Because there is such a thing, and for the sake of your relationship, you need to find it!
In the days and weeks after having a baby, it’s hard to imagine going back to the life you had before. Well, guess what? You won’t be. The one thing that is true about having a baby is that it changes your life completely and irrevocably, but in such a good way!
That said, in the midst of 3 a.m. feedings and endless diapers, blowouts and spit ups, sore nipples and no sleep, there is the feeling that the early days will never end. Trust me, though… they do. What you don’t want to have happen is that you lose sight of your relationship with your spouse, in favor of your baby.
All relationships take work and a marriage is no exception. So while wild nights out are off the schedule for the next little while, there is a lot you can do to keep your marriage or relationship safe, despite the wailing, demanding little poo monster who has taken over your lives!
Note that hormones play a role
Right after you give birth, and for some time afterwards, hormones play a role in how Mom behaves and feels. It’s important for your spouse to be aware of this because it will be too easy for them to take it personally when you yell at them that they’ve put the diaper on backwards or some such little thing that, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t matter, but which at the time seems enormous!
Make time for each other
Even if it means putting it in your calendars, make time for each other. A night of movies and popcorn on the sofa, while folding endless piles of laundry. Takeout by candlelight. A drive to the local coffee shop for cake and a coffee while grandma stands watch over the sleeping babe. Whatever you can manage, make the effort and not just once in awhile, but if you can, do it weekly.
It’s a great opportunity to communicate, to see what’s been going on with the other person, to see how they’re feeling and to stay on track as a team.
Remind each other that you both matter
There is a tendency—and I have to say this does tend to happen with women most often—to ignore the other person for the sake of the baby. Everything is about the baby: what you say, read, do, watch, think about. It’s all about the baby, which is completely normal, particularly in the first few weeks of baby’s life. But it’s also something that becomes a habit over time, and the result is that your spouse will end up feeling like they’ve been replaced by the baby.
In the worst cases, there are even feelings of jealousy that can arise, which isn’t healthy for anyone. Make sure that you remind each other that the other person matters too. Leave a little note in their work bag; pack them a lunch once in awhile; pick up their favorite treats at the store… Anything that says that you’re still tuned in and you care.
Let’s talk about sex
This is bar none the biggest issue that comes up for so many couples, after baby arrives. Between the recovery from the birth, the sleepless nights and the long days, the very idea of having, let alone enjoying, sex seems like a distant memory. While you don’t want to push Mom too fast on this one—after all, passing a watermelon through your vagina or out an incision is no small feat—the key to getting through this patch is to communicate.
Share your feelings about what’s going on, or not, in the bedroom and talk about what each of you can handle and how you want to move forward. Honesty is best in this matter, so don’t try and hide how you feel!
Whether you decide that you need help with housecleaning, or perhaps a postpartum doula is a better option for you, helping your sort out sleep schedules and feeding issues, there’s zero shame in getting help. If anything, having someone else to take some of the load off of you and your spouse can help to free up some time for those all important ‘movie and laundry folding’ sessions, so think about it seriously and make it part of your baby plan!
You need to think of yourselves as a team: a baby raising team! If you do, you’ll bond together over things as mundane as scraping poop off of diapers. And while that may seem farfetched, there’s nothing that brings two people together better than knowing they each have an important role in bringing up baby.