After the birth, it’s tempting to devote all your energy to your baby. But saving a little bit of care and attention for your partner – and yourself – will improve everyone’s lives.
Few things are as wonderful as a newborn baby – and few require so much care. From the moment your little one arrives on the scene, he or she will be dependent on you for food, shelter and love.
In such circumstances, it’s only natural that your relationships with others take a back seat for a while. But it’s important for your emotional health and that of your family to spare a little time and energy to connect with your partner. You’ll find life easier and parenting more enjoyable if you can work as a team.
As you move ahead, try to keep these three tips in mind.
Be prepared for change
Whether you want it to or not, having a baby will change your relationship with your partner. The change won’t necessarily be for the worse, and quite often it will be for the better, but it will definitely occur. With a fragile young human being on the scene, you’re likely to see your partner in a totally new light, as you both rise to the new challenges being presented to you. At the same time, there simply won’t be as much alone time, and you’ll have to work harder at making each other feel special and loved.
When you stagger out of bed at 3am for the fourth time that night, it’s easy to feel that the world is falling apart. You’re tired, impatient and cranky, and there’s a strong temptation to start resenting your partner for the smallest things. Suddenly, you have a full-blown battle of wills on your hands. Good communication can help. Try to clearly (and gently) tell your partner what you’re feeling and what you need, and allow them to help and get involved. Try to pick your battles and not sweat the small stuff too much, and encourage your partner to do the same. It can be a time fraught with frustration, confusion, exhaustion, helplessness and isolation. So, be kind to one another and try to be more patient than you have been in the past. Raising Children is an excellent resource aimed at helping couples manage the pressures they face when they become new parents.
Make time for each other
Make time for the two of you to connect each day, whether that involves putting bub in the pram and going for a walk together each evening or having a cup of tea and a chat in the mornings before work or the baby wakes up. Schedule a date night as often as you can during which you go and spend time without the baby and discuss each other’s lives and interests. Remember that the only reason your baby is here is probably because you and your partner love each other enough to create a child together. Parents.com offers a go-to guide for getting back on track and keeping the spark alive.
Try not to forget, while this may not be an easy time, if you approach it as a united team, life with your partner will be more full, fun and worthwhile. After the trying times, you’re likely to emerge stronger and more united than you’ve ever been. You may even start to think about sex. The Mayo Clinic discusses how best to approach this and provides tips for recommencing your sex lives post birth.