So many things change after you have a baby. Your body changes, your priorities change, your whole life changes. One thing though is how your relationship will change once you have a baby.
Once you have a baby, you become a mother, but it’s important to remember that you were someone’s partner first. Whether you have a husband, a wife, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, or a baby daddy, it’s important not to lose sight of that relationship.
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How Becoming a Mom Changes You
When you become a mom, your entire world shifts. You are no longer worried about yourself, now you are worried about the tiny human that you have brought into this world. It’s an amazing and humbling experience.
Becoming a mother forces you to stop being selfish. You also figure out what it is to truly love someone more than yourself. The problem with all of this lovey-dovey stuff is that it is not the only thing going on when you become a mom.
Those first few weeks (*ahem* months) of motherhood are TOUGH. The sleep deprivation alone is enough to drive anyone crazy, and if you’re breastfeeding then that can cause even more stress. Your whole world will revolve around caring for your new baby and figuring out how you can function on pop tarts and no sleep. Suffice to say that your relationship will take a hit.
Marriage After Baby
During all of this stressing over keeping the baby alive, your husband will probably feel a little left out. There are bonding experiences that are unique to a mother and her child that your husband just won’t be able to understand. That isn’t his fault, and it isn’t yours either. That’s just how things work.
The problem is when you put the bond with the baby far above your love for your husband. Having a baby is hard, I’m not going to sugar coat that fact. That baby won’t be a baby forever though. At some point in time, that baby is going to grow up, move out of your house, and start his own family.
At that point your household will consist of you and your husband again. What kind of relationship do you want to have? So, if you don’t want to be alone or in an unhappy relationship when your kids grow up, here are a few things that you can start doing right now to protect your relationship.
Small Gestures of Appreciation
Maybe you start the water for his tea in the morning, maybe you take out the trash when it’s full instead of waiting for him to do it, or maybe you make him his favorite meal for dinner. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but doing something for your husband that shows how much you appreciate him can go a long way.
When I first had my son, I spent so much time and effort worrying about him that I completely forgot about my husband. I forgot that I was a wife first and a mother second and I’m sure that there were times when my husband didn’t feel that I did appreciate him and all he does for our family. Doing little things here and there have really helped us.
If you’re thinking about him during the day, send him a short text. Take a moment to enjoy a lingering kiss in the morning before he leaves for work. Remember why it is that you fell in love and embrace it.
Put Your Phones Down
In this day and age everyone is on their phones all the time. I know that I’m definitely guilty of this at times. My husband and I really have to make an effort to not be on our phones when we’re with each other and actually be WITH each other.
We have a rule of no phones during meals which really helps. We also put our phones away in the evening after the baby has gone to bed and we settle in for a movie. Facebook will still be there after the show, but how often do you actually get to just sit on the couch with your husband and just relax? Probably not enough. Enjoy it while you can.
Don’t Forget the Me-Time
Before we had our son, my husband and I would occasionally spend time away from each other. Sometimes it was going out with friends, and sometimes it was me taking a “vacation” in the bathtub with a bottle of wine and a book. Either way, we didn’t spend every moment together.
We both also had our own jobs that we were busy with during the day. Having those other things going on meant that the time that we did spend together was more for us and we could forget about outside distractions.
Now that we have a little one running around, it’s harder to have those moments all to ourselves. My husband works during the day, but I stay home with my son. I wouldn’t trade that privilege for anything in the world, but it’s hard sometimes. It means that all day every day I am taking care of my son and then trying to take care of my husband when he comes home in the evenings.
I spend so much time on the rest of my family that I forget to take care of me. Take some time every day to focus on you. Whether that’s going for a walk in the evening, waking up early to enjoy your coffee in peace, or spending a little extra time in the shower just enjoying the silence. It’s okay to put yourself first every now and then.
Taking the time to focus on you to practice a little self-care can make you a happier person. And when you’re happy, your kids will be happier, and your husband will be happier.
After housing my baby for nine months, then pushing him out, then having to deal with feeding him every 2-3 hours, the last thing in the world I wanted was to be touched. Not to mention the fact that the idea of sex really kind of weirded me out after having a baby.
I was also a little worried about it hurting since I had heard that was a possibility. So, we waited. And my husband felt unwanted. Having him feel unwanted and unloved was definitely not my intention, but I just wasn’t ready to start up a sexual relationship with my newborn around. I needed more time. And that’s okay.
I think a lot of women feel that they have to jump right back into bed when they get the all clear from the doctor at six weeks, that’s not the case though. Having a baby is a huge experience, it’s okay to take some time to adjust to that. Just don’t forget about your husband while you’re adjusting.
Intimacy doesn’t just have to be about having sex. There are plenty of other things that you can do to help you and your partner feel close to each other.
One great thing that you can do is to figure out each other’s love language. Knowing exactly how your husband feels loved will help you figure out what things that you can do to still show him that you love him and care for him while you’re healing from childbirth.
Have Date Night
I’m sure you’ve heard over and over again the importance of still dating your husband, even after having kids. That’s because it is so vital for your relationship. Just because you are married with children, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still be spending time focusing on your marriage and making sure that each other is happy.
Now, I completely understand the struggles of finding the time to go out when you have a baby, especially if it is a new baby. While going out to dinner and a movie is a lot of fun, and you should definitely try to do that sometime, it doesn’t have to be every week. You can have a date night at home, just the two of you.
When the baby is asleep, watch a movie together, put down the technology and talk to each other (not about the baby!), or make a nice meal together. Anything can be a “date” if you have the right mindset.
There are so many things involved with having a baby. The feedings, the changings, the burping, the rocking. It’s crazy! Many times, as moms, we feel that we have to take care of everything because we feel that the baby is ours and so our sole responsibility. News flash! It took two people to make that baby, it takes two people to take care of it.
You also both live in the house and make messes. You are both responsible for caring for it. Trying to take care of everything is going to run you ragged and make you unhappy. That isn’t good for you, the baby, or your marriage.
Communicate with your partner the tasks that you would like for him to take care of. In my house for instance:
- I cook, he cleans.
- On the weekends, he gets up at night with the baby.
- When my son was a newborn, he would stay up for the first “shift” during the witching hour while I got some much-needed sleep.
Figure out what tasks you are getting overwhelmed with and have your partner take care of those things. Taking some of the unnecessary weight off of your shoulders will make you so much happier.
Give Your Marriage Time to Adjust
Bringing a new baby into the world is a life-changing experience. You will have to take the time to adjust to being a parent, just like your relationship will have to adjust to including your new little one. Your marriage will change after you have a baby. It doesn’t have to be for the worse though.
If you take the time to nurture it just like you are nurturing your new baby, then it will continue to grow and evolve and flourish into something beautiful. Take the time to work on your relationship, don’t let it fall to the back burner because of the new baby.
Ask for help when you need it. Find a sitter, ask a family member to help out, communicate with your partner, and if all else fails bring in a professional. Helping your marriage survive is still important. Remember, you were a wife first.
Are you having problems putting your relationship first after having your baby? Leave me a comment below or join the conversation in our Facebook group.
Until next time!