Unlike the first prenatal parent group meeting, not everyone showed up. Two couples did not come: expectant mom/dad who live in Uppsala and an expectant mom/grandma who live in Upplands Väsby.
This second meeting was not led by the midwife, but rather by two people from the Swedish church.
Their topic of the day: Relationships.
They talked a bit about the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship (surface level information): life is tough, having a baby complicates the relationship, make time for each other, support each other, etc.
They then kept the meeting quite interactive, either in small groups, as a large group, or with your partner.
We then broke up into groups, purposefully separated from our partners. In these groups we were to discuss what we need to have a strong loving relationship.
Expectant parents discussed typical things like supporting each other, listening to each other, discussing financial issues, and help each other feel good (see complete list [in Swedish] below).
After this, we broke for fika. During fika, several expectant parents joked and commented that we were receiving relationship advice from two members of the Swedish church. Apparently, being connected to the Swedish church, at least as far as relationships is concerned, isn’t so highly respected.
When class started back up, we played a game: To what extent do you agree with the following financial statement:
- I charge all of my items on a credit card.
- I just want to have new products for the baby.
- I like to save as much money as possible.
- I want to buy used baby products.
If you completely agreed, we were to walk to a woman and if we disagreed, we were to walk to a man (or end up somewhere in between). This would then inform us where we stood, especially relative to our partners. After talking with a few couples (and my own relationship)–no one seemed surprised about where they and their partner ended up. In other words, we all seemed to at least know the spending habits of our partners.
We then met one-on-one with our partners to discuss three things that we think will make our partner a great parent.
The night finished up with some communication tips:
- “I statements” were emphasized
- I feel; I need
- Remember to take a step back before having a big discussion
- Talk with each other when you start having feelings about something
Then just to be cheeky, I wrote”make-up sex”.
Turns out the leaders actually liked this (or it was coincidence), because then they went into a 10 minute diatribe about the importance of maintaining a healthy sex life and to talk with each other about your sexual feelings.
We then wrote down on a piece of paper things that turn us on–and we were to discuss that with our partners once we went home.
Lacking Couple Relationships within the Context of Parenting
The information covered was fine and fun, but had little to do with becoming a parent. I felt like the leaders could have tailored the meeting better to talk about relationships pre- and post-children: what to expect, and how to deal with problems while raising a child.
For example, how not to fight in front of the child, how the baby alters relationship roles, how conflicts can intensify when new parents are stressed and lacking sleep, how conversations become duller because of exhaustion from parenting, etc.
Oh well–you get what you pay for (#free).