Your relationship now there’s a baby in tow
Now you’re parents, we look at what this means for you two as a couple
In the excitement of preparing for a new arrival most parents promise each other “It won’t change US at all!” But will this be true – can a relationship be the same once you have a baby? You might have hoped your child will bind you together, or even bring you closer if you’ve had a rough patch. The fact is that things will never be the same again. Will it be better, or worse – or just different? Follow these tips and you could find that your relationship as a couple can be better than ever.
There’s no point in promising each other nothing will be different and then feeling resentful or guilty when it is - as it will be. Change is hard, even when it’s something you want and welcome. Be honest and open about anything you find difficult or scary so the two of you can work it out together.
Coupledom is important
Instead of being individuals or part of a couple, you may now see yourself as parents first. But babies thrive best when their parents have a strong and loving personal relationship. If your own closeness feels like it’s fallen by the wayside, you’re short-changing your child just as much as you are letting each other down. Make the time; grab moments to be as loving and sexy with each other as you always have been or wanted to be.
Having a baby brings another person into your relationship – there’s no two ways about it. While love can be stretched to fit over your expanded family, time and attention cannot. You may feel you have to put the new arrival first – after all, baby is more likely to scream the house down over a delayed meal than your partner! But being side-lined by your loving companion can lead to resentment and feelings of rejection. And feelings of guilt either for begrudging an innocent child or for ignoring a loved partner. Play, bond and communicate with your baby – but do the same with your partner.
It’s all about both of you
In a straight relationship, men tend to get pushed to the side by excited friends and family eager to congratulate and support the new mum. Make a real effort to accept and convey that you’re in this together. Tell people “We’re pregnant!” rather than ‘I’ or ‘she’. Male gay couples or couples using a surrogate probably find this aspect easier as both of you are waiting to be handed a child, but you still may find family prioritise the needs of one partner over the other. Resist this – it’s about both of you.
Spread the love
Think of all the ways you used to show your love and make each other feel special and cherished. Some may have to be parked until later – no spontaneous weekends away for a bit - but many can be adapted and continued. Regular hugs and ‘I love you’s keep the spark alive even when you are harassed and exhausted!
Bounty “Sex & Relationship” articles are written by expert Suzie Hayman. Suzie is agony aunt for Woman magazine, a Relate trained counsellor, and an accredited TripleP (Positive Parenting Programme) parenting educator. She makes frequent appearances on TV and radio and as well as writing 31 books, Suzie writes features on parenting, relationships, sex and couples counselling, for a wide range of national magazines and newspapers