Maintaining a Happy Marriage After Having a Baby
For many couples, having a baby is the culmination of years of planning and dreaming. It’s the start of your family life together and can bring you even closer together as a couple.
Having a baby is also incredibly stressful. You’ll miss out on plenty of sleep and must work together to ensure that your child gets all the love and attention they deserve.
The hard work that raising a child requires may mean that your relationship goes on the back burner for a while. It’s easy to lose sight of the romance when the diapers need changing, and you’re running on two hours of sleep.
However, investing time into your relationship post-baby is vital. Taking time for yourselves sets a great example for your newborn child and can help keep the romance alive.
Communication is key at any stage of a relationship. However, it’s particularly important after the arrival of a baby. Your life changes dramatically when you bring a baby home, and shifting priorities can make it harder to find time to sit down for a much-needed chat.
Make communication easier by setting a time when you come together to talk through the week’s challenges and how you plan to overcome them together. Even a short, ten-minute chat can give you both the time you need to raise issues and work through problems.
When communicating, try to be gentle with one another and work from a place of empathy. Your partner may be feeling more strain than you expect. Frame problems as kindly as possible, but be honest about your thoughts and feelings.
Raising a newborn is a lot of work. It’s even harder if you aren’t splitting responsibilities fairly. Rather than being frustrated in silence, create a plan together to help divvy up the tasks that need to be completed around the house.
If you’ve been in the baby-raising routine for a while, you may want to shift responsibilities simply to change things up. Being the one who always changes the diapers or rocks the baby to sleep can quickly become tiresome and takes the joy out of raising your newborn child.
If you’re struggling to communicate and split responsibilities fairly, you may wish to seek help from friends and family.
When you first bring your baby home, you don’t ever want to let them out of your sight. However, as you settle into your routine, you may find that you need a break from being a mother from time to time.
Don’t feel bad about admitting that you need some extra help. Parents and close family friends are usually more than happy to take over child-raising duties from time to time and will relish the opportunity to spend time with your newborn.
A nighttime nanny can be particularly beneficial if you and your partner are struggling to get enough sleep and feel that it is affecting your marriage. A night nanny is a professionally trained caregiver who can offer extra help when your baby is struggling to sleep.
As a new mother, Kristina Godfrey, co-founder of a successful PR agency, calls her night nanny a “lifesaver” and a “gift from God”. Night nannies can also offer to coach you and your partner, meaning you have professional insights to help improve your parenting skills.
Date nights are the perfect opportunity to rediscover your intimate side and take a night away from child-raising responsibilities. Line up expert care from a grandparent or night nanny, and enjoy an evening just to yourselves.
Consider a budget-friendly date night if having a baby has put financial pressure on your marriage. Attend a local open mic in town or a concert in the park. If you are both an outdoor enthusiast, plan a sunset hike or visit a local botanical garden during the long summer days.
When on your date, try to avoid talking about childcare-related responsibilities. These conversations should take place at different times. Instead, focus on each other or the event that you are attending. Ask about hobbies that you want to take up when childcare becomes less time-intensive, and plan trips together when your child is a little older.
Couples counselling has a bad reputation among many couples. However, if you feel that your marriage is under strain, it may be time to go to couples therapy. Seeing a therapist sooner rather than later might be the best way to maintain a happy marriage after the arrival of your newborn.
Couples therapist Kaara Kiddo tells couples, “Please seek help when you still like each other,” as it can be “extremely difficult to help a couple when one partner has emotionally checked out.” Even a few short sessions with a couples therapist can help you identify issues and work from a place of mutual love and understanding.
Life can feel a little different after you have a child. However, you can keep the romance alive by getting help and organizing date nights that help you reconnect. If you still feel that you’re drifting apart, consider couples counselling as a good relationship therapist can help you rediscover the true north in your relationship.