It doesn’t seem that long ago that I sat across a coffeehouse table listening to my then-single friend Suzanne share with me about her new love interest, Kevin. The year was 2008.
Or that our three oldest girls attended what was their first wedding in September 2009. Yep, you guessed it … Suzanne and Kevin’s! Here’s a photo I dug out from that day. You’ll notice one of my girls getting comfortable in the back row.
Now, a little over 5 years after they promised “I do,” Suzanne and Kevin are parents to three kids: one boy and two girls. Suzanne has also just released a brand-new book for soon-to-be first-time parents titled Expectant Parents: Preparing Together for the Journey of Parenthood. It’s a book I wish had been around when we prepared to welcome our first daughter into the world.
For those of you expecting your first baby or who know someone who is, I highly recommend it. And to give you a taste of what to expect in it, here’s an interview with Suzanne. She shares how a new baby affects marriage, what makes this book different from others out there, and her #1 piece of advice for expectant parents.
New moms are inundated with so much information about pregnancy and childbirth. What makes Expectant Parents stand out from other resources for soon-to-be parents?
Many pregnancy resources give soon-to-be parents health information and practical advice on newborn topics, such as diapering, sleep schedules and doctors’ visits. Expectant Parents focuses on what you can do during this unique season to prepare emotionally, socially and spiritually for being parents. It’s also a marriage book, in that it offers a lot advice from experts about strengthening your relationship with your spouse in preparation for the adjustment of adding an infant to the family.
Some parents don’t think their relationship with their spouse will change after baby arrives. In what ways is it sure to change?
I think the biggest change is bringing another person into your relationship. The two of you are no longer relating only to one another, you are also each relating to the baby. A lot of the dads I talked to identified “sharing their wife with the baby” as the biggest change they experienced. Moms tend to adapt naturally to nurturing the baby, so a mom can easily start making everything about the baby and ignoring her husband’s needs.
In the book, I talk about how couples need to be extra-intentional during this season to connect with one another emotionally, keep intimacy alive and communicate their expectations and needs. We refer to a “marriage-centered home,” which is a home where the couple looks to Christ and makes their marriage a priority. This type of home holds deep and lasting benefits for children as they observe their parents modeling a healthy marriage.
What are some ways couples can and should connect during pregnancy?
Knowing they’ll have less quality one-on-one time once the baby arrives, I encourage parents to embrace the season of pregnancy as a time to really enjoy each other. That might mean taking a special trip, planning a few more date nights or just making time for intentional conversations. Pregnancy can be a very romantic time for couples, so they should take advantage of that and work on building solid communication skills and unity that will serve them well as they tackle parenthood together.
What is the number-one piece of advice from Expectant Parents you would share with parents for preparing for delivery day?
Be flexible with your expectations! You may be planning on natural childbirth but end up needing a C-section. The most important thing is a healthy mom and a healthy baby. So go in prepared, but be ready to let go of your idea of an ideal birth experience if you need to. Also, invite God to be part of the experience. Pray during labor. Listen to worship music. Have someone write memory verses on your white board. Do whatever it takes to remind yourself that God is with you and a huge part of this amazing miracle.
For more information about Suzanne Hadley Gosselin or Expectant Parents visit her website here.