Relationship after baby: My Advice for Parents-to-be
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage! Isn’t that how the nursery rhyme goes? You spend months getting ready for baby, you read tons of books and join all kinds of groups to help you prepare to bring baby home with one goal in mind….keep the tiny human alive! But what about your relationship? Have you taken into consideration how the dynamics of the relationship will change when the baby arrives? How do you keep the relationship alive and thriving? As a relationship and life coach, one of the programs I offer is helping couples navigate their relationship through the first 100 days of life with a new baby. It’s often a forgotten step when preparing for a baby’s arrival and can cause a bit of turbulence and unnecessary stress if not properly addressed.
Here are a few things to add to your list of 6 things to do before bringing baby home to strengthen and prepare your relationship:
1. Manage expectations – Things won’t be picture perfect, and that is perfectly fine. Lack of sleep, along with day to day household responsibilities and possibly having to work outside the home during those first 100 days can be taxing on anyone. Don’t expect your partner to have all the answers, you will be learning how to care for your newborn together. Try to engage them as much as possible in the care of the baby but understand that some things might not come as naturally to some as others.
2. Understand the signs of postpartum depression – This should be something that both parents are educated about and know where to turn to get help if it becomes an issue. Statistically, 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression but the good news is that it can be treated and you are not alone. Early detection is key as PPD can get worse without treatment.
3. Give and ask for grace – This is new to you both. Believe that the other is giving their all to the care of your newborn and try not to get frustrated when things don’t go as planned. Have trust in each other!
4. Don’t keep count – keeping count of who did what will lead to resentment. Come up with a plan that works for your growing family and be flexible. Things will be unpredictable for a bit but having a plan will help with reducing disappointment when you assume that baby duties will be picked up by the other partner.
5. Ask for help – Communication will always be key to a happy and healthy relationship, this time is no different. If you need help with baby, ask! Don’t be afraid to rally your resources around you to include each other. Be honest with each other about how you are feeling. It is okay to experience a ton of different emotions, sometimes all in one day but communicating that with your partner can help alleviate the stress.
6. Make time for each other – Intimacy and romance are a big question mark once the baby arrives. Mom is still recovering from childbirth, possibly nursing, and maybe feeling a little self-conscious about her postpartum body. Ease back into things at her speed and direction. Make intentional time to do things together when the baby is sleeping, even if it’s something as small as pillow-talk to connect. Ask each other frequently if your needs are being met and what can you do to ensure they are.
The transition into parenthood can be difficult. Conflict, disappointment and hurt feelings shouldn’t get in the way of enjoying your new bundle of joy. Want to learn more about the First 100 Days Program? Connect with me on IG @angelique_moore_ or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lekeshia Angelique is a life and relationship coach trained in marriage and family therapy. As the CEO of Love; H.E.R., LLC (Heal, Evolve, Rediscover) she specializes in promoting guilt free self-love so that women are able to live their lives fulfilled as the best versions of themselves. She offers a number of special programs and 1:1 coaching to promote healthy and happy relationships on the foundation of her core principles, the 3 C’s, communication, commitment and compromise. She is the mother of 5 children which includes two sets of twins!