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What We Thought

During pregnancy we all think about what life with a new baby is going to be like. We cannot really know this until we live it. Please think back to before your baby was born and mark the words that describe how you thought it was going to be.

   
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  1. During the pregnancy, how did you imagine you would feel after the baby was born?
    I would feel...
  Happy   Attractive
  Healthy   Irritable and cranky
  Strong   That breastfeeding is easy
  That I would have lots of leisure time   Well supported
  Defeated   Loving
  The loss of my old life   Protective
  Anxious   Glad
  Grown up   Immediate love for the baby
  That looking after the baby will be easy   Uncertain
  Excited   Resentful
  Lonely   That the house will be tidy
  Constantly tired   Burdened by responsibility
  Confident      
 
2. Before you had the baby, how did you think your relationship with each other would be
    once the baby was born? We would be…
  Helping each other   Arguing more
  A lot closer to each other   Spending time with friends together
  Critical of each other   As attractive to each other
  Exasperated   Sharing the housework fairly
  Understanding of each other   Loving each other more
  Needing lots of reassurance   More dependent
  Supportive of each other   Jealous of each other
  Keeping our sense of humour   Happier together
  Proud of our achievement together   Disappointed
  Spending more time together   Resentful of the baby coming between us
 
3. Before you had the baby, how did you think a new baby would behave?
    I thought a new baby would …
  Sleep a lot   Be easy to understand
  Be content   Fit easily into our lives
  Smile   Cry a lot
  Recognise me   Interact with me
  Be unpredictable   Feed easily
  Be easy to care for   Be healthy
  Always look beautiful   Be enjoyable
  Be quiet   Be easy to comfort

  1. During the pregnancy, how did you imagine you would feel after the baby was born?
    I would feel...
  Happy   Attractive
  Healthy   Irritable and cranky
  Strong   That breastfeeding is easy
  That I would have lots of leisure time   Well supported
  Defeated   Loving
  The loss of my old life   Protective
  Anxious   Glad
  Grown up   Immediate love for the baby
  That looking after the baby will be easy   Uncertain
  Excited   Resentful
  Lonely   That the house will be tidy
  Constantly tired   Burdened by responsibility
  Confident    
 
2. Before you had the baby, how did you think your relationship with each other would be
    once the baby was born? We would be…
  Helping each other   Arguing more
  A lot closer to each other   Spending time with friends together
  Critical of each other   As attractive to each other
  Exasperated   Sharing the housework fairly
  Understanding of each other   Loving each other more
  Needing lots of reassurance   More dependent
  Supportive of each other   Jealous of each other
  Keeping our sense of humour   Happier together
  Proud of our achievement together   Disappointed
  Spending more time together   Resentful of the baby coming between us
 
3. Before you had the baby, how did you think a new baby would behave?
    I thought a new baby would …
  Sleep a lot   Be easy to understand
  Be content   Fit easily into our lives
  Smile   Cry a lot
  Recognise me   Interact with me
  Be unpredictable   Feed easily
  Be easy to care for   Be healthy
  Always look beautiful   Be enjoyable
  Be quiet   Be easy to comfort

  1. During the pregnancy, how did you imagine you would feel after the baby was born?
    I would feel...
  Happy   Attractive
  Healthy   Irritable and cranky
  Strong   That breastfeeding is easy
  That I would have lots of leisure time   Well supported
  Defeated   Loving
  The loss of my old life   Protective
  Anxious   Glad
  Grown up   Immediate love for the baby
  That looking after the baby will be easy   Uncertain
  Excited   Resentful
  Lonely   That the house will be tidy
  Constantly tired   Burdened by responsibility
  Confident    
 
2. Before you had the baby, how did you think your relationship with each other would be
    once the baby was born? We would be…
  Helping each other   Arguing more
  A lot closer to each other   Spending time with friends together
  Critical of each other   As attractive to each other
  Exasperated   Sharing the housework fairly
  Understanding of each other   Loving each other more
  Needing lots of reassurance   More dependent
  Supportive of each other   Jealous of each other
  Keeping our sense of humour   Happier together
  Proud of our achievement together   Disappointed
  Spending more time together   Resentful of the baby coming between us
 
3. Before you had the baby, how did you think a new baby would behave?
    I thought a new baby would …
  Sleep a lot   Be easy to understand
  Be content   Fit easily into our lives
  Smile   Cry a lot
  Recognise me   Interact with me
  Be unpredictable   Feed easily
  Be easy to care for   Be healthy
  Always look beautiful   Be enjoyable
  Be quiet   Be easy to comfort

!
 

Learning from your answers

Having a baby is a permanent life change and cannot really be imagined in advance. Most of us anticipate happiness and pleasure, but are less prepared for the inevitable loneliness, times of boredom and sense of being unskilled. We usually expect that other people will help more than they actually do and that it will be quite straightforward. 

It can be helpful to think back to how we imagined it would be and then to think about how it actually is. The differences and disappointments give us hints about what to do. For example, if you feel lonelier than you had imagined, then it is time to build some new friendships with other families with new babies. You may also realise that some of your expectations come from your experience in your family of origin. This is important to recognise and discuss with your partner.

This webpage last updated 27 February 2014.