Adapt this exercise to your particular circumstances. You can repeat this exercise with a supportive friend and compare your family experiences. Find out what you can learn from your friends. If you are a single parent, identify someone you can depend on for emotional support in parenting. Many single mothers can benefit from friends who want involvement with a child without taking full responsibility for one of their own.
Discuss the blueprints for parenting that you and your partner received. You can use the following questions as a guide for discussion.
- What were the messages you received about yourself from each of your parents? Were they accurate or not? How did you feel about these messages?
- What strengths do you bring to parenting from your childhood experiences? What weaknesses do you bring from your childhood experiences?
- How will you and your partner help each other with parenting?
- How do you see yourselves working as a parenting team to nurture each other and your child?
- How do you feel about each other as parents?
- What are your feelings about raising a boy? about raising a girl?
- What kind of mother or father do you think your partner will be?
- What feelings did this exercise bring up for you?
Each of you will have strengths you bring to parenting and each of you will bring weaknesses. Find out what these are and plan to help each other with your respective blind spots. For example, if you feel you may be overly critical, or you see that your partner compensates for his father's strictness by never saying "no," discuss these concerns now. Your communication can strengthen your relationship and bring you a sense of security and confidence that will benefit you in labor.
Copyright 1993 by Shadow and Light Publications. Reprinted with permission from the author and publisher. This excerpt may not be reproduced in any manner, including electronic, without prior written consent from the publisher.
An Easier Childbirth : A Mother's Guide for Birthing Normally is available for purchase at Amazon.com