How to OVERCOME Relationship Problems After Having a Baby!
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It’s no secret many couples face relationship problems after having a baby.
I can say first hand, my husband and I were no strangers to arguments, resentment, and lack of romance after our son was born.
As you can imagine, I took on the classic mom role. Constantly tending to our son’s every cry and need. While my husband took care of the home, cooked, cleaned and made sure everything else was taken care of.
I will, however, give him credit for helping me out with feedings, late-night diaper changes, and truly being a great team player and father. Sooooo why the heck did we have issues then?
How life CHANGES after baby
Life as you once knew it will rapidly change after the birth of your baby.
You’re sleep-deprived, you’re sore (from giving birth), romance is probably non-existent, you can’t just up and leave to run errands or go out like before and frankly, you just don’t have the time to put your relationship first with a newborn around,
All these new changes come spiraling in all at once while you’re trying to learn a new task at hand: how to be a parent!
You also need to keep in mind that some moms will experience some form of a postpartum mood disorder as well. These are serious conditions that shouldn’t go unresolved. Yet, it’s another major reason some couples develop relationship issues.
It’s also common that most dads or partners don’t truly understand the effect that hormones can have on a pregnant/postpartum mom.
This leads to mom feeling resentment, frustration, and isolation from their partner.
Having a disconnected husband after baby isn’t uncommon
In turn, most moms don’t realize that dads can also be going through their own version of paternal postpartum depression as well! You can check out the video below by a friend of mine, Abby Burd, LCSW, who talks all about Paternal Postpartum Depression.
Put those 2 people who feel a bit isolated and frustrated with their situation and you’ve got a whole can of worms!
So as much as mom is probably taking on the brunt of these new life changes, dad is still taking some on too!
Is it true…do couples fight more after having a baby?
“After having a baby, 67 percent of couples see their marital satisfaction plummet”, according to research by John Gottman, PhD, published in the Journal of Family Psychology.
Seeing that such a LARGE amount of couples reporting issues after having a baby, it’s no surprise couples fight more after having a baby.
However, don’t feel like all hope is lost!
In fact, if you’re ready to start acting on change right away, you should really check out the book “And Baby Makes Three” by John Gottman.
If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you have a baby on the way OR you’re dealing with relationship issues after baby.
Either way, you’re here to find a way to save your relationship. So now that we understand a little bit more about the HOW and WHY these issues can arise, we can now jump into specific problems and how to combat them!
RELATED POST: How to PREPARE FOR A BABY!
Common Relationship Problems After Having a Baby
Romance after baby is non-existent.
You probably aren’t surprised that after the baby comes a major dip in the romance department.
From a mom’s perspective:
- Your hormones are raging.
- You’re exhausted.
- You constantly have a baby attached to you (if breastfeeding, literally speaking).
- You recently had a baby physically exit your body.
- You’re still exhausted.
- You haven’t even had time to rekindle yourself.
- Your normal routine is flipped upside down.
From a dad’s perspective:
- Might be feeling lonely (coming in last place to the baby).
- Unsure where he fits into the equation.
- Built-up resentment.
- Also exhausted.
- Possibly has changing hormones.
- Worried about household duties/finances (if sole provider).
As you can see, both parents are going through some MAJOR stressors in their own ways.
It’s also pretty common for moms to lack the desire for physical attention from their partners while dads constantly crave more and more.
While sex doesn’t need to be the answer to everything, because there are other ways to keep your romance alive, it’s important to focus on the basics of that concept.
From personal experience, I can tell you that after our son was born, sex was literally the LAST thing on my mind.
I was constantly so tired, still sore at times from birth, felt like I was barely making it through day by day and the last thing I wanted to think about was fulfilling someone else’s needs.
Looking back, I know I went about it all wrong, however, I’m sharing this because it’s not uncommon to feel this way.
How to rekindle romance after baby?
Rekindling romance after your baby doesn’t need to be hard (even though it can feel that way!).
Here’s some tips you can begin to implement to bring back that ‘spark’ within your relationship again!
- Schedule time for you and your partner, ALONE at least once a week. This can be simply just to talk about your day, to snuggle before bed or a date-night!
- DON’T go into an important conversation after a rough day. Sometimes, heading into a much-needed conversation after a rough day is the worst time to bring it up. You’re already frustrated & haven’t had the chance to properly unwind, increases the chances for a major argument.
- Make an effort to hold hands throughout the day, the smallest physical touch can amount to the biggest difference!
- Kiss your partner for 6 seconds each day! This is a tip I learned from my friend above, Abby Burd. She mentions it in her latest online course, ‘Relationships After Baby‘ that it takes about 6 seconds for oxytocin (the love hormone) to release, hence practicing the 6-second kiss daily (or multiple times a day) can show for some pretty beneficial results!
You feel like your partner isn’t helping around the house.
As a new parent, it’s so easy to feel like your partner isn’t ‘carrying their weight’ around the house. We become so hyperfocused on everything we’ve done, taking tabs at what we did, how hard it was to accomplish and then using that against our partner.
The important thing to remember is that EVEN IF you’re doing more around the house, there could be a legit reason.
For example, my husband works 24-72 hour shifts. To say that it would be ‘unfair’ for me to do more chores around the house while he’s AT WORK is a bit unrealistic. Although it sure as hell feels that way sometimes, I did choose to be a stay at home mom (which by the way, I am SO fortunate and lucky my husband is able and willing to work hard so we can live this life).
What I’m trying to say, is everything is give and take.
I’m NOT, however, saying it’s ok for your partner to come home from work and expect it to be a free for all where they don’t ever have to help. My husband works his long shifts, comes home, and jumps right in wherever I need him to.
Finding that mutual balance can be tough, especially in the beginning, but it will happen!
Make sure you and your partner take the time to discuss one another’s needs. Ask them: “What can I do to help you out?” And then have them ask you the same thing.
Make some notes on what it is you need from one another and slowly work towards balancing those needs!
You’re both not taking time for yourselves
Aside from being parents and in a relationship, before ANY of that became a priority, it was all about YOU.
You had needs, hobbies, and friends, right?!?! So…where’d they go?
As much as your child and partner should be the main priorities in your life, you also need to make sure you’re both taking time to fulfill your own personal needs too!
I noticed, at least from my experience, when I wasn’t able to just have a few minutes to myself in a day, I felt like those were the days I had less to give to everyone!
On the days my husband takes on full toddler duty so I can actually get ready without a toddler clinging to my leg, run an errand solo or even just get a workout in, I feel so much better prepared to be a mom and a wife.
If you’re not really sure where or how to start making time for yourself, you might like to read this post I made all about HOW TO get more Self Care!
Find ways to keep your marriage exciting!
Lastly, many couples feel like they simply don’t do anything together anymore.
Regardless of the situation, prioritizing your partner and your relationship is such an important part of parenting.
I don’t care if my children see my husband and I have a rough patch or two, but what I do care about is how they see us work together to overcome those rough patches.
We don’t put in the effort because we have to, we do it because we love each other and we want to. We WANT to better our marriage every day, not just for us, but for our kids.
I think that’s one of the biggest takeaways you have to be able to do.
Like all other areas of a relationship, sometimes the excitement just dulls down after having kids.
You can use these tips to help you add a little bit more excitement back into your marriage:
- Plan out date nights/don’t stop dating one another
- Take part in your partner’s favorite activities
- Flirt with one another
- Verbalize what you appreciate about each other daily
Hopefully, you can walk away from this post feeling like there’s some light at the end of the tunnel if you’re currently struggling.
This describes what my husband and I went though. I’m a perfectionist and after having my son everything was about the baby. My husband felt excluded. Thankfully, we had some open discussion and practiced positive touches in each of our love languages. I love the idea of the 6 second kiss.
I can totally relate to that! It’s definitely tough trying to manage those feelings/behaviors after a baby is born since we just go into instinct mode. I’m so glad to hear you were able to work through the struggles <3
Thanks for sharing! I’m due in 3 weeks and I know it will be a major shift in our relationship. I’m hoping that the additional help we’ll have in the form of my mil will help ease the transition a bit more.
Aw congratulations mama! How exciting! Wishing you the best of luck with your delivery and postpartum! Always here for you if you need to reach out for support!