Welcoming your child into this world is one of the most joyful and happy moments of your life. From catching the first glimpse of your tiny bundle of joy to bringing this baby home, the whole experience feels surreal. You and your partner get that amazing feeling of having a complete family at last. But as parents get involved in taking care of their children, what often happens is they forget to pay attention to each other. Couples dedicate so much time and energy to raising their kids, totally ignoring the fact that they were once young lovers who did romantic things like gift-giving, going on dates, and enjoying each other’s company.
This tends to happen because raising a child is no joke. Your baby will cry, demand your attention and leave you begging for some quality time with your partner. You may never seem to find the leisure to connect with your partner the way you used to. This is a reason for worry because many couples complain of losing their marital bliss after having a baby. Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock, Germany, conducted a study to understand how the first baby’s birth affects marital happiness. Not surprisingly, the participants reported a drop in satisfaction, leading to an overall decline in wellbeing and even the decision to have a second child (1).
The first year takes a toll on you, mentally and physically, more so if you’ve had unrealistic expectations about how life should ideally be as soon as you welcome a new life. With several challenges all around, it might strain your relationship with your partner. So, here are five tips to help you bring back the lost love and save your relationship after becoming parents:
1. Acknowledge That It’s Difficult For Both
Often, new parents struggle to adjust to the identity shift. Your experiences will be different as a mom and dad. Playing the blame game and pointing at each other’s flaws will only result in a build-up of resentment that will erupt like a volcano soon. So, mitigating any issue early on will reduce the probability of unnecessary trouble. It’s your baby. You are both equally responsible, but sometimes one ends up sacrificing a bit more, and that’s okay. As long as parents start thinking on these lines and accommodate uncertainties, it’s all under control.
2. Set Time Aside To Communicate With Each Other
Seeing parents argue and complain can have an impact on the baby. You may think they won’t understand, but the bitter feelings will spew venom in your marriage and perpetuate negativity. It will slowly start affecting the way you interact with your baby. And that leaves an impression on their innocent minds. You might show an urgency to have your complaints and resentments dealt with right away, but that could spoil all the team effort you make together as parents, most importantly, as a couple. So, work on a calendar and freeze some time to discuss your challenges sensitively with each other. React and criticize less and empathize more. Understand that it’s a new experience for both and making mistakes is natural.
3. Speak Logically, Keep The Emotions Away
Yes, the pregnancy hormones have taken a toll on you too. Mood swings and post-natal depressive tendencies have wreaked havoc on your health. So, stay calm. Check your emotional outbursts over things that have gotten out of your control. Ask your partner to take care of you and express the problems that are affecting you. Be tactful when you communicate. Your partner is also dealing with this shift in their lifestyle and the change in their roles. Think through your statements before you blurt them out. Does your concern have a solid rational backing, or is it just a personal whim? Mutual respect and care are crucial because relationships are sensitive. So, have genuine arguments to support your cause.
4. Appreciate Your Partner
Dump Debbie Downer in the trash. No one likes dealing with someone who is constantly pessimistic. Handling negativity can be stressful and discouraging. We often forget to express our gratitude for the blessings that we have. It is easy to overlook the little sacrifices your partner makes each day to make ends meet. Point out the nice things and thank your partner for their help. Offer them some praise and admiration for making efforts, always. Positive and supportive feedback is better than being critical and negligent. Your partner will be more open to listening to you and reciprocate.
5. Forgive And Forget
Resolve your problems if there is a natural solution in sight. If you make a conscious effort to practice being the bigger person in the relationship, it’s a win-win. Remember, it was a joint decision to bring your child to this world, so raising them together can take some getting used to. Be patient with each other and be open to learning on the go.
Kindness is underrated. Be kinder to each other and know that both of you are doing your best. So, let go and forgive. Accumulating anger and pain is self-detrimental. Forgiving is liberating. Ask yourself, “Will this issue bother you after a few days or months?”, “What do you gain or lose out of the argument?”, “Is that your ego talking?”. These questions should help you gain some perspective before jumping the gun and inviting animosity with your partner.
6. Seek Help
Asking for support from well-meaning friends and family members always help. You can rely on them to share their struggles and learn some tips for handling the baby like a pro. Also, an extra pair of hands should help you manage the household chores if you can afford one. When the workload is minimized, you’ll notice some positive changes in your mood because dealing with all of it by yourself is difficult. This should also resolve the additional tensions that are brewing in your marriage post the baby’s arrival. As a result, you’ll be able to focus your attention on issues that are a priority. If problems persist, consult a marriage counselor.
The baby’s arrival is good news. Know that you’ll make it through this phase of life together as a team! After all, isn’t marriage all about being with each other through the good and bad times? Look at this as an opportunity to grow and bond stronger. Choose your battles wisely, as you don’t want to put your child through the troubles of parental discord. If you decide to separate due to irreconcilable problems, there is a price to pay, and it’s a heavy one! Being torn between separated parents can take a toll on your child’s mental health and reflect in their adult relationships as well (2). So, if you can avoid getting a separation, work on it at all costs. To navigate through the crisis, practice self-control and compassion at all times. How do you think pregnancy and childbirth affect marriages? Do share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
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- Parents separation or divorce Potential effects on children and recommendations to parents and pediatricians