Having a baby can be an emotional rollercoaster. This is bound to affect the relationship between you and your partner. Don’t worry, though - this is completely natural when major changes are happening in your life. Instead of fighting it, accept and embrace the change that parenthood brings.
You may find that there’s more tension in your relationship. The lack of sleep may have you feeling more agitated than usual, which can result in more squabbles with your partner. Every couple experiences turbulence in their relationship in some form, but when this happens it’s important to prioritise your relationship and combat these issues head-on together.
No matter where you’re at in your relationship, communication is key, especially when you have a little one. Having a healthy relationship isn’t always about finding immediate solutions to your problems; simply being able to voice how you’re feeling can help take the pressure off. By staying in the loop with each other's emotions, you can make sure you understand each other.
Touching base with each other regularly also allows both of you to express things you might be struggling with. By doing this, you can support and reassure each other about any worries either of you may be experiencing. Feeling heard and being honest about your feelings gives your partner insight and can help them understand your actions better.
Even if it’s just 5 minutes a day, make sure that you regularly set aside time to prioritise talking through any worries you may have. Once you get into the habit, you’ll find it much easier to be open with each other.
Babies naturally bring chaos, so life might feel more hectic than it used to. A bit of planning can go a long way when trying to spend time with your partner. Making time for each other may seem impossible, but it’s fundamental to spend time together to keep up a healthy relationship.
Whilst we appreciate that you might not be able to do some of the things you used to do together, it’s important to plan some quality time so you have things to look forward to. Quality time doesn’t mean doing big things; looking after a baby is exhausting, so you may not be up for heading out. That doesn’t mean you can’t spend quality time at home together, though. Spending the evening together on the sofa or in bed without any distractions is an example of quality time.
Understandably, the time you have for sex will slip away. You may feel like you lack the energy or drive to have sex, especially in the first few months after giving birth. However, being intimate with one another doesn’t always have to mean having sex - intimacy can be incorporated into your everyday routine. Just because you’re not having frequent sex doesn’t mean you can’t feel close to each other.
Activities like cuddling or holding hands can help remind and reassure your partner that you’re still attracted to them and want to be close even if you’re not having sex. The two of you may have different sexual needs; keep the conversation open about your feelings towards sex and negotiate a way to combat this together so that you both feel comfortable.
A lack of sleep takes its toll on everyone. The adjustment can leave you with less energy, resulting in less patience and increasing the likelihood of arguments. Working together to make sure that you’re both getting enough sleep is key.
Share the workload of getting up at night to look after your baby - this might be difficult if one of you continues to work full-time. You should recognise that the person who isn’t working needs sleep just as much as the person who works full-time, especially after looking after your baby all day and all night. Giving them some time to catch up on sleep when you get home from work or on the weekends is one way to balance this.
Being a new parent is tricky and comes with lots of unique challenges, so go easy on each other. You’re both learning and it might take a little bit of time to adapt your relationship. You’re going to make mistakes, squabble, and snap at each other - try not to hold grudges and let things go when appropriate. Keep communicating and enjoy the whirlwind.
Final thoughts from Kami
It’s okay for your relationship to change after your baby arrives. You’re going to have less time together, you’ll be more tired, and you’ll both be figuring it out as you go along. However, there are ways to keep up your relationship and ensure you and your partner are on the same page. Communication is key, but also don’t forget about the importance of planning and intimacy. By working on your relationship together, you can stay healthy and happy as you embark on the parenthood journey together.