From Two To Three

It’s common for a newborn baby to be in the limelight. As a proud parent, one or both of you might assume that the awe and wonder surrounding baby would automatically build a strong bond between you and your partner. This ideal situation may not necessarily be the case for most parents.

Of the two of you, the new Mum will most likely be the one paying the most attention to a demanding newborn baby at home, and this may create some unexpected jealousy in your marriage. The new father may begin to feel left out and could even resent baby as he feels that Mum is constantly meeting baby’s seemingly endless needs and neglecting his needs. In the flurry of activity involving baby, it’s important to remember that marriage, and subsequently parenting, is a ‘joint venture’ between two people.

To keep your family together especially during the first busy months after baby is born, it is important that the two of you maintain a balance between baby and your relationship.

Once you have put in effort to maintain a happy relationship, you will ultimately be able to lessen the stress of new parenthood and further strengthen your marriage.

Although you may have slightly different priorities since baby’s arrival, bear in mind that now that you’re a family, you need to be united as a couple and as parents. Do all you can to provide a strong, stable home for baby and any more children to come later on. Baby will definitely enjoy the love and happiness that radiate within your home. Your increasing closeness and the support you give one another could make caring for baby a little easier too!

Towards a happy partnership…

Although caring for baby and getting used to being parents may be an exhausting and overwhelming task, you still need to try to focus some attention on each other. Here are some tips on how you can maintain a happy relationship:

  • Make sure your spouse knows you still care for him/her. Even if you spend much of your time feeding, cleaning or fussing over baby, remember not to neglect your spouse, who after all deserves your attention too!
  • Take time to talk. Share your joys, frustrations, anxieties and hopes just as you did while courting and when newly married. Don’t let baby become the only topic of conversation between the two of you or when you meet friends and family.
  • While you talk, make sure you listen, too. Don’t cut off each other’s sentences; hear each other out, even if you disagree over something.
  • If possible, go out for a ‘date’ at least once a month. Leave baby with a caregiver while you catch a movie or go out for a romantic dinner together. Romance should not end when baby arrives!
  • Dad, if you aren’t already involved in caring for baby, get involved now. The only thing you cannot do for baby is breastfeed, but you can cuddle, rock and soothe him to bond or when he cries, as well as bathe and change him. If he cries for a feed in the middle of the night, you can also help by going to him and bringing him to Mum for his midnight snack.
  • Stay intimate with each other. Keep in mind that you do not have to ‘have sex’ to feel close to each other. So, don’t worry too much if you are not up to lovemaking because of exhaustion, Mum’s physical changes or bad timing. Both of you can still touch, hug, cuddle or massage each other to keep the feeling of closeness alive.
  • Avoid blaming or criticising each other for problems around the house or in your relationship. This is pointless and damaging to both of you. New mothers do have some hormonal changes that may cause their emotions to be erratic; fathers should handle this with calm and kindness, not by lashing back with sharp words.

Ready for sex again?

New mothers can start making love again when they no longer feel sore. Although it is entirely up to you, it is best to get the go-ahead from the gynaecologist first during the six-week check-up. Once you have resumed your sex life, take it slowly. After childbirth, the vagina may be slightly drier than normal, so use extra lubrication. During lovemaking, choose a position that does not put too much pressure on wherever is feeling sensitive. Try to make love during baby’s nap time and whenever you are not too tired, so that you are not too exhausted to enjoy it. Don’t focus on sex as an isolated end point to “achieve”. Just enjoy being with each other and soon enough, you’ll find intercourse just as it was before baby came along – or even better.

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