Parenthood will test you as a couple. Here’s how to pass.
Of course, a baby is a bundle of joy, but parenting involves a myriad of challenges. Your relationship after the baby as a couple is bound to transform. Having relationship problems after a baby is pretty common. So, how to maintain a relationship, or how to keep a relationship strong after having a baby?
How does a relationship change after a baby?
The two of you till now might have planned a perfect romantic date just the way you envisaged or made abrupt travel plans, or had sizzling sex wherever and whenever you felt like it!
Well, this is a perfect life of a couple drenched in love!
Having a baby doesn’t mean that your love is going to disappear in thin air. It is just that it won’t be as easy to follow the lifestyle you have been following to date.
You might cuddle up to your partner, and before things steam up, you might get to hear the restless cries of your baby for no particular reason. You might get dressed in your best attire for your romantic date night, but your baby’s diaper might malfunction.
A lot more can happen than what is described earlier. After all, one should never underestimate a baby’s miraculous abilities. I leave the rest to your imagination!
What are the marital issues you can have after a baby?
There isn’t an iota of doubt that a baby completes your family, makes you a more responsible person, and also gives you a chance to relive your childhood. But, this is just the positive part!
Let us flip the coin and see what all challenges do having a baby entail.
Many couples reportedly complain about the sleepless nights spent feeding the baby, changing the diapers, or simply comforting them and putting them back to sleep. Needless to say, this hardly leaves any scope for hot sex in the middle of the night!
Having a child to care for can stress up the couple regarding managing the finances, taking care of the extra member, additional expenses, and managing the routine chores, which obviously don’t lessen!
For the mother, it isn’t about just these superfluous challenges. The hormones are in full swing that sometimes leads to frustration, irritation, emotional meltdowns, or can even postpartum depression.
All of this can be quite overwhelming, not just the mother but also the other spouse.
All this must have surely left you intensely dwelling on the thought- how to keep a relationship strong after having a baby!
Does having a baby ruin your relationship with your partner?
It isn’t a rule that your relationship with your partner goes downhill after having a baby. Just as every relationship is unique, the experience of parenting too is unique for everyone.
Nonetheless, it has been observed in the majority of cases that both the partners tend to get emotionally and physically drained with almost no time left to focus on each other.
Romance takes a back seat for most couples, and they have a hard time striking a balance between their love life, work-life, and parenthood.
Sleep-deprived, sex-deprived, and overburdened with new and old responsibilities, couples can get too overwhelmed to think or work on rekindling the spark in their relationship after the baby.
So, does it mean that the beginning of parenthood marks the end of your romantic connection with your partner?
And, if not, how to keep a relationship strong after having a baby? How to keep a relationship going?
1. Divide labour fairly
One of the most common complaints couples have is that one person is doing more than the other. Check in with each other and make sure you feel everyone is pulling their fair share of the weight. Sometimes a perfectionist or a critical partner inadvertently discourages their other half from stepping up and helping because they are berated for not doing it just so. If it’s your partner’s night to cook dinner, let them do it their way.
2. Appreciate each other
Raising kids, working, keeping the house together and all the other balls we juggle is an enormous task. Whose job is it to give you a pat on the back and say that it is deeply appreciated? Your partner.
One of the biggest dissatisfactions in a marriage is feeling unappreciated. Praise is the fuel in our gas tanks that give us the mojo to face another day of parenting. Remember to show your appreciation with simple statements like “You are so great with the kids,” “I am amazed at how you work all day and still manage to come home and have time to pull such a nice family meal together,” and “Awww, babe, did you wash the car? You are THE best.”
3. Accept parenting differences
You are not going to parent exactly the same. If you did, one of you would be redundant! Expect differences and know that it is far better to accept them than to fight and hurt the relationship. Pick your battles. There is so much we could simply let slide off our backs instead of see as collective transgressions.
4. Keep the romance alive
Too often we get so busy with the grind of raising children that couples feel more like workmates than friends and lovers. So, take that clichéd advice to heart, remind yourselves of the person you fell in love with, and keep that spark alive by investing in your love relationship.
5. Advocate for policy change
One of the biggest hurdles to our happiness is the restriction on our time and money. Longer maternity, paternity and family leave times; paid childcare, flexible work hours, better health plans, and higher minimum wages all help to remove burdens and barriers which then allow more of our bandwidth to be spent with the ones we love.
That only happens when we exert political pressure to bring these things about.
6. Seek counselling
Too often, couples delay coming to counselling until they are at the point of deciding on a divorce. Instead, consider coming in early, when you are at your first impasse and when things can be guided back onto the rails quickly.
There should be no stigma in seeking professional service for relationship issues. In fact, it should be a point of pride for valuing your relationship enough to do everything you can to make it the best it can be.
7. Lighten up and laugh
We often are just too darn serious about everything. Lighten up and have a laugh about the ludicrousness of raising kids. They projectile vomit all over the sheets and carpet. They get into a jar of diaper rash cream and smear it on the walls. Ain’t life wacky? What a roller coaster!
Have some equanimity about it all and every morning give your partner a hug and a kiss and repeat these words: “Together we are better. We got this thing.”
This Content has originally published on January 28, 2019. No Copyright/IPR breach is intended.
Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash