Your relationship with your partner will change after you have a baby. There’s absolutely no way around it, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing!
Just like preparing for your baby, you must also prepare for adjustments with your spouse. It’s not just you two anymore, and you’ll need to change some of your dynamics to compensate for this.
During your pregnancy, you and your partner both get a glimpse of what a world with your baby in it would look like. However, the time spent doing doctor visits, planning a baby shower, and childproofing your house is a small fraction of what it’ll be like in real-time.
A newborn is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week commitment. If you have familial, friendly, or financial support, then it can be easier for your relationship. However, many families do not have outside support. Time you’d usually spend with yourself or sharing with your partner will easily be cut to less than half.
But, don’t panic! You’re not the first or last couple to experience these time-sensitive issues. First, your baby won’t be a newborn forever. They’ll eventually start to become independent month by month, and soon day by day.
Second, there are ways to manage your time wisely, so keep reading.
One way to increase the value of your time together is through communication. If you’re feeling like you don’t have time together, let it be known! It may feel like it’s obvious, but honor your need to express yourself. Then, figure out what to do about it.
Can you afford a nanny for the evening or part of the day? Can you set aside a night or two after your baby is asleep that’s exclusively for you and your partner to be together? Is there a way to include your child in an activity you both love?
Chances are there are ways to make things happen, but you will have to get creative and understand that ultimately, there is no longer just the two of you. Though it may feel as if it’s always about your baby, and it may very well be, see this as an opportunity to include this new, beautiful being into your relationship because the time truly does go by quickly!
You may also want to communicate early on about parenting styles and what things are always a priority. If one of you had a close relationship with your mother and the other didn’t, it can cause a rift in expectations of what a mother “should” or “shouldn’t” do.
Furthermore, you both could have agreed to never leave dishes in the sink at night, but now you leave it be for the morning. Silent expectations and prior rituals must be communicated because they may no longer work in this new dynamic.
If it’s all too much to handle, you may need to consider speaking to a professional who can offer advice from a non biased perspective. Involving friends and family members can cause more problems that are harder to solve.
It’s amazing how helping mom with a 30 minute baby task can give her time to rejuvenate. That means later on when you want to give each other massages, she has some energy for it and doesn’t fall asleep. This may seem like a silly example, but ask any mom how it feels to be “off duty” for 30 minutes. She’ll be so thankful!
Sharing childcare duties and housework are wonderful ways to easily free up little bits of time to help each other balance out your new roles. It’s one of the new ways of showing your partner you care about them.
When these duties aren’t shared, it can quickly build some resentment that can harm the relationship in many ways. We may need to remember that our partner isn’t purposefully ignoring certain responsibilities, or if they are, there may be a good reason like having a tough day at work.
Sometimes in sharing these duties, it can end up feeling as if we’re constantly telling our partners what to do (“go get me a diaper”) when what we mean to do is ask.
Remember to assume best intentions and that it’s not a competition about who’s doing the most or who feels the most tired. It’s about finding a balance between what you’re used to and what life is like now with a baby.
Baby Blues is tough. Depression and anxiety follow many moms after giving birth due to the changes in hormonal levels and lack of sleep. And yes, fathers can experience it, too.
Eventually these feelings will shift back to a new normal, but in the meantime, remember communication and sharing these new responsibilities will help. If these bluesy feelings don’t subside after a few weeks, please tell your doctor.
This article would be incomplete if we didn’t mention intimacy and sex. When and how we experienced these moments were almost always completely up to us, but now it’s mostly dependent on if you feel rested, baby blues, when mom’s body has recovered, if you’re in the mood, and your baby.
For most couples, it’s an awkward and sometimes challenging start to get back in the groove. You may even need to get the okay from your doctor despite you and your partner’s urges. If intimacy is important, it must also be prioritized, but it will look differently now.
Sometimes this means you may need to plan rather than be spontaneous like the good ol’ days. You may need to get comfortable with having sex when your baby is sleeping. Maybe you used to take an hour and now you may need to compromise with shorter times. It can all be done, but you must be open to it being new.
These are not all the ways in which your relationship will change. Your little one will bring up issues about your childhood and your relationship that you didn’t address or thought you healed from.
It’s an opportunity to grow stronger together. However, before growth happens, challenges will come up so you can evolve.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Nadia Rumbolt
Nadia Rumbolt is a mom of many trades, including creative writing, blogging, van life, minimalism, veganism, the beach, nature, and the occult.