A Few Questions...
You've Decided to Have a Baby - What About...
The decision to have a baby is a huge one...especially for young couples who have enough to deal with just settling decisions about where to live and how to handle day-to-day challenges. The decision to have a baby is just the first of many. Once a couple has decided to have a baby, they are then faced with decisions concerning religion, breastfeeding, naming, circumcision and countless other factors that are never considered outside of the realm of childbearing.
Often, with the first child, some things don't even enter the radar screen. Perhaps the pregnancy was a surprise or there may have been a lot of stress around the pregnancy. When a second child is on the way, suddenly everything that wasn't thought about the first time comes up for discussion with the second.
If this is the first pregnancy, the questions that beg answers may not always be asked. So, we will ask them.
Religion - Who Thought About Religion?
What about religion? For some families, religion is a "no-brainer". We were raised Catholic, we married Catholic and we will raise our kids that way. But, what if one of you is one faith and the other another? How does a couple compromise? Or do they? Perhaps the place to start in a situation like this is to discuss values and morals. Allow the things that are most important to both of you be the guidelines and let the other things go. It is normal and healthy for couples to forge their "family system" together and thereby move from couple to family. If a couple is on the fence concerning religion, it's important to leave the door open to change and adapt. Having a baby can really alter the way a couple looks at religion.
Breast or Bottle? Are You Going to Have to Fight for This?
And, what about breastfeeding? For some women it is a non-issue. For others, it's a huge decision. Sometimes the decision is made for the woman - for instance, in the event of inverted nipples or some other physical situation. The decision to breastfeed is a very personal one and one that should be decided by the woman and her partner. Often there is pressure to do things a certain way and if that way doesn't mesh with their plans, they have to be strong enough to weather the ensuing storm.
If a woman decides to nurse her baby, preparation is important. There are times when nursing can be very difficult and painful. Sometimes it is hard to get started. Proper education beforehand can be of great benefit, as can a good support system. There are clinics, consultants and groups to help a woman with breastfeeding and it can be very helpful if she's having a hard time of it all.
What Do You Mean You're Not Circumcising Him!
Circumcision is generally based on religious beliefs or on the fact that the father of the child is circumcised. If circumcision is a religious fact, then generally there is no discussion - it's done. But, if there is room for discussion, then it is wise for the couple to investigate the practice and make their decision based on education rather than on outside pressures.
It's A Family Affair
When it comes to making decisions that will have an impact upon your entire family, do whatever you can to tackle the hard issues before the baby arrives. When you're exhausted from birthing a baby, you're in no shape to make monumental decisions.