There is an infinite number of decisions you and your partner have to make. Some examples are what prenatal tests to take, how to decorate the nursery, what to name your baby, who should be at the birth, and what procedures are done to your baby after they are born. It is a never-ending list, and even after all of these decisions are made the two of you are going to constantly make decisions throughout your child’s life. Some decisions are more trivial than others, but even working on coming to an agreement you are both comfortable with on little things can help you work out the big things. This episode goes through a lot of strategies you can put to use when you and your partner disagree to try and get on the same page.
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Working through some disagreements now is a great exercise to get you prepared for parenting because I guarantee you will not always agree on how to parent your child. Being on the same page means more than just being in agreement. You two are on the same team and need to be working together for the same outcome, especially during your birth. Your partner is a huge part of your birth, they are your advocate, your cheerleader, your coach, it is critical you are on the same page.
I want to acknowledge that not everyone who is pregnant is going through this experience with a partner. If your partner is not present or is not part of your life during this time I know that it can feel like you are really alone. I encourage you to surround yourself with a support system of friends and family. You can have someone by your side through your pregnancy and birth who is not a romantic partner. You will have people in your life who will disagree with some of the pregnancy or birth choices you are making. This episode/article will also give you some tips to navigate that, even if the disagreement is not with a partner.
Many expecting mothers feel like it is their body that is going through a pregnancy and birth, and therefore anything pregnancy or birth-related is their decision and their partner has no say in it. That is fine if you feel that way and if that dynamic doesn’t create any friction in your relationship, great.
There is an infinite number of disagreements you and your partner can get into ranging from prenatal testing, to how to decorate the nursery, to what to name your baby, to who should be at the birth, to what procedures are done to your baby after they are born. It is a never-ending list. Even after all of these decisions are made the two of you are going to constantly make decisions throughout your baby’s life. Some decisions are more trivial than others, but even working on coming to an agreement you are both comfortable with on little things can help you work out the big things.
There is No Magic Bullet
This article offers a bunch of ideas and scenarios for you. Will every single one of these work for you? No, and that is okay. There is no magic bullet that will solve every disagreement. Please take what you can apply to your particular situation or relationship. You know the dynamic of your relationship and what could work and what won’t.
There are some additional things you may want to take into account when you are having a disagreement with your partner.
Your body and your life are going through major changes right. Your social life may be a little different from what it was pre-pregnancy. You are likely not sleeping as well, and are dealing with fatigue early and late in your pregnancy. Thinking about the amount of information you need to take in and the number of decisions you have to make can be overwhelming. There is a lot going on and a lot to think about and that can lead to shorter fuses and more arguments.
Hormones and Emotions
Your emotions may be running high. I do not like blaming hormones for everything. Hormones are no joke. When you are pregnant the huge increase in hormones will make you more emotional than you would normally be otherwise, and that is okay. Acknowledging that maybe you are more sensitive right now, or even putting off a subject because you are upset and overly emotional is okay. Your partner needs to know that this is a real thing. Not an excuse, but a legitimate thing.
There are so many unknowns, so much uncertainty, that comes along with expecting a baby. This can easily lead to anxiety and worry. Even if this is not your first baby, I guarantee there will be some level of stress at some point. When you are dealing with anxiety it can make any disagreement escalate quicker.
Financial stress is another thing that can put a strain on your relationship and heat up some arguments. A lot of the decisions you are making surrounding your pregnancy, baby, or your birth plans may have financial implications. If you are in a financial position where that is not a concern awesome. If you are in a position where you need to be mindful about what you are spending on things, or where your financial situation may play a role in where you give birth you should consider that. Making a budget is a good way to make sure you are both on the same page with finances, and what you are planning to spend on baby stuff.
Setting expectations of what things cost can also prevent someone from getting upset over how much money is being spent.
Your Birth Plan
Your partner needs to be involved in creating your birth plan and by the time it is done they should know it inside and out. They are going to be an advocate for you during your labor and birth. If they know exactly what your preferences are they will be able to speak up for you and help you get the birth experience you want. The process of working together to create your birth plan will help avoid a lot of disagreements.
The Your Birth Plan book runs through the evidence on anything you could include in your plan. Plus it has templates and samples for everything from home birth to a cesarean. You can also get a copy of my birth plan for an example of how one could be worded or structured.
Pick Your Battles
You may want to pick your battles. You will be making A LOT of decisions and it may make your life, or your partner’s life, easier to let some of the small stuff go. If it is something you feel really strongly about, then, by all means, make it a priority but if it really isn’t all that important in the long run maybe you can just let this small thing go. I am talking about something relatively insignificant in the long run, like coming to an agreement on what type of diaper pail to put on your baby registry. If it is something more crucial, like where you plan to give birth, obviously you don’t want to just give up your opinion.
Split Up the Responsibilities
Not every decision has to be a mutual decision. There will be some things that you will make the call of without consulting your partner, and some decisions they can make without involving you. Perhaps your partner is stoked that they will not have anything to do with the baby shower. Maybe you can ask your partner to assemble all of the furniture for your baby’s room without you. If you don’t have any opinion on car seats you can ask your partner to find the right one. Trying to take on everything yourself can burn you out. Please split up some of the responsibilities and decisions to take some of your mental load off.
If you expect your partner to be involved in creating your registry set the expectation so they plan ahead for that. Finding out who should be involved in what decision will be helpful. If you expect that your partner comes to every appointment let them know so they can plan ahead. Setting expectations of what both of you want will limit disagreements in the future.
It is really important to listen to what your partner has to say. Feeling like you are not being heard is really frustrating. I know you have felt that way at some point and it sucks. Listen to your partner and hear them out. That does not mean you have to agree, but you should at least hear their point of view so you know and understand where they are coming from. It is possible that by truly listening you will hear something you would otherwise miss.
If you are having a tough time understanding why your partner feels the way they do, ask questions. The more you understand where they are coming from the easier it will be to see their point of view and the two of you can communicate better. Sometimes we have opinions based on fear or we just do not have all of the facts.
If your partner wants their mom in the room for your birth, you can ask questions and get a better idea of why. Is it because their mom has insisted on it and they can’t say no? Is it because they think it would be a really special moment to share with her? Asking questions can help guide the discussion to be more productive than just by butting heads on the issue over a difference in opinion.
Have an Open Mind
I really want to encourage you to have an open mind. Is it possible that there is something you are overlooking or something you are not thinking about? Your partner may be seeing a side of something that you aren’t. Listen to what they have to say and have an open mind, and they should do the same for you.
Timing of Your Talk
Don’t bring up a big topic two minutes before you are leaving for work in the morning. If you need to sit down and discuss a heavy topic, do it when there is time and space for both of you talk about it. Don’t bring up a heavy topic when you are in a hurry, when you have a million other things going on, and not in the middle of a grocery store. On the flip side if you need to make a quick simple decision fitting those in when you only have a few minutes may be helpful to knock out some of the small things.
Take a Break
If you feel like you are not getting anywhere, it could help to take a break from talking about whatever topic it is. Step away from the conversation, think about it, or take time to cool off.
Do Your Research
If there is something that you and your partner disagree about, ask yourselves if you really know enough or have enough information to be making an informed decision on it. Do you have questions that some research could clear up? Chances are I have released an episode on whatever it is. You can use the search function on the website to see if there an episode on a specific topic.
Your Gut and Emotions
You know I am a huge proponent of evidence and research. Not everything is a logical black and white decision. You need to weigh in your emotions and your gut too. and if you feel emotionally strong about something I am not saying you should discount it and that should be weighed too.
If you disagree with your partner, be honest about it, and be honest about why. Maybe you want to encapsulate your placenta and your partner is against it. Why? Is it the additional cost? Does it gross them out? Knowing why they feel differently may help you two clear things up. Also be honest as to why you want to encapsulate your placenta. Is it because you are really into it or because your sister said it was a good idea? Having an open honest discussion is more productive than just saying because that is what I want.
Talking to Your Doctor or Midwife
If you and your partner are having trouble coming together on an issue, consider talking to your doctor or midwife. I don’t mean to use them in the capacity of a therapist. If the two of you are struggling on getting on the same page about an intervention, or a procedure, your care provider can run through the risks and benefits and may be able to help you two sort out the facts to get on the same page.
Thank you to the amazing companies that have supported this episode.
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