When two become three! In this article for Family First Magazine, I talk nappies, romantic dinners and frankly, how easy is it being a parent while keeping your relationship spark alive?!
When it’s time to start a family, it’s all very exciting and everyone around you starts sharing all those ‘helpful’ anecdotes and comments that don’t quite mean much to you as you’re busy wondering how a 7-pound baby is going to literally leave your nether regions! The types of things you hear include “your life will never be the same again”, “it’s worth the pain”, “sleep when the baby sleeps” – all pretty vague and at the beginning, pretty unhelpful. It’s only when that baby arrives and you are in the thick of it, do you actually realise what all those vague comments mean and now you have to find a way to both understand them and apply them (usually after about a year). EARLY DAYS… One of the most important pieces of ‘advice’ that tends to be left off this list, is the continued connection with your partner. When that baby arrives, you both generally have an idea of how to keep it alive, you get the knack of their routine and learn what lack of sleep really means. In those first few months, it’s all about the baby and you’re both okay with that.
The continued connection with your partner is so important.
There’s healing to be done, sleepless nights to contend with and all the new baby trials that you’ll have to figure out like colic, nappy rash, if they ate enough etc. After that ‘honeymoon’ period with the baby, you might find that you’ve somewhat drifted a little from the romance with your partner. No longer is sex a given, no longer are you rustling up romantic meals or going out for dinner. No longer are you talking about your dreams and aspirations. Nope, you’re now all about the baby and the drift between you both may extend if you don’t catch it in time which could lead to relationship challenges.
KEEPING THE SPARK ALIVE It’s wonderful to have a baby and if you’re one of the lucky ones who gets to, you should absolutely bask in their glory when they arrive. However, the importance of your relationship with your partner cannot be ignored, cannot be assumed all will be well because neither of you has any idea what life with a new baby will really look like until it happens. Both of your characters will change a little. Priorities will shift. Time will disappear and soon you’ll be wondering where all that love that you had which led to the creation of this beautiful bundle has actually gone.
LEARNING TO BE A COUPLE AGAIN It is imperative to learn how to be with your partner once that baby arrives. You will need to date to learn what has changed with each of you. Coming together (alone) regularly will remind you both of the love you have, the foundations that the relationship is built on and keep your trust and insecurities in check. What I’m talking about here is as a woman, we tend to feel a little unattractive during those early months. We’re trying to keep it together whilst doing our very best superwoman impression. We will cry, we may not shower, we will live in leggings and spit-up stained t-shirts – we’ll generally not be our most fabulous selves whilst we get the hang of being a mama.
Men, have their own stuff of course. They too will see what’s happening and will want to do what they can but work commitments may get in the way of this. They will miss the women for their intimacy has been re-directed to the baby, they will want to ‘save’ the women from the stresses of a new baby and they will feel the pressure of having to provide for their new family to name but a few changes. This shift continues as the woman goes back to work and there is even less time in the day for each other.
KEEPING THE CHANNELS OPEN Without regular communication, these changes in both of you can lead to an avalanche of challenges which could be avoided – unless of course the relationship was already rocky. Assuming it wasn’t in a bad place when you had the baby, spending regular time with each other, connecting with each other and communicating each other’s new needs will help in keeping you together and strong whilst you both navigate your new life change.
Spending regular time together will help keep you strong while navigating new life changes.
(NOT JUST) FOR THE SAKE OF THE BABY The early years for a child are really important. They will notice what’s happening around them as they learn to make sense of the world. If they see loving relationships between you and your partner, they will understand that, store it as a template for love, partnership and communication and will want to be a part of it too.
GET STARTED So create that regular time slot in your diary for alone time with your partner. Leave the house, try and put baby conversation on hold and check-in with each other. Learn about each other’s changes, embrace the new, and always remember, especially during trying times, the foundations of your relationship, your values and why you continue to love your person.
This article was published in Family First Magazine.
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