Welcoming a new member into the family is a joyous occasion. It’s often heralded by birthing classes and baby showers and a mad rush as parents try to buy the best for their cherished baby. It can be an event that brings families together and strengthens ties between spouses.
But oftentimes, to-be parents forget that the journey to parenthood isn’t always lined with roses; there are tough decisions you have to make for your child before he/she is even born that can greatly influence how you raise your child. And you may not always see eye-to-eye with your spouse about these decisions. That’s natural, of course. No matter how long you and your spouse have been together, and how well the two of you know each other, there are bound to be differences in personality, beliefs, and priorities that impact how the two of you view these decisions.
But that doesn’t mean that an amicable and mutually pleasing decision cannot be arrived at. The most important thing is to talk through these decisions with mutual respect and consideration for each others’ feelings and thoughts and remember that the goal isn’t to win the “argument” but to raise your child as a strong, capable, and kind-hearted individual.
Now you might be thinking about what kinds of decisions these might be? Let’s figure that out next through the eyes of a fictional couple Elaine and Matt.
Sex of the Baby and Abnormalities
One of the first big decisions Elaine and Matt had to make was in the first few weeks of pregnancy: whether to find out the sex of the baby. Matt had seen numerous gender-reveal parties on Instagram and was excited to hold one just like it for his little one. Elaine, however, did not want to know the sex of the baby until he/she was safely delivered. When discussing the issue together, Matt realized that Elaine was afraid of knowing the sex of the baby beforehand in case the pregnancy faced difficulties. However, Elaine too realized that a grand gender-reveal party was something Matt had dreamed of for a long time and did not want him to be disappointed.
Instead, after doing some research, they came upon a clinic that would offer Matt the special-ness he wanted to celebrate the coming baby, and Elaine the privacy: 3D ultrasound Columbus Ohio, right near where they lived, that would provide the couple with 3D images of the fetus which they could show off to their families.
But the next big decision they had to make was a little tougher as it directly involved the health of their baby: screening for abnormalities. As someone who is a serial planner, Elaine wanted to screen for congenital anomalies so she can know how to best prepare for parenthood. However, Matt was of the belief that doing so would indicate a lack of love for, and faith in, their baby. After extensive discussion, Matt and Elaine decided to screen their baby but only have the doctor tell them the results if the fetus tested positive for a select few conditions for which they, as parents, would need to prepare for to ensure their baby could live comfortably.
Matt and Elaine also realized that they had to discuss and divide up childcare responsibilities. As both of them were working, they would need to figure out a system wherein the childcare responsibilities were roughly equally divided. They decided that during Elaine’s maternity leave she would primarily take care of the baby while Matt helped out around the house and eased the burden on her. Once they were both back to working full-time, the couple would hire a nanny to take care of the child, and alternate night duty. This method they would tweak as the situation changed and progressed.
Religion was another important point of contention for the couple. Matt was raised catholic and wanted their child to be so as well. Elaine was not brought up in a particular faith and had no strong feelings about any faith. However, she often felt awkward when discussing religion and would prefer it if her child was not forced to follow a particular faith. While initially, the two had believed their views on the matter to be diametrically opposed, upon discussion they realized that Elaine only wanted her child to be free to choose which religion to, or not to, follow, and did not oppose their child being introduced to Christianity.
Matt, as well, had no intentions of forcing his child to become a devout Christian but rather only wanted his child to be familiar with the faith. Therefore, they decided that they would introduce Christianity to their child and bring him/her along to church, but make it explicitly clear that their child was able to choose whether he/she believed in the teachings of Christianity.
The last big decision Elaine and Matt had to make was how they would approach parenting. Elaine was more high-strung than Matt and naturally inclined towards an authoritative parenting style. Matt, however, was more laid-back and nurturing. Elaine worried that if they stuck to such a parenting style, their child would grow up to think of her as the “bad guy.” Matt understood her concerns and proposed a parenting style where they would always check with each other about how to respond to their child’s behaviors and concerns, so they could put up a unified front and avoid having one appear stricter than the other.
These are but a few of the many big decisions you will have to make concerning your child. Keep in mind that these decisions were from the perspective of a heterosexual, “typical” relationship. The concerns you may face may be wildly different, say, if you are using a surrogate. But the approaches detailed above when discussing these issues should be the best practice to ensure you parent your child with stability and as a unit. Remember that parenting isn’t about winning, but about raising your child with love and care.