How Does Having a Baby Change Your Relationship and What Can You Do About It?
Having a baby changes so many things about your life. It essentially requires a complete reorganization of your life and routine, which can be difficult. Something that is often overlooked when preparing for a baby is the changes that occur in your relationship with your partner. Many couples grow stronger as they watch their partner become a parent, while others may struggle with resentment, fighting, and not feeling satisfied with their relationship. Both of these things are normal, and it is important to remember having a baby is a huge adjustment, and it may take time to reach your new normal. Here are some things you may notice when adjusting to a new baby in the house and some things you can do to help your relationship throughout the transition:
When bringing a baby home, there is really no way to avoid sleep deprivation which can be difficult. Sleep deprivation can lead to tension, more fighting, and overall frustration. Lack of sleep also affects your mental health and ability to cope.
Lack of time
It likely feels like all you do is care for the baby, especially in the early days of parenthood. This does not leave a lot of time for you or you and your partner, which can cause feelings of frustration and guilt. You may feel like you should be putting more effort in with your partner, but you don't have the energy or time to do so.
Due to sleep deprivation, baby's needs, lack of time, and many other factors, you may feel disconnected from your partner both physically and mentally. You may feel "touched out" from caring for the baby all day and need a break, or you may not have the energy to do much outside of caring for yourself and the baby. This can leave you feeling disconnected from your partner and longing for how your relationship once was.
What can you do about a lack of connection with your husband or spouse?
Communicate with your Partner
- Work to understand what you need and communicate it to your partner.
- Talk when you are both feeling calm.
- Try to understand your partner's point of view and validate their experience.
- Come up with a plan to help each other sleep more when possible.
- Check-in with your partner about how they are doing and if they need a break to sleep or relax
Take time for yourself
- While it may feel like you don't get to spend much time with your partner already, taking time for yourself is still essential to recharge and give yourself a break.
- Spend time with a friend or do something outside of the house
Ask for help
- Have someone help with the baby for a few hours so one or both of you can sleep or relax
- Divide responsibilities at home, so there are clear expectations for both of you.
Spend quality time with your partner
- Agree to spend purposeful time together each week without distractions (maybe during nap-time or after baby has gone to bed?)
- When you are ready, get a babysitter for a date night to reconnect outside of the house.
- If you are able, talk with your partner before the baby is born and discuss your expectations, worries and develop a flexible plan for communicating, caring for the baby, and spending time together.
Reach out to a professional for help to discuss solutions and get help communicating more effectively with your partner. Couples counseling can help you when you lack connection with your partner.
Whether you are looking to prepare for changes in your relationship before the baby is born or amid those changes, I am here to support you. It is never too late to check in with your partner, learn new communication skills and strengthen your relationship. If you are looking for a therapist for new moms or new parents, call, email, or text Claire to set up an appointment or consultation for couples or individual counseling.
Ready to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation?
Claire Whetter MS, LPC-IT, NCC
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