Why, oh why do you have to be pregnant for nine months? It’s such a long time! Yet every one of those days is important for your baby. His brain will grow, his lungs will mature. She will have eyelashes and she will be able to breastfeed wonderfully. They will even sleep some at night! All these things, your baby will grow into during those first nine months.
And then there’s us. We change in those nine months too. We give up smoking. We think about the way we eat, and improve – knowing that what we are putting into our bodies is growing our baby. Keep him healthy and safe.
We make plans for postpartum. We plan and scheme to get as much time off as we can afford. It’s never enough! Or we figure out a way to trade some monetary sacrifice for the delight of staying home for a while.
Dream, dream. Dream of that day when you will be a happy family.
But we don’t do it alone. There is family to consider. My own experience has been with my own partner – who happens to be a husband – but there are lots of ways this works.
Here’s a little exercise – a way to talk to your partner, your family, about how you build your house into the home you are dreaming of.
At the top of your house, put your roof. We’re getting creative here – don’t think about those first years with that cuddly baby. Look down the road a piece – to when your child is, say, seven years old. What do you want to be able to do and be together? Put those words inside your roof.
This is not as simple as you might think. Many of us have very nebulous ideas about what life will be like in the future….You don’t have to finish this all at once, so take your time and come back to it, before and after you build the next piece.
Next we are going to look at our foundations. And when I say “our” – I mean you and your family, as well as our little graphic here.
What do you and your partner have going on in your minds and hearts that is part of your family foundation? I grew up in a house where the dad spent time with kids outside. When I smell cut oak lumber, it is a strong reminder of my dad. He was a big guy with a temper though – and I was pretty afraid of him for a long time. My mom loved to read magazines and try new recipes, and part of loving her family meant cooking regular, healthy meals.
My husband can’t remember his dad ever having fun with him. Wow! His mom was one of the favorites in her big family (nine kids!) so they spent lots of time with her family.
Here’s what I would put in our foundation based on those facts, along with some other foundation facts that are pretty common.
So now comes the big challenge. How are we going to get from the cellar up to the attic? Do you want to stay stuck in your own assumptions, or work to get the kind of kids and the kind of family you’re dreaming of?
Draw some lines and finish your house.
I love working with pregnant and new parents. We all want to be good moms and dads, and we all want to do better than our parents did with us. But it doesn’t happen magically – there is work to be done.
Do it now, talk about your dreams and hopes and frustrations. And know that you can get to that dream home – that dream family – little by little as you grow and change.
There are a lot of people whose favorite phrase is “Just you wait…..” If you are having a nice pregnancy, they say “just you wait for that first night home” and if you are having a nice time home in the first weeks they will say “just you wait until you go back to work” and if that’s okay they will say “just wait until he’s two” “…four” “…a teenager.
The Just You Wait People never enjoy anything, and they don’t want you to either. Misery loves company, after all., So frustrate their plans by making your own, and build your house slowly and surely, with love.
And Just You Wait – it’s wonderful to be a family! You will grow and change in ways you never knew possible. You, your partner and your baby. Just you wait!