Preparing for parenthood

Copy of It was such a relief when my husband would get up throughout the night so I could rest. (6)

Most couples find the transition to parenthood challenging! Having a baby can cause changes which involve a degree of loss and grief, such as the loss of freedom, work identity, financial independence, and time with friends.

Preparing for parenthood involves learning about the changes and difficulties that come with being a new parent. This will not necessarily protect you against experiencing these difficulties, but it may help you to recognise and respond to them if they occur.


QUIZ: Preparing for parenthood

CONVERSATION STARTER: Your parenting hopes and fears

Before your baby is born, find time to discuss your parenting hopes, fears, and roles with your partner.

Use the following questions as a starting point.

  • What’s important to each of you? Affection? Fun? Safety? Financial security? Time together as a family? How can you meet these needs?
  • What sort of partner and parent do you want to be? How can you achieve this?
  • Are you affected by sources of stress such as relationship problems or financial difficulties? How might you deal with these problems once your baby is born?
  • What are your expectations about parenting?
  • Are your expectations compatible with your partner‘s?
  • Are any of your expectations unrealistic? e.g., “I’ll have the same time available for work or leisure activities as before the baby was born”. Be mindful that unrealistic expectations could cause rifts in your relationship.

ACTIVITY: Thinking back…

Preparing for Parenthood - Partners to ParentsYou and your partner bring separate past experiences, ideas and hopes to your new family, and combining these can be difficult.

With your partner, find a photo of each of you as a small child and reflect together on what it was like for each of you when you were young.

What was your childhood like?

How were you parented?

What was your relationship like with your own parent/s or caregivers?

How did your parents manage conflict?

How might your childhoods influence what you do and say now as parents?

RELATED: Pregnancy and childbirth

 Adapting to parenthood

Last reviewed 24 April 2016