Written by Donat a/k/a The Vegan Hubby
The sheer number of decisions that one has to make for our children is both astounding and fascinating to me. Before they are even born (or conceived even!) a hundred different decisions have already been decided about their future fate.
Driving back from one of our birth classes, wifey and I were discussing some of the things we part of the day’s workshop. We were talking about the pros and cons of yet another piece of the baby puzzle. It hit me at that moment just how many of these sorts of discussions we have already had and will continue to have in the near and distant future. These include everything from what vitamins to take before we even began trying, to the actual birth, to what we plan on doing after the baby is born.
Now I don’t mind these conversations, in fact I like them a lot. They provide tons of insight and clarity on how we both feel about different issues and we virtually always agree on what the “right” thing to do is. What really interests me is just how much of the baby’s life has already been decided without any input on their part. Obviously, he/she hasn’t even been born yet, he/she won’t even be able to talk for a while and certainly cannot make any informed decision for many years to come. It’s just that I never realized that (a) there were so many decisions to make and (b) that so many of them would have to be made far in advance. I think it might also be noted that we are probably not the typical expecting couple in the sense that we have thought about many things for a long time before getting pregnant, we’ve spent hours and hours researching information and we are probably a lot more proactive than most people. I am also quite all right with that considering the average couple in the U.S. is considerably overweight, malnourished and uninformed.
Deciding on what we believe to be the right thing is often an interesting process. Most of the time we make our decisions based on the conventional wisdom that is out thanks to reading up on articles, studies and books that are well respected (i.e. birth plan, diet, exercises). Sometimes we base our decisions on experiences we have personally already had (i.e. future schooling, raising, etc.). Other times we make them because despite what science or success stories have to say, we are just not doing it as it does not resonate with us at all (i.e. placenta consumption). This mix of intellect, experience and intuition just feels like the best way to go through everything in life, babies included.
Thanks to all of our “decision conversations”, wifey and I have developed great communication and decision-making strategies. I have heard some couples struggle in this particular time in their relationship because they have never had such important decisions to make and they now realize how strong each person’s opinions are on baby-related topics. One super important way we have avoided arguments over these things is we discussed them well in advance. Before we even got engaged, I knew a lot about what she was expecting on certain baby topics. This was key because there were no big surprises as to what we wanted. The other essential strategy I noticed we use is that no decision is set in concrete on the day of the discussion. When we do happen to have opposing viewpoints, we both calmly express our respective views and then discuss the pros and cons of each together. After we finish talking about the topic we would end with agreeing to both do further research on the topic at hand and return to it at a later date. Every single time so far we have either come to the same conclusion in the end or at the very least found a suitable compromise that makes both of us happy, which is often a novel idea that neither of us had thought of originally and only time had revealed.
Our baby decision-making process has been wonderful on so many levels so far and we are both super excited to continue on our parenting journey!