Keeping love alive after baby
So, you have a beautiful new baby. Congratulations!
This is such a special time for you and your partner.
As a wife, mum of 2 and a relationship coach, I often have women calling out to me for help in these early days of motherhood. The baby has changed their relationship dynamics and with the exhaustion and hormones, they find themselves in a panic.
If this is you, I have put together my 4 top tips to keep the love in your relationship alive when your baby arrives.
This is part 1 of 3 of my Relationship after kids series. Stay tuned for part 2 on the Biggest relationship mistake after kids and part 3 Keeping love alive long-term.
My top tips to keep love alive after babies…
1. Don’t panic.
You, my darling, are in the thick of it. This is one of the most intense phase of motherhood RIGHT NOW!! Of course, you are feeling all the emotions and overwhelm. All this change is so incredibly intense.
But it does not stay this way. It does get easier. And you can’t be expected to have everything all sorted immediately. This is a process that continues and evolves as the circumstances change.
Be patient, stay calm, breathe, don’t panic.
2. Communicate your needs
If you are finding that your man is not as helpful as you had hoped, don’t stress. The key here is to find a way to communicate your needs that works.
Which means no nagging.
No relationship ever got better by the woman nagging her man into action. What this means actually is; try not to ask for your needs to be met out of anger, coersion or blame. Blame comes from a lack of taking responsibility for your own happiness, which means that even though you may not realise it, you have an expectation that he needs to provide happiness for you. The minute you ask from blame you have created a chasm between you both and they have no choice but to defend themselves (this is human nature).
Instead, ask them to help you from your actual needs. Communicate your needs as honestly as you can. To do this you need to know what your needs actually are. It’s important to actually take the time to explore this for yourself and with him. For example:Instead of saying
“I can’t believe you are just off out again as though nothing has changed, do you even care about me and the baby!”
“Honey, this whole process of becoming a mother is freaking me out a bit. I just had no idea how isolated I would feel and then when I see you jumping up and heading out just like nothing has changed it just feels so unfair. I know it is not your fault, but I just wanted you to know that I am really struggling with how alone I feel and might need your help”.
3. Ask for support
It can be tricky for your partner to offer you the support that you need in this transition phase.
So many men are feeling a little a) left out and rejected by the bond between mother and child and b) not sure what the hell they can do to offer help.
In short, they are feeling a bit useless, a bit rejected and probably quite terrified by the baby crying (they might feel like they cause the baby to freak out). This is something that is best communicated lovingly between you and addressed rather than not. Instead of them just avoiding dealing with the baby, for example, talk about how you can both take steps towards him feeling more confident in this realm.
Ask for help from him and also seek it outside of the home. You need all the support you can get right now so this is a good time to start saying yes to offers rather than “No, I’m fine”.
4. Share your values
OOh baby, there is nothing quite like parenthood to shake up your relationship expectations. All your life values around what is important are being thrown into question:
- who does the housework
- who earns and spends the money
- male vs female roles in parenting
- how to raise good humans
- how to discipline
Some of your values and beliefs may not have even been apparent to you before the kids came along. A lot of them come sub consciously from our families of origin. This stuff can run deep and feel like a question of right and wrong, rather than preference.
The truth is that mostly, it is not a question of right and wrong and to make this relationship a collaboration rather than a dictatorship from either of you, compromise is needed. If your value differences continually cause tension, find out the “Why” behind them. Getting to know the deeper reasons tends to give us empathy and understanding for the other, which can help ease the tension.
The aim is not to be the same, but to be able to understand each other.I will dive deeper into getting to know your partner’s values in my 3 part blog series; Relationships after kids.
Part two – Why do we stop feeling love for our partners after kids?
Part three – 10 healthy marriage hacks for parents
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Remember; you do not have to sort things out straight away. There is plenty of time to establish and then re-establish the arrangements between you.
Also, the most important thing right now is connection. You do not have to have dinner on the table, a perfect home or everything sorted. Let your partner take the lead, let things be done differently, be soft enough for him or others to step in and feel useful. The masculine in particular, craves being useful and looking after his family.
I wish you all the very best.