It goes without saying that life changes completely once a baby is brought into the picture – and while that doesn’t mean you can no longer do certain things after having a baby, it’s worth being aware that some things might just be best or easier done before, if possible.
NB: I’ve just released a video of this same topic on my Youtube Channel but I thought it’s also a good one to have in writing for those who prefer reading. If you enjoy watching videos too, though, be sure to check it out. Each platform has something unique about it so it’s still fresh content in its own way! 😀
Back to the point. I’ve thought of 5 things that I’m glad I did before having Ben; both material and not. I even had a chat about them with Chris and he’s in full agreement, so I guess you could say this works from a couple’s perspective too. So here they are:
Big Home Projects
Putting up a wall or knocking one down? Installing gypsum ceilings? Painting a room? Buying new furniture? Redoing your outdoor space? All of these things require time, mess, and money and are far from convenient once you have a baby. Especially if it’s going to affect the way you live, where you sleep, or will be considered a financial burden and just “extra”, I’d really recommend that all planned and foreseeable projects are done before having a baby.
It’s also worth adding that in our case, we bought our apartment – we never rented. (We never even considered renting, we don’t do trial periods haha… It’s go big or go home for us :D) But I know people who are renting and say they want to be homeowners before having a baby too, which definitely makes sense wherever possible!
Some of the last projects we did:
Going on Holiday
Chris and I were never big travellers – we enjoy it but it’s never really been a priority. Having said that, when it came to planning our honeymoon, when trying to decide on whether to do something small or go all out, we considered that this would be the only time we’ll allow ourselves to splurge (ish) and really treat ourselves, so we wanted to do it right. We spent more than we would on any other holiday, and it was the most relaxing and fun thing we’ve ever done. We always look back on it and the lovely memories we have, and are very glad we took that decision.
It’s not that you can’t go abroad or have fun family holidays once you have kids – we actually really look forward to having them in the future. But I think it’s really valuable to have one big relaxing spoil-yourself kind of holiday, before little ones come along. 🙂
Getting a Dog
Many people argue that you can’t compare a dog to children – which is true to a certain extent, but there also are many ways that you can compare them, and getting a dog serves as great practice for having a baby.
Dogs are a huge commitment and your life changes once you bring one into your home. (Especially if you get a puppy!! I can’t imagine going through the puppy stage while also coping with a baby!)
And aside from the fact that they’re a commitment, they also provide a great opportunity to learn a lot about yourself and your partner when it comes to things like discipline, correction, training, sharing responsibilities, shifting priorities… things that you’re less likely to realise without having a dog. Many important conversations will be had, and you’ll be thankful you dealt with them before having a baby.
Working on my Mental Health
As someone who’s struggled with my mental health for many years, I knew that my chances of suffering post-partum were even higher, so I made it a point to make my mental health a priority. I started therapy again in March 2020, before getting pregnant – I was dealing with lots of other things and I knew that pregnancy and having a baby would take their toll on me if I didn’t take proper care of myself. I had to fill my own cup.
I’m so pleased to say that I’m really doing okay – and I’m sure it’s all thanks to the hard work that I’ve put in. It’s also so important to know what signs to look out for, where to go for help, and to understand what’s going on in your head and your body as much as possible. Stress, hormones, physical changes, life changes, financial changes, all of these and more can really impact your mental health – it’s not something to be underrated. 🙂
Working on my Marriage
The way I see it, your marriage doesn’t have to be in a bad place for you to work on it. On the contrary – work on your marriage consistently to avoid it getting into a bad place at all. Chris and I have a great relationship, and I’m sure that one of the reasons for that is because we work so hard on it. We make a really great team. ❤
I talk a lot about how the marriage preparation course did wonders for our relationship, and when I was pregnant, the organisers of that course were also running an online marriage course, and I’m so glad we did it. People would think “you’ve only been married a short while, why would you do a course?” But honestly, it’s always a good idea. Whether you’ve been married for a year, 10 years, or 50.
Especially before a big change such as having a baby, preparing yourself for it, figuring out your goals as a family and working together towards them, learning and understanding traits about yourself and your partner, and just taking a step back and digging a little deeper are all incredibly beneficial, and I’m extremely grateful for the timing of it all because we felt much more prepared to welcome Ben into the world.
Having a baby is the biggest blessing and I’m so eternally grateful for our son. And I’m also grateful that Chris and I were in the place we were – mentally, physically, financially… when Ben came into our lives. Nothing ever fully prepares you for the changes that having a baby brings about – but having certain things in the bag is definitely helpful.
Parents – is there anything you’re glad / you wish you did before having a baby? And those who don’t have kids but want to, is there anything you’d like to do before? Let me know! 🙂
Until next time,