Parenthood has an impact on your relationship
Entering into parenthood in a committed relationship? A black box warning for you: Having a baby will put your relationship to the test like nobody’s business. As much as you can, plan in pregnancy to protect and nurture your relationship so it’s on a healthy, positive road.
Come up with your date night quota.
What’s your monthly date goal going to be so you’re prioritizing your relationship? Stick to it!
During your dates, have a rule: “all baby talk is off limits” —
–you can talk about anything else under the sun; just not baby.
Choose other times to discuss parenting issues.
It’s important to present a consistent, united front as you raise your child.
Look for opportunities to connect with & affirm your partner
For example: whenever you’ve been apart for any length of time, be proactive with approaching them. This should be a two-way street. If you don’t stop what you’re doing to greet your partner eye-to-eye, at least sometimes, it can give your beloved the sense that they don’t matter to you. (Make this and the next tip priorities. These will reduce the risk of struggles with postpartum depression or other mood and anxiety disorders.)
Discuss how you can divide responsibilities & build in support in the first 6 weeks.
Feeding needs to happen about 8-18 times a day in the first few weeks. This is intense! So, feeding baby and resting should be the postpartum parent’s main priorities. Baby needs lots of other things that you can help with (diapering, soothing/settling baby, etc.). Support your partner now, and your love life will thank you down the road. Plus, it’s a great way to connect and bond with your little one, too!
Post a “love board” on your fridge for leaving notes of appreciation.
Leave love notes on bathroom mirrors with dry-erase markers or post-its. Each person in our family writes something we love about each other. We update the fridge dry-erase board whenever something new occurs to us.
Cool off when arguments flare up.
When you have an argument and get worked up, that’s the worst time to work through conflict. In the fight-or-flight state, we lose the ability to be rational. Take a breather and come back to it once you’ve had a cooling-off period. See this excellent Gottman Institute book, And Baby Makes Three, for more on this concept.
Take a birth class together.
Look for one with a focus on ways partners can be supportive in pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. A quality birth class will also foster discussions between the two of you that will lead to a stronger birth AND relationship.
These are just a few ways to get started. Whatever you do, be intentional. It will pay off; promise!
Lisa is a certified childbirth educator with Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New York (CEA/MNY), and is also a Lamaze International Certified Childbirth Educator. She served on the board of CEA/MNY for 5 years. Lisa was awarded the 2017-2018 Ellen Chuse Childbirth Educator of the Year.
Lisa is also a DONA-certified labor support doula and has studied with a number of renowned childbirth professionals including midwife Ina May Gaskin, perinatal neuroscience & skin-to-skin/kangaroo mother care expert Dr. Nils Bergman, doula Gena Kirby (rebozo techniques for labor). She also trained with Spinning Babies on techniques for optimal fetal positioning and Yiska Obadia on Comforting Touch.
AfterThird – find your village
A postpartum doula, support group facilitator, and lactation consultant are all great sources of support!
Sign up on AfterThird to get access to wonderful services and support in your neighborhood. Welcoming a baby is wonderful and a lot of work.
Want more information on taking care of yourself in the transition to parenthood and in supporting your goals? Self-care is so important! Remember when preparing for a baby that preparing for the baby is also about preparing yourself for the transition. Find helpful resources here.