YOU: How your first baby changes your relationship

08 August 2017
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There’s no simple way of putting it – when the baby arrives, your life changes. This is particularly true when it comes to your relationship.

Going from two to three is one of the biggest transformations you’ll face as a parent. This can make your relationship with your partner susceptible to change, often in ways you don’t expect. Increased tiredness, time constraints, stress and even financial worries can all take their toll.

But hopefully, the experience will make you stronger as parents and lovers. And don’t worry, there will naturally be ups and downs. It’s simply how you deal with the challenges that will make the difference – before and after your baby is born.

How does your relationship change after the baby?

This will be different for every couple. But just to give you a heads up, here are some (of many!) common ways your relationship can change.

There might be a little resentment

Don’t worry, you won’t hate your partner. But you might find yourself snapping at one another more than you used to. Little things can set you off, like the way they change a diaper, or going to work drinks while you’re at home taking care of the baby.

It will be harder to find time

You’ll feel like there are a million and one things to do when the baby arrives. This means spending quality time with your partner can easily fall by the wayside. But keep in mind that spending time together, away from the baby, can help you reconnect.

Your sex life might take a nosedive

This is natural. And to be honest, it’s not something you want to rush back into if you’re not ready. While you’ll have to wait for a few weeks anyway, added stress and exhaustion can delay sex for months at a time. Just try to be open with your partner about how you’re feeling, so they don’t think the lack of intimacy is their fault.

Your baby becomes your number one

For mums, you’ll love your baby more than anything else in the world. So be wary that for a time, you’ll probably focus on your child more than your partner. But don’t forget that you’re both crazy about the baby, so try not to let this get between you.

Despite the challenges, you’ll bond

Even with the ups and downs, you’ll likely become much closer with your partner. There’s nothing more intimate than creating a life together, and you’ll probably catch yourself loving your partner in completely new and exciting ways.

How to strengthen your relationship before your baby is born

Pregnancy and romance can be a difficult combo. For women, carrying a baby inside your womb is challenging enough. But maintaining a strong relationship during this time is vital. While it will take extra effort, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Pregnancy is beautiful, no matter what

Intense hormonal changes are part of the pregnancy package. You can feel happy and glowing one second, angry and unattractive the next. While all of this is normal, it doesn’t mean your partner thinks any less of you. You’re not going to be pregnant forever, so it’s best to make these special moments last. By embracing your belly, you’ll feel more attractive on an emotional and physical level.

It takes two to tango

For nine months, you and your belly will be the centre of attention. As nice as this is, make sure your partner feels supported too. Encourage them to participate in all baby-related activities, make time for each other, and if you have to, schedule in the romance.

Talk it out

Communication is key. Now that you know a baby is on the way, it’s important to always be open and honest about the changes that happen, and will continue to happen, in your lives. Nine months is a long time to prepare for something, so use it to your advantage.

How to strengthen your relationship after your baby is born

While you can’t always predict what your life will be like, there are some simple ways to maintain a strong relationship when your baby arrives.

Get on the same page

While you might think your parenting style is better than your partners, it’s best to approach parenting as a united front – otherwise, tensions can arise. If you’re too dissimilar in your methods, work on ways to compromise.

Plan for sex

Sure, there’s nothing better than spontaneous sex. But let’s be honest, you’re not going to have the time if you don’t create it. This might mean getting a babysitter or making the bedroom a baby-free zone half the week.

Talk finances

Having a family is expensive, and if you’re not careful, money problems can put pressure on the relationship. Before and after the baby arrives, always talk openly about how you will afford your lifestyle, ways of saving, and who will be working more.

Make mealtimes stress-free

The less stress in your post-baby life, the better. Mealtimes can be frantic, but there are a few ways to keep things calm. Schedule dinner early, keep the meals simple, don’t worry if your child doesn’t like your cooking, and even involve them as they grow up.  

 

Written by

Gwen Mackey

Gwen Mackey is passionate about learning development, technology and family dynamics. A full-time mum of 4, Gwen uses her writing to pass on her knowledge with other parents to help guide them through the sometimes turbulent, but always rewarding life of family.

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