What Kind of Parent Will I Be?

Nobody can anticipate what life will be like after a new baby, but this is still a good time to chat with your partner about expectations and how you feel about parenting.

Nobody can predict what life will be like after a new baby. Even if you've had children before, every baby's birth and personality are unique. However, it may help you adjust to parenthood if you make a written list of the priorities you want to guard in your life -- and the things you can let slide. This is a good time for you and your partner to talk about how you both envision life after baby. Use these questions to help jump-start your conversation:

  • What are your expectations of parenthood? Right now, they might be pretty abstract. Now is the time to observe the mothers in your own life -- your mother, your aunt, your friends -- and consider their behavior toward their children. You'll realize that every mother has both good days and bad.
  • What was your own childhood like? If you enjoyed your childhood and think your mom did a great job of raising you, then you've got a handy rule book. Ask her about her own transition to motherhood, and you may discover that even when she seemed most loving, she was experiencing her own doubts and fears.
  • How was your partner raised? Looking at your partner's family background is a great way to start talking about your doubts, ideals, and goals for your own family life. It's probably unrealistic to think that the two of you will agree about every parenting tactic. Still, talking ahead of time about life with a newborn will mean fewer surprises later. Topics to tackle may include whether to breastfeed or bottle-feed, where your newborn should sleep, who should get up at night, who's going to handle the housework, and how much you should hold your baby. You'll be a better parenting team as a result of these discussions.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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