Expectant couples spend a lot of time planning for Baby’s arrival so that they are well prepared for this wonderful event. All of which is essential as it shapes your thoughts about parenthood and family.
Most couples spend time discussing their ideas about child rearing, discipline, routine, establishing new family traditions and dreaming about their future with the new arrival. An important issue that many couples don’t address is the changes that’ll occur in their relationship. Both are often afraid to even mention their concerns in case it sounds foolish or that it might be interpreted that he/she isn’t looking forward to Baby’s birth.
It is essential that couples make time to think about this issue and express an awareness of possible challenges you may face. It will also help to set the scene for future discussions about you relationship as the need arises.
Here are some of the common fears
- Not having enough quality time together as a couple and always putting Baby first.
- Worry that Dad will feel neglected.
- Dad’s works far away and isn’t home much. He worries about how Mom will cope on her own, and what effect his absence will have on his relationship with Baby.
- Not acknowledging each other’s sacrifices (fighting over differences).
- That Dad won’t find Mom desirable after Baby’s arrival.
- By staying at home with Baby, Mom will lose the intellectual stimulation of adult company.
- Loss of communication and intimacy.
- Emotionally disconnected
- Partner will love Baby more than me.
- Between all the responsibilities, there’s no more ‘us’ time.
- Communication that leads to consensus and team work
- Micro-management will make partner and self crazy
- No more sex
- Not enough time to talk to each other
- Feeling alone and abandoned
- No more ‘me time’
Communication is key
We often only talk about surface issues and do not address the real challenges. Good communication takes practice and if you have difficulty discussing certain subjects, it might be a good idea to get some help to fine tune this skill.
Agree not to address serious matters when you’re tired or irritable as this will inevitably lead to an argument. Unless you’ve ample practice at using effective communication tools, you won’t remember them when an issue pops up. Chances are that you won’t be thinking straight. When all else fails, just try to keep these two tips in mind.
- Take a time out. Explain to your partner that you’re upset and cannot deal with the issue at present. Take a few minutes to calm down, take a walk, have a bath or do something that will allow you to relax slightly. A lot more damage will be caused by words said in the heat of the moment, which cannot be taken back.
- Don’t walk away and hope the problem will disappear. It won’t. It will remain bubbling under the surface and boil over again the next time there is a disagreement. There’s an old saying that goes: ‘Never to go to bed angry’. Try to live by it.
During Baby’s first few months, also try to put the following practices in place:
- Give Dad breathing space when he first arrives home before you start sharing the day’s challenges with him.
- Assign him a few tasks when he’s home such as bathing and spending time with Baby. Take this time to pamper yourself, for example relax in a bubble bath. This will also allow Dad to build confidence in handling Baby and will show that you trust him as a father.
- He might not always remember to do what you agreed on. Don’t be confrontational, rather remind him by leaving funny notes where he will see them.
- If somebody offers help, accept it and be clear what you need. It may be a cooked meal or someone to watch Baby for an hour or two so that you can get some sleep.
- Acknowledge each other’s efforts and affirm your partners’ strengths. Both of you are finding your feet as parents and it is important to build your confidence.
- Discuss your individual love languages as it will then be clear what your partner can do to make you feel loved.