There’s no doubt about it, as wonderful and magical as having a baby can be…it’s also a time full of overwhelm and mixed emotions, and can be one heck of a strain on a relationship.
Recognising when things are perhaps getting a bit tetchy, and ensuring that amongst the nappies and nightfeeds your relationship is placed as a priority, is key to surviving the ‘baby storm’, and hopefully emerging together stronger than ever.
Some of the most common problems and solutions are:
1 – Competitive Tiredness
Sleep (or lack of it) is undoubtedly the main cause of short tempers and bickering. Try to do ‘sleep shifts’, it might not be the most fun initially, but needs must, and it wont last long… If it’s possible if you’re bottle feeding (breast or formula milk), take in turns to do the night feeds so one of you is able to sleep for a chunk of time. Getting some unbroken sleep to catch up will do wonders for your mood.
2 – Getting back ‘on the horse’
Having sex after you’ve had a baby can be a wholly stressful situation for both involved. Mum might be feeling a tad apprehensive physically after birth, especially if it was a tricky one, and Dad might also be feeling concerned about broaching the subject and how best to ‘do it’, so to speak, to ensure it isn’t uncomfortable or painful. Talk to each other, make sure the doctor has given the physical ok, and when you both feel ready, start with lots of cuddles and kissing, and then introduce further intimacy slowly so you’re both feeling comfortable and confident.
3 – Finding Time Together
Your new little one understandably takes up most of your time, energy and focus, but this can leave giving eachother time and attention pretty sparse. Try and find some time each day even to have just a cuddle and cuppa together. Be careful not to just let your relationship ‘be’ and go unattended, you might not feel like you have enough energy to look after baby and your marriage, but it’s the small things that make all the difference. A compliment here, a shoulder rub there…it all helps keep that connection and love going.
4 – Finding your role
It’s no longer just the two of you and that can be a pretty daunting experience. Nothing can prepare you for it until the moment your little one joins your family and suddenly the ‘roles’ can shift or be redefined. Dad might feel a bit redundant in those early weeks as Mum recovers from birth and establishes a feeding pattern. She might be overwhelmed and preoccupied with her new little person, and Dad might also be jostling for his role and position between both mum and baby, perhaps feeling a tad rejected. It’s a time of change, and change can be scary, but as time goes on, ensure you keep talking to each other and explaining how you feel, where you feel you fit in, and how your new family can work together to ensure everyone feels loved and valued.
5 – Taking Me Time
A great relationship isn’t necessarily one where you spend 24/7 together, in fact ‘you time’ is super important in keeping you fit and healthy mentally and emotionally. It will also do wonders for your marriage as you utilise time by yourself to rest, recharge and do something which makes you feel good. Perhaps an exercise class, a beauty treatment, sitting in the garden reading a magazine…whatever makes you feel happy and relaxed, ask your other half for some babysitting time, and enjoy some ‘you time’ to de-stress – you all win.