As your whole lifestyle changes as a first-time parent, so will your relationships, especially with your partner. Although parent roles have changed a great deal over the past thirty years and many dads do stay at home to look after the baby, generally it is the mom who takes on this role. And if she is breastfeeding this can mean little time to herself. If dad is working, he might feel under more pressure to work harder for his new little family. At the end of the day, he comes home to a crying baby and a tired partner who may be just beginning to feel a little resentful about how much her life has changed. This can make for a strained relationship, in which the couple begins to wonder if they will ever be on the same footing again!
Even the best of relationships are often strained by parenthood. This is mainly because you will have less time to spend with each other, to share joint interests, or time just to talk. But while a new mom might feel resentful because she is the one who normally bears the greatest burden of care, a new dad can often feel left out because the baby is taking up so much of his partner’s attention.
From the moment she brings her first baby home, mom should try to make dad feel included. He needs to feel that he is needed and is participating in the baby’s care, and isn’t just an observer. Making sure he takes an active role will not only help share the burden but is also important in helping him to forge his own very special relationship with the baby. Couples should try if possible to share their responsibilities for the baby.
– However close you were before the birth, don’t expect your partner to be able to read your mind. Let each other know if there is a problem and find time to share your feelings with your partner.
– Make time for each other. Even if it’s only a trip to the shops or a walk in the park, ask a friend or relative to look after baby for a short time so that you can be together.
– Go to bed together, early if you can. Spend the time relaxing and take it as an opportunity to talk about your day.
– Share caring for the baby and household chores as much as possible.
Sex is part of any normal secure relationship, but you might find that having a baby in the home doesn’t always make for an easy sex life. Caring for your first baby is tiring and the demands the baby makes on your time will also mean that opportunities for sex with your partner may be limited. It doesn’t help the situation that many women will also feel uncomfortable and sore for some weeks after the birth so that sex with their partner is the last thing on their minds.
– Find the time for plenty of cuddles instead so that you still feel close to each other;
– Don’t rush to get things back to normal. Listen to each other, talk about your feelings and realize that a successful relationship needs to be worked at all the time;
– If sex is painful, tell your partner, and take things easy at first. If you are worried about the pain, see your family doctor.
Finally, being first-time parents is an important time to maintain your sense of humor! If you can laugh off any problems in your relationship you’ll soon find out that, wonder of wonders, the baby has brought you closer together after all!