It’s no surprise that the relationship with your spouse/partner is going to change after the birth of a baby. But what are some specific ways you can prepare your relationship before baby arrives?
Maybe you are well-prepped on the best stroller and the best baby monitor. Maybe you are deep into researching breastfeeding, car seats, childbirth, and what supplies you will need for the “fourth trimester.” While researching and nesting and preparing for baby is very important, don’t forget to prepare your relationship as well! Here are some important points to consider and discuss with your partner.
What will the division of labor look like?
- Are both of you planning to work full time? Part time? Is anyone in school? Who is handling which household duties? Who is handling nighttime wakeups with the baby? It’s not uncommon to feel an imbalance in this area, and it’s important to address any frustration right away.
How will you handle physical and emotional intimacy post-baby?
- Some people count down the days to six weeks postpartum, when they get the all-clear for physical intimacy, but most people really aren’t ready until quite a bit longer after that. In fact, it’s not uncommon to wait several months!
- Make sure you and your partner are on the same page – what are some other ways you can connect physically and emotionally if some of your usual activities are off the table for now? What are your expectations? What are your partner’s expectations? Are there ways you can prioritize time alone together?
What are your parenting philosophies?
- Everyone is influenced by their own family of origin, as well as how they view and experience the world. This can color the way you choose to parent your children and how you communicate with your partner. Often, it’s hard to parse out exactly how you plan to parent, but if you can start the conversation in broad strokes before baby is even here, it can help to keep that line of communication open as each new obstacle presents itself.
Of course, there are many things you just won’t know until you get there. Your time will be limited, your personal freedom will be restricted, and your finances may be tighter than they used to be. Add in a whole bucket of postpartum hormones and silent expectations you didn’t even know you had, and it can be a recipe for resentment!
In every area, strive for grace and understanding (easier said than done). Assume the best of your partner – you chose them after all! Communicate early and often if ANY issue brings out tension, and try to carve out some alone time for yourself and as well as for the two of you.
Having a newborn can test your patience and challenge your relationship, but starting these types of conversations before baby arrives can help pinpoint any potential issues before they even begin. And as cliché as it is, always remember – this time WILL pass and you WILL come out of it on the other side <3
Inspired by @postbabybelly on instagram