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READY FOR PARENTING: Mate matters and more

Many parents will tell you that no matter what you do to get ready for a baby, you will still never be fully prepared. Most of the surprises are ones that you would not change for the world. But they’ll also remind you that you have just accepted the most important challenge in your life.

Much of the work, care and juggling that goes with parenting needs to be sorted through. Parents work together more now to balance jobs with child raising. And even though partners are taking on a greater role than dads of the past, women still carry most of the family load. Couples still pondering family life are weighing the ups and downs of what could lie ahead.

From the time you learn about a pregnancy until your baby is 18 months old, you can expect to face some tough times in your relationship. Planning and thinking through the idea of parenting before pregnancy may be the healthiest way to make sure you are as ready as you can be.

Fill the columns "Time before baby" with the hours or minutes you spend on the tasks every week. Imagine what it will be like after you have had a baby. How will your time be filled? What changes can you make to get all your tasks done?

Keep in mind that, for the first 6 weeks after delivery, the mother is often very busy with important roles such as:

  • Recovering from pregnancy, labour and delivery.
  • Attaching and bonding with the baby.
  • Establishing breastfeeding.

Beyond time…what babies really mean to you

Now put aside your mental picture of the demands a new family member can place on your household and think about the big picture.

Compare your rating with your partner’s. Talk about reasons for the rating to see how that guides your decision about having children. If you find your feelings are quite different, now is the time to think about it and work it through.

Surviving the early stages

  • Who will do the house cleaning in the first few weeks? Or does it really need to be done?
  • Who will do the laundry in the first few weeks?
  • When will mom have time for her own baths and other care?
  • Who will make the meals?
  • Who will handle the baby’s medical check-ups?
  • Whose help will you actively solicit in the first few weeks?
  • How will you spend time together as a couple in the first few weeks?

Easing into parenthood…

  • Ask a public health nurse about services for health before, during and after pregnancy.
  • Chat with parents of young children about what they have been through.
  • Find out about community services for families of young children.
  • Talk to your partner about how you will share the work.
  • Talk to your family about how they can help.



Family and friends

Local public health unit: 1-800-267-8097

Local Ontario Early Years Centre: 1-866-821-7770

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