When I work with parents preparing for a new baby, I’m often surprised at how frequently the discussion winds it way around to the state of the parents’ relationship with one another. Sometimes, I find myself thinking, why on earth do I wind up doing crazy things like leading a couples retreat when my main focus is always pregnancy and parenting? Since when did “couples” become part of that mix?
But then I always think about my own relationship, and how it has evolved since becoming parents. You see, there is nothing that makes you evaluate yourself and your relationship more than having a baby and raising a child. So much of what I do comes down to working on issues that couples have so they can be prepared for the arrival of their baby. If you are not happy with yourself and/or the relationship you are in this will only become magnified during pregnancy and certainly during parenting.
This got me thinking that as much as we need to take childbirth education, parenting 101 and Infant CPR type courses, it is also important to get educated on ourselves and the relationships we are in to make sure they are in a healthy place by the time your baby arrives. This means you have 40 weeks for some self-reflection and relationship analysis!
This can mean varying things for different people, but at the very least it should certainly involve some deep reflection about what kind of parent you want to be, what are your core beliefs and what is truly important to you and your partner for your family. Communication between you and your partner are so important, especially now. It’s so critical to make sure you are resolving any issues in your relationships. One of the first big steps is to sit with your partner, be fully present and really hear each other. This is great for any relationship whether you are about to have a baby or not.
In an ideal world perhaps we wouldn’t wait till pregnancy to sort through these things but the fact is there is nothing like the impending responsibility of a baby to push things to the forefront of your mind. From defining what type of parent you want to be all the way through to the deep question of whether you like the adults you have become, because if you don’t, it’s time to change (fast) so that you have the confidence you need to be great parents.
For me becoming pregnant and being a parent has led to so much self-analysis. And things that I have long since put into a little filing cabinet in my head never to visit again have come up. Somehow parenting brings self-reflection to the forefront of your mind, and for good reason in my opinion. The more you are at peace with yourself and those around you, the more you are able to love and to play a confident active role as parents. Don’t let your issues or those of your relationship get in the way of your relationship with your children.
So my lovelies, pregnant or not, let’s give ourselves a healthy dose of therapeutic self-reflection this week and iron out those kinks. Life is too short, after all, not to be able to enjoy every day.