life you’re in. They set the tone and the foundation for how we want to parent and partner. I’m proud of us for creating the time and space to have really difficult conversations that make us a stronger team and more equipped parents.
If you are expecting and on the Seacoast, check out our Pregnancy and Postpartum Guide!