Having a baby is a huge adjustment to any couple’s life. It rocks the foundation on which you have built your lives and even the strongest relationships can feel some tremors. It may seem impossible, but it’s more important than ever to make sure you put your relationship first.
When I was pregnant with my first child, a lifelong friend, who was a mother already, gave me some great advice. She explained to me that when the baby comes we need to take time to get to know this little person and be patient with ourselves and this process. More importantly she told me not to wait too long before my husband and I did something alone together.
Really great advice, right? Yea, well, I didn’t take it.
And it wasn’t pretty.
Before long the stress of having a baby, adjusting to the crazy sleep schedule, the rollercoaster of emotions, the isolation, and the complete disconnect from one another took a toll on us. It was probably a good amount of months before we actually went out alone together.
And that wasn’t pretty either.
I think we bickered for most of the time, and I remember being incredibly frustrated and disappointed that it had gone that way. This was supposed to be a good time to reconnect and instead I was irritated and wanted to go home!
Well in theory it would’ve been – if we hadn’t waited so long.
This is crucial. Before baby, you and your partner are pretty much the most important thing in each other’s lives. You have access to your partner most of the time, can talk to them whenever you want, and can do stuff with them whenever you want. You talk about things – intelligent things like dreams, politics, social issues, hobbies, everything! You can touch each other and hold each other when the mood arises and by the time you are having a baby, you have created some sort of comfortable “norm” in your sex life.
Then it all changes. Before you know it you are too tired to dream, you don’t have the energy for politics, social issues are a moot point because you are barely socializing with anyone but your breast pump, and your hobbies include changing diapers, soothing baby, and cleaning spit up.
And sex? I am laughing right now. Sex, omg, sex, no freaking WAY do you want to be touched after you have been touched all day by a tiny human who has pooped on you, peed on you, used you as a pacifier in various forms, and then farted and fell asleep on you.
I remember my husband telling me when our first was born that he missed me. I couldn’t understand at that time what he meant because I was home all the time. It took some therapy for me to realize and understand that what he missed was the connection. Yea we were seeing each other but we weren’t connecting.
We had to get creative about our time spent together. It was no longer spontaneous dinner plans or trips to the casino. Dates became brunch while my parents watched our baby or coffee while my mother in law watched her. We began to snag back hours here and there and getting to know things about each other again.
Before long the space between us in bed wasn’t so big. Honestly it could have very well been because there was a 10 month old asleep like a starfish between us and the bed just felt crowded but that hardly adds any beautiful poetic imagery to this piece.
Anyway, the point is don’t wait too long. As soon as you feel ready, slip out with your partner for an hour or so and spend some time – even if it’s just a drive in the car or a walk in the neighborhood with no babies. It’s important that you have the space to focus on each other with no distractions.
It’s all too easy to let your relationship take the back seat when baby arrives but in reality your relationship is the foundation for a happy family all around – so go ahead – and put each other first!