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Having a baby inevitably comes with some changes that directly impact new parents’ relationships. What once (maybe) felt like smooth sailing, is now faced with more arguments, shifting roles, and possibly feeling neglected by your partner. If you’re feeling neglected by your husband after having a baby — these tips are for you.
Let’s clarify that having a baby does not mean your relationship is doomed. However, it does bring a lot of changes that can significantly impact the relationship between you and your partner (for better or worse).
Why You Feel Neglected by Your Partner After Having a Baby…
Relationships are greatly impacted after having a baby. Think about it, the birth parent experiences physical changes, emotional/hormonal changes, relational changes (not just limited to their partner), and sometimes a self-identity crisis.
On the contrary, partners of the birth parent might experience emotional changes, relational changes, and sometimes can also experience a self-identity crisis.
Lastly, you’re both likely spending so much time thinking and doing things with your new baby that you haven’t really been able to fall into a solid routine as a family.
Is it Normal to Feel Resentment Towards Your Partner After Having a Baby?
Although it’s normal to experience changes to your relationship after having a baby, like having less time with one another, it’s not normal for resentment or neglect to become an everyday part of your relationship.
If you asked a group of new moms whether or not they’ve experienced resentment towards their partner after having a baby, I’d bet an overwhelming majority of them would say yes. But the true question lies in whether or not that resentment was repaired or if it’s continued to linger.
If you feel like you’re having a hard time kicking feelings of resentment towards your partner (or them towards you), keep reading for 20 practical solutions to help you reconnect with your husband after having a baby.
Common Relationship Changes That Occur After Having a Baby
So, what type of relationship changes occur that can cause a strain on your relationship after having a baby?
- One or both of you are experiencing sleep deprivation
- Your responsibilities have changed
- There is a severe lack of intimacy
- There is added stress (such as financial or emotional)
- You bicker over household chores
- It feels like you live separate lives (when one parent is responsible for something that the other parent doesn’t have to worry about)
- You’re still in the postpartum period
- You’re experiencing baby blues, postpartum depression, or another mental health concern
- There is a lack of support
- Resentment is slowly building
The good news is, that there are many ways you can use to strengthen and reconnect your relationship with your partner.
How to Tell Your Partner You Feel Neglected Since Having a Baby
Before focusing on reconnecting with your husband or partner, it’s important you communicate the way you’ve been feeling. And it’s not as black as white as you might think.
It’s important to communicate openly in a way that also validates your partner’s point of view. Here’s what I mean.
Instead of approaching the conversation as a “you do this all the time and you are the reason I feel this way”, try “I feel this way, because of _______”.
This type of communication can help minimize defensiveness and also eliminate the “blame game” we often get into when trying to have these important conversations. And don’t forget, it’s important to find the right time for these types of conversations too, here are a few conversation starters you can use:
- Would this be a good time to talk right now?
- There is something I’d like to talk about, would this be a good time?
- When would be a good time for us to chat? I have something on my mind I’d like to discuss.
Once you establish this conversation with your partner, it’s time to start finding ways to bring the two of you back to a place of reconnection and emotional connection.
20 Ways to Reconnect With Your Husband After Having a Baby
Keep in mind, that reconnecting with your husband after having a baby won’t just happen overnight. The first step is acknowledging the problem, then you can focus on the actionable steps below.
With consistency, you’ll find that the hard work you put into making your relationship with your partner a priority will come to fruition in time and truly is the best thing you can do for your growing family.
Focus on Communicating with One Another
As mentioned earlier in this article, establishing an open line of communication with your partner will become a lifeline for your relationship.
If you’re thinking “well we can never have hard conversations without it turning into a fight”, I want you to know that you’re not alone, but also that this shouldn’t be the norm in the first place.
Avoiding the hard conversations in your relationship will only lead to more resentment and dysfunction. Let’s be real, that’s the LAST thing you and your partner need as you’re navigating parenthood together.
I highly suggest the book 7 Principles For Making Marriage Work by John Gottman.
Understand Eachother’s Love Language
It might sound silly, but knowing your partner’s love language can help you navigate this life change of welcoming a new baby a little less overwhelming.
For example, if you know your partner’s needs are often met with acts of service and physical touch — it makes sense to probably start prioritizing your efforts in this area. And the same is true for your needs.
Give Couple’s Therapy a Try
Oftentimes, when marriage problems start to deteriorate the relationship after having a baby, one of the best solutions is to find a couple or family therapist to help you get back to a better place.
There’s no shame in going to therapy. It’s a step towards reconnecting and rebuilding the love that once brought you together in the first place.
Schedule Date Nights (even if you can’t go out)
When is the last time you and your partner had a date night? If it’s been over a couple of weeks, it’s probably time to start planning your next outing.
If getting out of the house doesn’t work with your schedule(s), try a date night at home! It truly doesn’t matter how it happens, but just make sure you’re being intentional with the activities you choose and how you show up.
Be Supportive of Your Partner, Too
Sometimes in parenthood, it can be easy to point the finger at the other partner for not doing something to your liking or needs. However, the reality of a relationship is that it takes 2 people to have a problem.
This means if your partner has tried to talk with you about their needs and maybe you brushed them off because you felt like you had the worst end of the stick, that only going to lead to more relationship problems.
Acknowledge whatever negative feelings you might be having, but don’t let them be the driving factor in how you react or communicate with your partner.
You might just find that lending some compassion their way will help bring you both a little closer together too.
Share the Responsibilities ( & talk about your new roles)
The new responsibility of having a child brings division amongst your old responsibilities. For example, when you take two parents who work full time that use to split chores and errands, how does that workload continue when mom is now taking on more responsibility to breastfeed and be the baby’s main caretaker?
This could also be the other way around.
One of the best ways to navigate this situation is to prepare in advance. Talk to your partner about your parenting goals. Do you want to breastfeed your baby? Can your partner help with late-night feeds? Could you both alternate bath time? Can your partner take one thing off your plate (or vice versa)?
All great things to start thinking about as they’re key elements of your everyday life.
Apologize Without Expectations
Being able to apologize without expecting one in return is a special skill. But I promise it will be a helpful one for you to learn not just for your relationship with your partner, but also for the relationship with your children.
Practice The 6-Second Kiss
The 6-Second Kiss is one I learned from the well-respected Gottman Institute. The idea of this kiss is to establish an intentional moment of connection with your partner.
It sounds like a simple thing to do but think about it. Do you and your partner often get caught up in the busyness of your daily lives that you give one another a quick peck on the lips or cheek before running out the door? Do the words “Love you” roll off your tongue because it’s out of habit?
Taking a few extra seconds to stay locked in for a smooch can disrupt those busy habits and bring you in for a real connection. Something all relationships can probably benefit from anyways.
Read Some Books Together or Take a Class Together
Another great way to reconnect with your partner after having a baby is by simply reading some books together. I love reading intentional books with my husband, in fact, that’s how we came across the 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work.
Below is a list of some of my favorite relationship/parenting books and workshops I suggest to all new parents:
- And Baby Makes Three by Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Gottman
- The Argument Hangover by Aaron Freeman and Jocelyn Freeman
- Becoming the Conscious Parent You Never Had by Bryana Kappadakkunel
After a long day of parenting or working, it can be fun to cook together in the kitchen! Gather all the ingredients for your favorite meal and have fun whipping it up with your partner.
You could even make it a weekly date where the two of you meal prep some dishes for the week. It’s not a fancy date, but it’s something the two of you can do together while enjoying one another’s company.
Be Silly With Eachother
I remember when my husband told me I always seemed so uptight and worried after my first was born. He mentioned he felt like it had been a while since I even laughed.
I realized I was so caught up in my anxiety and stress that we hadn’t even had a moment to just be silly with one another. Through the help of therapy and a supportive husband, I focused some efforts on simply loosening up.
Laughing with my husband and just being able to be myself around him was one of the best remedies to feeling reconnected with one another. I always tell new mothers not to forget the simple things, like laughing and just having fun with one another.
Reminisce on Your Favorite Memories Together
According to John Gottman, “Contempt is the biggest predictor of divorce“. He also shares that “When contempt begins to overwhelm your relationship you tend to forget entirely your partner’s positive qualities, at least while you’re feeling upset. You can’t remember a single positive quality or act.“
So, spend time in the good times.
Maybe, your romantic relationship with your partner isn’t the best it used to be, but there were still great times to reminisce on, so, do it. Talk about what the good parts were like.
Let Your Partner Have Time With Your New Baby
A lack of trust could be a big reason you feel neglected by your partner. If you’re struggling to trust him or her with the basic care of your baby, what message is that sending to them?
Try to think of some different ways you can work on extending more trust to your partner so that they can also have some bonding time with baby. In turn, this can help your relationship because your partner will feel the sense of being included and you will get more breaks to replenish your depleted cup!
Help Your Partner Understand the Physical Changes You’re Experiencing
Your partner may be able to see some stretch marks and loose skin, but those are not the only changes that happened to your body through pregnancy and postpartum.
On average, it can take anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks before postpartum bleeding (aka Lochia) ends. Yet, moms are often given ONE 6-week checkup where they’re “cleared” to resume all normal activities (including intercourse).
Now, I know your husband may be itching to resume the romance in the relationship, but try and help him understand that your body has gone through some changes that even YOU haven’t fully adjusted to yet (that is, if you’re not yet ready to be intimate in bed).
Some women may even experience vaginal dryness, a weakened pelvic floor, pelvic floor prolapse, feeling physically touched out, and more.
Yes, your partner’s needs are important so work with them to explore new ways of intimacy that support the changes your body is going through. Here are some ideas:
- Holding hands
- Back rub
Schedule Family Meetings
One of the best ways to tackle relationship issues after baby is by de-escalating them before they blow up into a massive problem. How can you do this? Well, with a family meeting!
It sounds pretty silly, but it is an effective way of allowing you and your partner a safe place to discuss your concerns without them being brought up in the heat of the moment.
Here is how to effectively use family meetings to reconnect with your partner:
- Pick a date in advance (schedule it in your calendar and make sure it’s recurring so you don’t fall off track)
- Set some rules such as: we will not interrupt one another, this is a safe place to have big conversations, and I promise to listen with a loving heart and open mind.
- Start by acknowledging the positive things. Nobody enjoys, nor should have to sit and listen to a lecture about all the things they don’t do well. Be sure to utilize a soft startup at the beginning of these meetings.
- Move into the areas you’d like to work on. Notice how I referred to them as areas to work on vs problems or things you hate about your partner. If you’re going to work on them as a team, it’s important to be mindful of the little things that can push them away during these conversations.
- Make a plan. Once you have some practical areas to work on, make a plan on how you will accomplish it. Maybe you’d like to feel less touched out so your partner agrees to take the baby for 3 hours in the afternoon 3 times a week while you go and work out. You get the idea.
By implementing even just one of these tips, you’ll be on the way to feeling less neglected by your husband after baby AND reciprocate that compassion back onto them.
Which tip will you try to implement in your relationship? Drop a comment and let me know!
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