Babies and Your Relationship – What (if anything) Will Change?

Having a baby can be a truly magical experience.  From pregnancy all the way through to when you hold that little baby for the first time, families feel excitement and euphoria.   Not just the parents…extended family and friends all join in on the enthusiasm.   After the baby is born, things may feel different.  This can be unexpected.  Hormonal changes can make a new mother feel depressed or helpless, causing anxiety and questioning her ability to take care of her new baby.  Partners may feel confused, unsure of what is happening, only aware that things have changed.

It is important to remember that relationships change when you add a baby to the mix.  When I say this, I do not mean that relationships have to change for the worse.  It’s just different.  A new mother might view the relationship with her own mother as changed – she may now see her mother as more of an equal.  They now have a common bond that was not there before.  Relationships with providers may feel different, more trusting and intimate.  Her relationship with her partner might feel different as well; this is no longer just a lover or best friend, they are now co parents.

It is hard to imagine what it feels like to be a parent before you actually become one.  It is even harder to know how your partner will react to this new role until it happens.  Because of this, it can be hard to prepare.  Some new families find that connecting with each other, understanding each other and nurturing one another is not as easy as it was before the baby was born.  How do you keep it going?  Some couples worry about what their sex life will be like after baby.  My concern has always been more about the relationship itself.  It is so important to find the time to connect in other ways, and these little things can get lost when you are figuring out life with a newborn.

We talk about this a lot in our Parenting Village circle group called Out of the Blue.  Admitting that your needs are different, talking openly about concerns and having empathy for your partner can go a long way.  Check out the link below for some great ideas on how to cultivate your relationship and make the adjustment a little easier on both of you.

http://www.postpartumprogress.com/keeping-your-relationship-on-track-during-postpartum-depression

Advertisements

Self-Care in Motherhood

Ah…motherhood.  The excitement of pregnancy and the anticipation of that little one entering your life.  These feelings of enthusiasm can be quickly replaced by exhaustion and anxiety.   It can take a while before you are feeling in control again.  How can you keep up?  The idea of self- care can feel light years away.

Whether you are someone who managed to build self-care into your regime before the baby was born, or someone who is now struggling to maintain sanity in the face of sleep deprivation, self – care can be life saving.   It doesn’t matter what your idea of this looks like.  Maybe a few minutes to take a walk by yourself, or a hot bath.  Maybe it’s an evening out with friends…without the baby.  Whatever it is, recognize that this is a very needed, therapeutic piece of parenthood.

My kids have all crossed over into the world of teenagers in the last few months.  Thinking back on their early years, self- care was not something I did much of.  I was going through a divorce when my kids were toddlers, and it was difficult trying to find time for myself.  Now that it is much easier to actually find that time, I feel those familiar pangs of guilt setting in.

“…there’s laundry to be done…and here you are at the gym…”

“…getting your toes done?  You should be vacuuming something…”

My mind taunts me.  Needless to say, my inner self almost always wins.   I can always find an excuse to NOT do something for myself.  I am the perfect example of “do as I say and not as I do”.

Now that I have been working in maternal child health as a lactation consultant for several years, I have seen the importance of taking time out for you.  I have heard countless therapists discuss the importance of self-care.  I have learned first hand that if you are able to work this in from the start; it becomes easier to continue as time goes on.  Since this can be difficult to do, I am including some tips to get you started.  These are very easy things you can do to make time for yourself.  You’ll be glad you did.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-s-white/6-things-moms-should-do-for-themselves-as-often-as-possible_b_11363962.html