Whether you know you want children or are still undecided, it’s important to discuss family plans with your partner. Doing so will ensure you’re both aligned about your goals. However, opening the conversation can feel intimidating if you’ve never discussed kids. To help you get the discussion started, consider the following tips.
In today’s world, more couples choose to adopt pets or travel the country instead of having children. So it would help if you didn’t assume that your partner wants kids. Instead, open the conversation by asking them their views on having children and sharing yours.
When your partner is speaking, don’t interrupt. Actively listen to their desires and create a space where their thoughts are valued. After they’re finished talking, let them know you understand their point of view, then provide your own. There’s a chance your family plans aren’t aligned. That doesn’t mean the relationship will fail, but you may need couples counseling to navigate emotions in the future.
Let’s say you and your partner have agreed on becoming parents. You’ll then need to decide when you want to start trying to conceive. When creating this timeline, it’s essential to discuss what milestones you’d like to hit before having children. Buying a house, changing careers, or traveling to Europe are all things someone may want to accomplish before starting a family.
Birth control should enter the conversation if you decide to wait a couple of years before having kids. Condoms, birth control pills, patches, and shots are great ways to prevent pregnancy until you’re ready. Additionally, they’re easy to stop using if you decide to accelerate your timeline.
IUDs can prevent pregnancy for up to six to 10 years, depending on what type you choose. If a child is an even longer-range goal, consider an intrauterine device. Be aware that you’ll need to schedule an appointment with your doctor to have it removed before you try to conceive.
One of the most common obstacles couples face after deciding to start a family is infertility. In the U.S., roughly 11% of women and 9% of men face infertility challenges in their reproductive years. If you know you struggle with fertility issues, you should share that information with your partner. This gives you time to emotionally and financially prepare for fertility treatments if you choose that route.
Another option for couples to consider is its adoption. There are thousands of children waiting to be adopted in the United States. You and your partner could provide one or more with a loving home. There are two main paths to adoption in the U.S.: foster adoption and domestic infant adoption. Both have unique characteristics, so do research before deciding which works best for your family.
While you’ll likely raise this child as a couple, you’ll probably have slightly different parenting styles. This isn’t bad, but discussing how these two styles will work together before the baby comes is essential. This will ensure you’re on the same page about discipline and child-rearing duties.
Take the time to unpack what raising a child means to each of you. This may mean exploring your childhood and discussing what was great and what wasn’t. Concerning how your parents raised you can give you ideas of what you want to emulate and what you’d like to avoid. Then again, neither of you may know your parenting style yet, and that’s OK.
To create a happy family, you need to have a strong foundation. While children can bring you happiness, they can further stress an already shaky bond. So before diving into parenthood, couples should ensure their relationship is solid. Sometimes, couples think having a baby will fix cracks in the relationship and create closeness. That’s a difficult path forward.
Before trying to conceive, ensure you and your partner feel confident in your relationship. If you have trust issues or constantly get into heated arguments, hold off on having a baby. Taking the time to build healthy and practical communication skills will both improve your relationship and make you better parents.
Many couples feel societal pressure to become parents whether they want to be or not. Often, they’re met with unsolicited opinions or rude comments about their biological clocks. These comments may leave you and your partner questioning your decision to delay having children or not have them at all.
To help overcome these feelings, list all the reasons your child-free decision is right for you. This may include financial responsibilities, health issues, or the desire for freedom. When confronted with judgment, refer back to your list to remind yourself why you’ve made the decision you have.
Everyone has different dreams about what they want their family to look like. Some people want a child, and some want to adopt ten cats. Whatever your ideal is, you need to discuss it with your partner. Use the suggestions above to help you approach the conversation with an open heart and an open mind.