Relationships

Oh, baby! Becoming a parent often means big changes, and can cause a lot of stress, excitement, fear, worry and joy. Intimate relationships go through many changes over time and the change into parenting can be particularly challenging for couples.

There are parenting choices that you might disagree about or you might struggle with your partner's view of the best sleeping arrangements. That's okay. It's normal to have different views or expectations. Maybe you can talk to your partner about your concerns, ensuring that you each have the opportunity to share your thoughts and feelings on the topic. The addition of a child can create a lot of change and while some people deal with change easily, others take longer. If you or your partner need more time to adjust to the situation, try to stay calm and give each other the time necessary.

Before your child comes home, you can discuss many of the anticipated changes parenting brings such as work-family balance, parental leave, chores, roles and responsibilities. It is a good idea to discuss how you would like to divide chores when your child comes home. Maybe your partner will be responsible for making meals or getting up for night feedings. Perhaps you'd prefer a rotating list of responsibilities, but these are things that can be worked out prior to any additions and will hopefully reduce stress around adjusting to parenthood.

Talking to family and friends can also reduce stress or worries you have about transitioning into parenthood. Hopefully you have close family or friends who have children that you can depend upon for support, advice and maybe even some hand-me-downs.

Father and son

If you are already a parent, your other children may also need some time to adjust to the new family. You might find yourself spending less time with your children because you are tired (especially in the first and third trimester) or trying to get everything ready for your new arrival. Take time to spend with your other children. You may be exhausted and feel stretched already, but it is so important to spend time with your children before the new arrival comes home and takes up more of your time and attention.

You might want to schedule a Wednesday night board game or a Saturday morning walk, but choose something you love to do together. If your child is old enough, you may want to tell him about his new sibling, but save these dates for just the two of you. If you have more than one child at home, it's a good idea to spend time with each of them separately so everyone gets to spend a little one-on-one time together. It may also help your children feel loved and included at a time when a lot of attention and focus will be spent elsewhere.

If you are currently working outside the home, you will need to decide when to tell your employer that you are pregnant and when your last day of employment will be before your maternity or parental leave. Most employers require at least four weeks written notice prior to your leave and they may ask for a medical certificate with your estimated date of delivery so they can prepare the paperwork for you to apply for your maternity leave benefits.