Sure, you’re at an all-time high after having a baby. The first 24-48 hours is all about the “ohhhhs” and “awwwwwssss,” and the excitement of bringing this beautiful baby of yours into this world, and then reality hits. At least it did for me. Today I’m going to share with you something that might be a little TMI, but I thought it was an important topic to cover because this is information I wish I knew before. Some of you may or may not be married, yet alone have a baby yet, but I believe that these are tips that are relevant to any relationship. So here’s my Relationship Reveal: Marriage After Baby.
A lot of people assume, including myself, that a relationship will get easier and automatically stronger because of a baby. Although that might be true for some people … it definitely wasn’t for me, and I think I learned it the hard way. Having a baby, as you can all imagine, is tough…there are a lot of changes physically, emotionally, and mentally. From the new demanding schedule of breastfeeding to sleep deprivation to raging hormones to “why do I still look pregnant 6 months after giving birth?” There’s a lot to take in. The last thing you really want to worry about is your relationship with your significant other because well, you are EXHAUSTED and so is he. The easiest and most obvious thing to do is dismiss your relationship with your husband/significant other because of course they understand what you are going through. It’s easy to put something on the back burner if you know that it will always be there, right? It took me 3 months to realize that I needed to change my attitude about my relationship with my husband after having a baby. I’ve always been so thankful for how hands-on and supportive Allen has been since we had Chloe, and I just assumed my words would be enough to show him how appreciative I was to him. We were both exhausted that we barely had any quality time to ourselves, and date night? Forget about it! To be completely honest because I was spending SO much time with Chloe, from nursing to snuggling with her during naps, I kind of forgot and lost sight of the rest of the world. And it was completely unintentional when I was losing sight of my relationship. I think it was the 3-month mark when we both realized we needed to make some changes. Thankfully Allen and I have an undeniable bond, and we were able to openly talk about it and work things out. So here are a few tips that worked for us.
1. Date Night
We try to have a date night once a week, and if things get busy we at least go every other week. We will ask our parents to come over and babysit Chloe, and it’s our chance to get out and do something we’ve always wanted to do! Life will ALWAYS get busy, so we now pre-plan our date nights. We jot it down in our calendars a month in advance, so we are both able to work our busy schedules around those dates. Don’t wait until you have time, but instead, make it a priority!
2. Talk About Things Other Than Your Children
This is a hard one because our lives revolve around Chloe, but this has been a healthy exercise that we have been practicing. It allows us to talk about the things that we normally never get to talk about, such as our emotions and what we are personally experiencing in our daily lives. You’ll be surprised the amount of things you didn’t know about the other person when you are able to truly open up!
3. Be Open With Your Words & Be Affectionate
A little affection goes a long way. I remember feeling SO overwhelmed the first 3 months when I was juggling work while nursing. So much so that a simple “You are a great mom & wife” or an “I am so proud of you, you are doing an amazing job” can really go a long way. The first time Allen told me this, I remember I ran to the bathroom and started crying! Besides the fact that I was incredibly hormonal at the time, it was with those very words that you realize that you ARE doing a good job. I think so many times I questioned myself as a new mom, that hearing it from Allen made me feel like I was on the right path.
4. Arguing is OK
You might remember me talking about this from my Heart To Heart video HERE, but arguing is OK! In fact, Allen and I always try to fight it out until we get to a semi-middle ground. We never go to bed angry at each other, and we try to talk it out before we go to sleep. There’s nothing worse than waking up angry at each other.
5. Have a Glass of Wine
Honestly, I never thought I would say this because I was NEVER a drinker, but now I can say once Chloe is in bed … it’s wine’o clock! It’s extremely hard for me to shut off, my mind is always going 100 miles per hour with ideas and things I could do for work. I’ve learned that it’s important to shut off at a certain hour not only for yourself but also for your relationship’s sake. Don’t get me wrong … I’m not saying that wine is the only way to bond with Allen, but it’s a tool that has helped us to both shut off and connect with each other. Wine might not be for you, but all I’m saying is that it’s important to find that tool for your own relationship!
6. Involve Your Partner
It’s easy for us women to do everything after giving birth- nursing, burping, cradling, napping, etc. But it’s important to give responsibilities to your partner as well. Sometimes men could feel insignificant and not needed in a relationship since there is not much for them to do since the baby is with you all day long. Even to this day Allen’s responsibility is to do the morning shifts- feed her breakfast, change her diapers, and get her dressed (of course I pick out the clothes the night before … haha) before he goes to work. I handle everything in between and also the night shifts. It’s important to have (semi) equal roles if possible and to share responsibilities.
7. Be Intimate
I talked about this topic on my Heart to Heart video HERE, but it’s so important to be intimate and keep it sexy in the bedroom! Now let me make it clear … it takes some time to heal down there, and to actually feel comfortable having sex after giving birth. But once you feel ready … it’s important to keep it a priority because when you are being intimate with one another you are bonding and connecting … never undervalue that!
Just remember that if your relationship feels like it’s taken the backseat for a bit … that’s ok. There might be times when things don’t seem as exciting or the connection doesn’t seem as strong, but that’s part of a growing relationship. All relationships go through phases, and it’s an emotional roller coaster … especially after having a baby! But I promise you it will get back to normal, you just need to give it some time and energy (and some sleep could help too).
Now that Allen and I are 15 months in since having Chloe, our bond has never been stronger, and our life has never been more exciting. We both make more of an effort to spend time, talk, and connect with each other. A relationship after having a baby is challenging, but it’s equally as rewarding!