Deciding to start a family, whether you will be parenting with a partner or solo parenting, is a decision that will have a big impact on your life and your relationships. As a prospective parent, you have no doubt heard countless stories of joy and possibility that lie ahead for you. You may also have heard some accounts of parenting that cause you to worry or feel uncertain. No doubt, this is a journey with many twists and turns, as well as opportunities for learning, growing, and developing something wonderful. Like any journey, a bit of preparation can go a long way to making it a successful and enjoyable adventure.
Communication – the key to relationship success
Good communication habits are an important key to successful relationships and happy families; the good news is that these habits can be learned. Open, reciprocal communication can be very helpful when making parenting decisions, or navigating extended family interactions. The family you are building will benefit from the solid foundation you build early on.
How can relationship counselling help prepare us?
Over the years, couple and family therapists repeatedly encounter some of the tricky questions that are common challenges for families.
- Do we need to set up a will?
- Will we still make time to go out as a couple? Will family be happy to babysit, or feel burdened if we ask?
- With baby to care for, how will we divide up the household chores?
- What childhood experiences are important for our child(ren) to have? when? with whom?
- Shared bank account or separate? How do we share our income and expenses fairly while one of us is off work to be home with baby?
- If a child is ill, which of us would stay home from work? Who would attend any child-related appointments during the day?
Investing some time to explore some of the typical decisions and questions you, as parents, will face along the way, can ease your transition into parenthood and strengthen your confidence as prospective parents. We all come with our own childhood and family experiences that influence each of us differently when it comes to our beliefs about raising children. It’s natural to have differing opinions about some things, or to be taken a bit by surprise when faced with things you’ve never encountered before. There are no wrong or right answers that will apply to every family – this is your family to create as you want.
Why relationship counselling now?
We all know that early parenting is going to be a transition, with changes to your routine, less sleep than usual, and new expectations. Our human brain can problem solve better when things are calm, rather than when the baby is crying, your spouse is stressed, and emotions are running high. That just makes sense. Making time now is likely easier than postponing it until after baby arrives. This is not to say that you can anticipate your entire parenting experience, and prevent all possible challenges. Think of this as essential preparation, like taking a few shorter high altitude hikes before you and your spouse climb Everest. Your preparation will help you to anticipate where you may be challenged, figure out how you need to support one another, how you could equip yourself for typical obstacles most climbers face, and by doing this in advance, you are likely to weather the journey better than if you just show up at the base of the mountain with your newly purchased hiking boots and backpack. Langley couple and family therapist, Michele Maurer, can help.
How does relationship counselling work?
Prospective parents can come in at any stage of their journey into parenthood. It’s up to you, and yes, you can even come after baby has arrived, or before you have decided whether or not to start a family. If this is indeed “preparation” and your relationship already has a solid foundation, you may find that one or two meetings allows sufficient time to talk through all that you need. If you are already anticipating or experiencing some concerns in your relationship, or extended family are posing some challenges, we may spend a little more time together, preparing for the journey ahead and resolving any bumps you’re already noticing in the road. Ultimately, this is your family, and you know yourselves and your needs best.
I am happy to discuss your questions over the phone, and look forward to supporting you on your journey.