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Episode 33 - Bringing Home Baby Part 2 - Q&A

Episode 33 Overview

This week I’m following up on our Bringing Baby Home episode by answering the questions you sent in. 👶How do I set up healthy boundaries with my in-laws before baby is born? 🙅‍♀️ What do I do about an anxious partner? 😬 Does my husband need to have a good job before we have a baby? 👔 Have more questions? Send them in! @firstyearmarried on Instagram or email me at kayla at 👌

Check out more podcast episodes and sign up for my free online class at

You can also check out Ruchi Koval's podcast here:  Out of the Orthobox

Go to Audible to listen to Alison Armstrong's workshop, The Amazing Development of Men (affiliate link). 


00:01 Episode 33, Q&A: Bringing Baby Home.

00:18 Welcome to the First Year Married Podcast, where we get real about building the marriage of your dreams. I'm marriage coach Kayla Levin, and I take newly married and engaged women from anxious and insecure to confident and connected, through practical tips, real life inspiration, and more than a little self-awareness along the way.

00:35 Welcome back, ladies. I hope you guys found last week's episode helpful. For those of you who are totally not in the head space of thinking about a new baby, well then I dedicate this week to all the catch-up that I keep hearing from you guys. I tend to hear one of two things from people who have discovered my podcast. First of all, I love hearing from you. It gives me so much of a boost, and this is a very one sided conversation, so I love it when I get to hear the other side. I either hear that you binge the podcast, the word "binge" is used more than 50% of the time that "I'm bingeing your podcast," which I just love because I can so relate, or I'm hearing, "I'm going back and I'm trying to catch up. I'm up to episode whatever," and they'll tell me what they're up to.

01:23 I just think that's so cool, and I am just so inspired that there are so many women out there who are just looking to take everything to a deeper level and grow from their marriages and improve their marriages and all of it. You guys are just so amazing. So for those of you who are trying to catch up, who feel like you're behind, if babies are not on the radar right now, you can just go ahead and skip this one and use this time to go back and catch up on some previous episodes.

01:51 Speaking of going back, also, if you haven't had a chance to take a minute and rate or review, specifically review the podcast, I would so, so, so appreciate your review. It really helps people when they're looking for something new to decide if it might be for them. So I'd love if you can share even the things that you've been sharing with me when you reach out to me and tell me what you've gained from it. That would be so helpful for somebody coming across the podcast for the first time. I would be so grateful. I read all those reviews and I really love to hear them.

02:22 Okay, so continuing with the questions from last week. Last week I shared several survival tips for new moms, and this week we're going to go into the questions that were sent in. I had some really awesome questions. I have four questions here about that transition to your first child. The first question was how to make healthy boundaries with a first child and in-laws? Okay. I love talking about boundaries, because somehow in our culture we've stumbled upon this sort of assumption that boundaries are like an actual thing, like boundaries are all written up in the sky and some people just aren't paying attention to them. Or people will say things like, "You need to teach him some boundaries," or, "Do that so he'll understand boundaries."

03:02 Boundaries are not a thing that exists outside of you. You decide the boundaries for yourself. So for instance, healthy boundaries, the first child and in-laws, if I'm going to go into a culture where children generally continue living with the grandparents once the grandchild is born, like the married couple goes and moves in with them, their concept of healthy boundaries is going to be very different than your concept in your own house, and the grandparents should call before they come over. That doesn't mean you don't get to assert your boundaries or you don't get to decide on your boundaries, but don't expect people know your boundaries, because you're making them up. And they're very good to make up. I like boundaries. I'm a big fan of boundaries, but we just need to come from it with that sort of understanding.

03:50 Okay. Sometimes we figure out our boundaries after they've been crossed. So someone will come over and they stay way too long and you're super burnt out and you feel like you have to entertain, and then they leave and you're like, how could they do that? And then what you need to sort of realize is like, okay, well I guess that was a boundary. There was a boundary that I had there. And so then you need to just decide for yourself, is it that you need people to call before they come over? Is it just that person or is it friends in general? Do they need to only stay for an hour? What is the thing that you really need from them? What is the boundary that if you had that boundary, this wouldn't have happened?

04:26 And then the next time that they're over, you can say either before it happens or right as it's happening, you can say, "Oh, you know what? I'm realizing here with this new baby and my recovery or just in general that I really do best with like one hour coffee dates. And it's so nice to have you over, but I really need to know that this is going to end in an hour and I can move on with my day or I just get so stressed out." Do you see how knowing your boundary means that you don't have to get riled up? You don't have to get offended. You don't have to sort of be disgusted by their lack of understanding. Just know that everyone has their own boundaries, and whatever they're doing, they probably think, most of the time people think they are behaving within normal boundaries.

05:04 So you would just tell them, you just give them information as if they didn't know that. It's like you're telling them you have an allergy. Like, "Oh thank you so much for the brownies. So sorry, I can't eat walnuts. So next time just please only bring me brownies ... walnuts, and I won't be eating these today." You're not going to be like, "How could you? Don't you know people don't eat walnuts, because they're allergic?" No, because it's just you. So you have that boundary.

05:23 Whenever you're dealing with boundaries, you're coming from a place of here's what I need. Here's specifically what is the boundary. And it's not going to be how they make you feel. It's what they're doing. So if you show up at my house without calling first, or if you stay past an hour or whatever the thing is, then I'm going to do what?

05:42 Here's what happens with boundaries. People will say like, "You can't make me feel that way," or, "You need to stop that," or, "You need to leave." This gets very frustrating very quickly, because you can't make someone else stop. You can't make someone else not make you feel a certain way. You can't make someone else leave. Also, "You can't make me feel that way" is completely vague. You only feel that way because of the thoughts that you're having about what they're doing, so totally not up to them. But anyway, that's a side point.

06:09 Whenever you're dealing with boundaries, you really want to articulate very clearly what the action is and then what the thing will be after the fact. Now, if you're coming from a pretty clear place in your head, you'll know if you can say some of these things in advance. You'll know if you can say, "Hey, I just wanted to give you a heads up. I'm kind of telling all my friends that I really just need a phone call before people stop by my house." You'll know if that's going to come from a place of like, hey, it's really open and it's comfortable and it's not personal, or if it's going to sound really sort of snarky and more of a personal attack.

06:43 The recommendation I generally give if people don't know, they're not in a place to be able to say that, is let them cross the boundary one more time. You'd basically just wait until they show up at your house unannounced, and then you say, "Hey, sorry, you can't do that." You know, this is a great one in terms of this can be used in your marriage. This can be used in any relationship. If your husband raises his voice, your husband is insulting you. Let's say he personally attacks you. He didn't take those marriage classes that you took or he doesn't know that information or he just is kind of being a jerk right now.

07:15 And you can say like, "I'm sorry, if you call me names then I'm going to go out of the house," or, "If you call me names, I'm going to leave the room," or, "If you call me names, I'm done with the conversation. We're going to have to wait for another day to continue the conversation." If you do x, I'm going to do y. In terms of this question, making healthy boundaries with the first child and your in-laws, the first thing to realize is that you have to decide what your boundaries are. Keep in mind that your in-laws are a part of your support network. So if there is a level to which you can loosen the boundaries more than you normally would because it will give you the support that you need, you may need to do some thought work on that. You might need to sort of work through that yourself. But it's worth considering.

07:57 You don't want to create so many boundaries that you lose your support network. So if they are that for you, if they can be that for you, then just keep that in mind when you're setting your boundaries. So decide what the boundaries are that you need. Tell them either in advance or as it's happening. And then just remembering that these boundaries aren't something that's just objectively true and everyone should know them, but that you're deciding them, and that's fine. That's exactly what you should be doing. That's the responsible thing to do. You're deciding your boundaries. If they change, let them know and then just let them know.

08:25 And the thing is that's great about this is it's you're just telling them what you're going to do if it happens. There doesn't need to be any emotional charge in this conversation. You don't need to be upset with them. You don't need to be offended by their behavior, anything like that. You're just informing them of the sort of consequence, and then you can move on and it doesn't have to be negative.

08:45 The next question, which I think is so great, this is one that I definitely have heard from different women over the years that I've been coaching newlyweds, is do I need to wait for my husband to get a good job to have a baby? Now, this is an interesting one, because this could first of all be applied to yourself. Do I need to myself have a good job before having a baby? For those of you who are thinking about either staying home with baby or taking an extended maternity leave, then for sure it's your husband, or you might even feel that you need both incomes to be solid and good before having a baby.

09:19 Now, I have my personal opinions about this, but I'm actually not going to share them. So what I really want to encourage the person who asked this question or anyone who does have this question is to really dig into it for yourself. This is one of those areas where you probably have a lot of external voices, external pressures of what is considered preparation or what is considered responsible. Or on the other hand, are your priorities right? Are you overly concerned? Are you trying to have all your eggs in the basket instead of just sort of living life and realizing the value of a baby? It could go either way. The pressure can really go either way. So the most important thing is really to get in touch with yourself.

10:04 Ultimately what we know is that no matter what kind of job you have before the baby comes, you don't know if you're going to have the job the day before the baby comes. None of these things are absolute guarantees. So what I want you to try and do is to really figure out, okay, like clean up your thoughts about this. What does it mean to you for your husband to have a good job? What do you call a good job? Is it a job that he's happy in?

10:28 One piece of homework I've been giving a lot lately has been the audiobook version from Audible, I'll link it in the show notes, of Alison Armstrong's workshop, The Amazing Development of Men. This is the one. There's two. If you go to and search Alison Armstrong, there's two different ones called The Amazing Development of Men. This is the one that's over three hours long. And what she does in that, is she talks about the different stages of development that men go through.

10:55 One thing that is very common, especially for people who marry young and who start families right away, which is going to happen specifically if you both come from a culture where people do marry young and have babies young, your husband is probably not in a phase in life where he's really figured out his groove professionally, and that's possibly true for you as well.

11:19 So it's really common in those scenarios for the first baby to come along before the real job thing has clicked, because it just takes a lot of years, and if you want to start a family younger, then that's just not a realistic expectation. On the other hand, does that mean he's unemployed? Does that mean he's not making any progress? Does that mean he's not taking some kind of job to be able to support the family, or the same for you? No. No. So I think for you, you want to get really crystal clear what is a good job, but also what is a good job for this phase in your life? My husband tried out several careers before he found the fit for him, and we had at least two kids by the time he got there.

12:02 So I don't think that he has to know what is going to be his long-term career. I don't think... Huh, I said I wasn't going to share my opinion, but oh well. Feel free to disregard my opinion as always, but here it is. I don't think that he needs to know exactly what his career is going to be. I don't think it needs to be a long-term prospect. I do think you need to feel the confidence and security that there will be food on the table, unless you are one of these people that is like so completely full of faith and trust or has really wealthy parents who are going to back you up, so that you're not actually really worried, you're not actually anxious. But that sort of baseline anxiety, you want to see what is it that for you is going to be too much?

12:43 As I spoke about in the last episode, having a beautifully furnished Pier One or whatever fancy, I don't even know what fancy furniture stores are, because they're so not relevant to me in my life, but having a fancy furnished nursery is definitely not a prerequisite for a happy childhood, and you don't need to worry about that. So again, final thing just to make sure I'm being clear with this person, what does a good job mean for you? Are your expectations fair given how long he's been in his career hunt? What do you actually need from his job? It might be that it's more important for you that he has the flexibility to be available shortly after the baby's born, or it might be important to you that you have the financial stability. Figure out what are the real key players there. Don't create your dream job, create your must needs job and then sort of go based on that.

13:32 Okay, here's a really cute one. Someone wrote in, "How to calm a worried husband that were not pregnant yet, and it's okay?" This is really great, because this is even preempting some of these other conversations. He gets anxious, she says, every time that she is a little bit late. So he's really getting very anxious when he thinks she might be. And then when she's not, he's a little bit nervous. It sounds like that maybe something might not be okay medically. She went on to tell me later how long they've been married and that she actually doesn't think that it's an issue.

14:02 I would say that sometimes we want to have the perfect answer to sort of fix whatever emotional thing is going on with our husband. Like if he seems critical or negative, we want to fix it and make that go away. But nine times out of 10, what we actually need to do is just figure out what is our thought about his thoughts. So if he's feeling worried and anxious, is there some component to that for you of he shouldn't be or this isn't appropriate or this isn't necessary or he's freaking me out or anything like that?

14:39 And remember, first of all, people often have more than one motivation for the way that they're acting. Choose the better one. Why not? Why not choose the better of the two? So if he's worried, then look how invested he is. Look how concerned he is. Look how badly he wants to have children. And also, when he's nervous that he thinks that maybe you are expecting, look how seriously he takes the role of father. So I would just suggest looking at the thoughts that are going on for you that's making that difficult, because ultimately if he's worried, you can't calm him. Because why is he worried? Because of what he's thinking, not because of what you're doing.

15:23 Our external world doesn't actually dictate our emotional experience. That's all in our thoughts. So the best thing you can do is to look at your reaction and why you're like... And even if it's not that, I'm not saying it has to be so negative, but even just enough, like whatever it was that was sort of like there's something enough off of this that I feel like I need to calm him. So why do you feel like you need to calm him? What if we just sit and let him be anxious? And then while you're at it, my recommendation would be just interpret all of that in the best possible way, because why not? It's great, and the chances are you're probably right anyway.

16:02 Ultimately, what I just want to sort of leave you with and recommend in terms of preparing for having a child is that one sort of common pattern that some women get into is becoming very possessive over the pregnancy, over the baby, over the parenting decisions. And look, that's an option, but I want to offer to you that this is an unprecedented opportunity to partner with your husband. This is an unbelievable chance to have that experience of here we are side by side looking out at the world.

16:39 So we're side by side, looking out at parenting, looking out at this child or this future, these goals, and to really start. Some of you, again, especially if you're starting to consider this shortly after marriage, you might not have had that long to really think through who you are as a couple. Even if you dated for a long time, there is a certain level of independence in dating that is different than what you get, first, when you get married, depending on if that dynamic does shift for you, and for sure once you start to have children, and really creating that relationship, that bond, that "us", not, I don't even want to say us against the world, you're not against anything, right? But us conquering the world, us on our adventure, us together.

17:31 And it's a hard thing to constantly keep in mind, but when you feel yourself or you notice yourself having a lot of thoughts about what he needs to do differently or what he's doing wrong or what you wish he would stop, that's when you know that you're not in that space of us. And what you want to question, remember, you always can just ask yourself a question, ask better questions. So can you ask yourself a question of like, how is he right right now? Or how is he pointing out something that I wouldn't have thought of?

18:03 One of the amazing things that I experienced with seeing how differently I parent from my husband, and that in itself is probably a whole podcast episode, was when I started doing research into child development and I started to see how some of the things that my husband had done with the kids that I felt like was too much roughhousing or it was a little too wild or it was too noisy or too whatever, because it was so different from the way that I was, and because I had all my reasons for the way I was as a parent and he was so different.

18:36 And then I had this real slice of humble pie when I read that all those things are really, really crucial for children and are really helpful for their development. And here I was thinking that I wish he would just parent a little more like me. So it's a really amazing... I feel like in the 10 years that we've been married, I don't know how many times I've really felt like the outcome was so different because both of us were involved, because in a lot of ways we do have similar values and we are very similar and we do do things in a similar way. But when it comes to parenting, you're going to bring half the game and he's going to bring the other half, and it's going to be different.

19:12 So starting off from the very beginning, really reminding yourself as many times as you need to that he's going to be an authority in this area just as much as you are and that you want him to be an authority. Two heads are better than one. You know what I mean? Like in the most simple way. Also, taking this as an opportunity to deepen that connection between the two of you, that partnership between the two of you, because when you get an opportunity to do that, you really want to grab it.

19:41 Wishing you all the best. Again, if you want to send in questions for another follow-up episode, I'd be more than happy to do so. We'll see you back here next week. Take care.

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