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In This Together: Managing Partner Expectations

In This Together: Managing Partner Expectations

  • Parenthood is a learning experience, but it's always good to start learning early on with your partner before baby arrives!
  • Expectations can be hard to figure out at first, so we have some questions that all partners should go through if they would like a healthy, happy parenting experience.
Partner Expectations

Raising a baby is a serious commitment. You and your partner will have to navigate the rewarding but challenging journey of parenthood together. Setting expectations for the role you and your partner will play in your child’s life is important. The Pickles and Ice Cream® blog has multiple resources you can use to start this conversation with your partner. We recognize that families come from all walks of life; so the team pulled together some of the questions we’ve seen pop up as families ease into parenthood.


Q: How do I talk with my partner about household tasks and chores both during pregnancy and recovery?

A: Talk with your partner about how to share responsibilities in the household. This is especially important if your partner will need to take on new chores that they are not used to. It may be uncomfortable – especially if your relationship follows more traditional gender roles. One tip to help with these conversations is to have your partner go with you to see your provider. The provider can medically explain what chores you can do during and after your pregnancy. Over time and once you feel ready, you and your partner can bond by doing chores together.


Q: How can we take care of our mental health when parenting gets stressful?

A: Communication is key! If you have a history of mental health struggles, then it may be easier for you to identify your moods and triggers . However, the postpartum period may cause changes in your mood and mental health that you may not expect. It might help to sit down with your partner and create a mental health safety plan with ways to practice self-care. This can give them real steps they can take to support you when you are overwhelmed. Mental Health America has resources on seeking support from friends, family and your partner. You may find our Postpartum Care Plan Toolkit and peer support groups helpful too!


Q: Is it okay to ask friends and family to help us with the baby?

A: It’s totally okay! “It takes a village to raise a child” is not just a wise proverb; it’s a fact of life. Think about who you two trust to help with your baby and reach out to them. Some friends may really want to babysit. Other friends may want to help you cook meals or do laundry. Talking with them can help you all figure out how they can support you both and baby. You can research professional childcare options too. Remember, a strong and loyal support system can keep you from burning out!


Q: Will having a baby kill the spark of our relationship?

A: Parenthood comes with sacrifices, but it shouldn’t drain all the fun from your relationship. You two should still make time to go on dates and spend time together. Try some new date ideas (paint and sip, anyone?) that you were holding off during the pregnancy. Your support system can help you with this. Lean on them when you and your partner need some time to get away. Nurturing intimacy and interest in your relationship can help you find balance in your new role as parents.


Q: Will having a baby help our relationship?

A: This is an honest question that deserves an honest answer! Research is showing that babies learn from the relationships they see way before they even learn to speak. In fact, the parents’ relationship teaches babies what to expect from healthy relationships as they grow older. This evidence suggests that it helps for baby to be born into a strong and secure relationship.⁶ That can be easier said than done, but Love Is Respect’s Healthy Relationships Toolkit can help you and your partner be honest with each other.


Q: What if my child’s parent and I are not in a relationship and don’t live together?

A: You’re not alone. This is common and experts have a name for it: co-parenting. Co-parenting can happen for many reasons. What’s most important is that you two focus on the baby’s well-being. You can start by recognizing the signs of good co-parenting: communication, compromise, and forgiveness. You can visit HealthLine for more information about healthy co-parenting. You may also want to see if you are eligible for services that support single parents through your DFACS office.


Thanks for reading! The Pickles & Ice Cream Team hopes you find this information helpful.


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