10 Tips for Couples To Keep The Connection After Baby Arrives
Having your baby can be a dream come true and for many it epitomizes the family you've been wanting! It feels like, now our picture is complete and we can be happy.
It is indeed a very special time.
Unfortunately the first five years after a child is born has the highest divorce rates too. This image of how it will look to be a family is quickly shattered by sleeplessness, different parenting styles, misunderstood communication, and our own childhood triggers that surface in the mirror of our children.
It doesn't need to be.
Here are 10 of my top tips to help you two keep the wonder and magic in parenthood, and keep the connection as a couple, whilst navigating the whole new world of raising your baby(ies).
Self-Care is a necessity not a luxury. And it's important for both of you. In my experience dads are better at prioritizing this than moms. But you both deserve to, and need to keep nourishing yourselves in order to be there the way you want to be (for the baby and each other). You really cannot pour from an empty cup.
Invest in a book called Fair Play. It is an amazing book going deep into the fair distribution of roles so that resentment doesn't creep in and steel your joy.
Talk. Make time to talk to each other about your expectations, desires, values, and fears. Saying things out loud help you to make sense of them, and help you two to be more aware of each others motivation going on behind the scenes.
Heal your childhood injuries. Children are mirrors of our inner child and if you had a troubled childhood where you didn't feel heard, important, or understood - it's easy to bring those injuries as a filter through which we then see our children through. It's not fair on them or your family and I generally find we can enjoy parenting more, when it's not marred by those filters.
Prioritize quality time. This can be 10 minutes in the morning before kids wake up, or 1 hour over the weekend when you both have more time. There isn't a right or wrong here but depends on how much time you need, the energy you have, and the sleep you're getting. Remember the time that they're so little and very dependent on you is little, and so won't stay this taxing on the relationship forever. Try have grace for each other.
Get super clear on your values. Knowing your values means knowing what you stand for. When you both are on the same page on your values, you can support each other and understand each others needs.
Contradictions are everywhere. I found in parenting there is a book contradicting anything out there. You might feel overwhelmed with information and contradictory information at that. The more grounded you feel in yourself (from healing) the easier it is for you to trust your gut and feel confident with your decisions, and recover from mistakes too.
Ask each other for specific activities that make the other feel loved that you can each do daily. For example, if being made a cup of coffee in the morning and being told you're doing a great job is important to you - ask your partner for this. And thank them when they do it. And if your partner finds you asking how their day was, and giving them a hand with the groceries is what makes them feel special, do it. The quality of our relationship is not determined by how well we can mind read but by our happiness. If there is love and respect in your requests, tone, and intention - you have won half the battle.
Do the 5 Love Languages quiz by Gary Chapman, every few months. This quiz is like a little cheat sheet to getting to know what your partner needs more of at the moment.
Have grace, keep the faith, and reach out if you need to. You two are undergoing a major identity shift and its okay if you're struggling to navigate this. You don't need to do it alone. There is support. I am happy to help you (individually or as a couple) so you don't drown in resentment, or choke on the loneliness that can come from managing life as a family.
There is magic in family and I believe that families are the backbone of society. Each society is made up of it's communities, and it's communities by its families. So the quality of the family has a direct impact on the quality of our society.
Families for me, are the safe habor from the storms in life. And it gets to be a happy, safe place for you. The way there though is often through healing our childhood injuries, and patterns. Congratulations on this new chapter of your journey and I wish you all the happiness and joy in the world. Warmly, Tehilla