No matter how many times they were warned, few new parents are prepared for the life-changing event of the birth of their first child. No more sleeping in on Saturday, then heading to your favorite restaurant for brunch with friends. These leisurely activities are replaced with sleepless nights and endless diaper changes.
It’s no surprise then that many couples feel a disconnect after the birth of their first child. This is the time when focus (especially the new mom’s) very suddenly and drastically shifts towards the baby. And, since couples spend less time focused on each other’s needs, the romance and intimacy declines and resentment and anger takes its place.
Though it will take a bit of work, there are things new parents can do to ensure they stay committed to each other and the relationship while still providing their new baby with plenty of love and attention. Here are three ways you can stay more connected after having a baby.
Keep the Friendship Alive
The healthiest couples are the ones who are best friends. And it is within this friendship that intimacy is born and lives. But, when you’re both exhausted and scared and frustrated, it’s easy to see each other as the enemy.
If you want to keep the passion alive, you’ve got to focus on keeping the friendship alive. Simply try and use whatever energy you have at the end of the day to be nice to one another. Ask how their day was. Ask what needs to be done around the house. Make them laugh. Get them a beer, rub their feet. Small kindnesses will go a long, long way toward keeping you both connected.
Allow Each Other to Vent
Along with a fussy baby who seems to need something every 20 minutes (all night long), the both of you will still be dealing with other life stressors, like the commute to work, noisy neighbors, and a car that starts when it feels like it.
In order for you to feel like you’re on the same side – like you’ve got each other’s back – it’s important that you allow each other to vent about the frustrations of your day as separate from the relationship. This way you will gain each other’s support and show empathy. And, when both parties feel heard and supported, you stand a much better chance of getting rid of any unwanted tension.
Be Gentle with Each Other
When you are exhausted and at your wits end, it’s entirely too easy to take it out on each other. And, there will no doubt be plenty of times when the two of you are in disagreement about something. When this happens, be sure to always treat your partner gently, as gently as you’re treating your new baby. Staying calm and respectful will keep you connected to each other.
The biggest thing you can do to stay connected is to be aware both of each other’s needs and your own behavior. If you spend time and energy focused on creating a strong relationship, you and your partner will thrive during 3 o’clock feedings and beyond.
Some couples may find they need a therapist to help them reconnect. If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.