Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Balancing a Relationship with a New Baby

Having a baby is one of the most rewarding experiences of a mother and father's lives. The idea of bringing another being into the world is a huge blessing. However, having a baby is also a stressful experience that often tests the strength of relationships. According to aboutkidshealth.ca,  more couples today are seeking relationship counseling after having a baby than ever before.

When the twins were born, the dynamics of my fiance and I relationship changed dramatically and the realization that our relationship pre-baby would never be the same frightened us both.

We did not know that the role change, new adjustments and financial set backs were the causes of our misunderstandings and conflicts. A relationship that was so strong was slowly crumbling as the diaper changes, chores, sleepless nights and feedings affected us both.

A New Mom

Both partners need to understand that being a parent for the first time is not an easy tasks, however, the role of a mom is the most challenging and role changing in a women's life. Aboutkidshealth.ca, describes the life change best stating that whereas we were once surrounded by friends, able to go to different places freely, now, our needs are less important and are secondary to a newborn baby. What my fiance did not understand (although he said he did) as a stay at home mom, my days are the babies; I eat, sleep and breathe them and when they were born, chores, cleaning and dinner took a back seat. My fiance would walk into the house from a long day of work expecting dinner and he often found himself making his own food; I just did not have time, which caused one our first arguments; expecting me to still take care of the house when I had my hands full double time.

I felt that he had one up on me because he was already a parent (he has two kids from a prior relationship) and here I was still learning. Rather than help me, he use to tell me what to do and I could not stand that. I do not like to be wrong and I like to get things right the first time; to me, I thought he was speaking to me as if I did not know what I was doing, as if I was not a good mother.

A New Dad

By the time I was done putting the babies to sleep, I was too tired and cranky to be intimate with my fiance. I was not ready for the sleep deprivation that I was experiencing and the arguing annoyed me so much that I did not want to be around him; he did not want to be around me either. Instead of being a team, we were becoming enemies. Dad.info states that fathers often feel left out because now the attention is on the baby. Fathers may also feel left out because they are at work all day and missed out on the new things that were learned. Taking care of twins is overwhelming and I did not realize how much I was shutting my fiance out; from our relationship and from him to spend time with the girls. I wanted to be super mom and do everything myself, but I had to understand that we are a family and he needed to be involved as well.

Helpful ways to Improve your Relationship With your Partner After Having a Baby

Understanding: Mothers are home with the baby for at least 3 months (sometimes fathers are as well). Spouses can help try to understand how hectic their partner's day is. Be empathetic that there will be times dinner is not on the table. Be a confident rather than distant, often times, your partner wants to talk about their day and have a sense of relief.

Communication: One of my fiance and I main problem was communication. We were too busy thinking the change in the relationship was about us being mad at each other rather than the big picture; a new edition to the family that we have to working into our relationship. We were both stressed out and frustrated. After realizing what was the cause of our down fall, we started sitting down and talking about what was on our mind. We stayed away from "you" statements and used "I" statements. Sometimes, when I thought of something that I needed to get off my chest, I wrote a letter to my fiance because I found it easier at times to express myself through writing.

Do Not Shut Out: Remember your partner is in this too. They may not handle the baby as you would but that is okay. Do not think that you are alone or have to be perfect in raising your baby; it takes time to set a routine and learn about your child.

Couple Time: Even if it for 15 minutes, find a time to sit and talk or be intimate. Do not forget about your needs, which is hard to do. If friends or family members want to help out, TAKE IT! They are offering for a reason.

Me Time: My mother suggested that when my fiance comes home from a long day of work, if needed, he should take 15-30 minutes to himself and when he was done, I would take mine. Sometimes, we need time to recollect our thoughts in order to deal with one another.

Some may read this blog and say, this will never be me. I never thought a baby would change our relationship, how could it? Having a baby is a joy. Remember, before it was just the two of you, in my cause we add TWO new editions to our already hectic lives. The best advice is communication. Our spouses (although we would love them to be) are not mind readers. Let your partner know what is going on with you before it becomes more than needed.