baby

Pregnant? There are 4 conversations you should have with your partner before the baby comes.

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The labour – all the labour

Pre-natal classes are great but they have a big flaw – they end before the real tips are needed. The classes encouraged my partner to help write a birth plan, massage me with a wooden-legged ladybird during labour and make a salad to take to the hospital. These things were pretty useless in the much bigger picture of returning home with a baby.

We left hospital with the irrelevant birth plan, a baby and no clue of where we were headed.

I was so glad my partner came to the classes and knew as much as I did, but we really should have spent time thinking about an after-birth plan.

Luckily for me, my mum had a plan.  She cooked and cleaned and my partner went back to work and we all struggled together through the night shift.  My mother steered us through the early days with cups of tea, meals and folded clean laundry.

If you don’t have a helpful relative, let friends help, or get a cleaner and some frozen meals. At the very least discuss who is going to help you both and how you are going to help each other. You will need help and no new mother should have to do all the labour.

Watch: The pregnancy questions you were too afraid to ask.

The night shifts

This is a battle ground for any new mum.  How are we going to both get sleep?

Before the baby came I promised my partner that he could sleep in the spare room every night because he had to work. It was at the other end of the flat, he wouldn’t even hear the baby cry.

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Then I became the most tired person in the world. Fact. There is no way my partner was more tired than me. But he said he was the most tired person in the world because he had to go to work.

In the depths of sleep deprivation if he got up during the night if only to pass the baby to me, it was a huge help.  A few months in, I introduced a bottle feed so I could get more sleep. It’s not the answer for everybody but it meant a solid four hours sleep for me.

Have the conversation – how are we going to help each other get more sleep? This is still a conversation we are having in our house. It’s not perfect but at least we now take turns with weekend sleep-ins and the overnight shift.

Money and work

How will you manage your finances when the baby comes? Find out everything you need to know about your maternity leave and your partner's parental leave. How long do you both want to take off? How will you fund it? Will you be returning to full-time work? Who is going to be the main earner?

I hate talking about money so our finances were a bit messy at the start. I was lucky enough to have an excellent maternity package and a generous partner but we still needed to adjust our finances dramatically.

I had a year and a half away from work and entirely relied on my partner financially for the first time. I felt a little lost without my own income at first but we worked toward a new united approach with money.

Having a family made us join forces financially and it was a huge adjustment for both of us.

The money chat is long term and doesn't just stop after maternity leave but I wish I had discussed all our financial options before I had the baby.

Sex

I packed skinny jeans and G-strings in my hospital bag. I had no idea how fragile my body would be after birth.

Then there were six-weeks worth of secret women's business that involved the biggest undies and thickest pads you have ever seen. I did a six-week course on labour and that 27 hours flew by - I really needed to do a course on what to expect after birth.

It would be called: You will have sex and sleep again. Every mother needs to know that.

Want more real parenting talk? Listen to the This Glorious Mess podcast. 

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