Your relationship with your partner is likely to change when you enter parenthood. Up to 9 out of 10 couples experience more conflict in their relationship following the birth of their baby.
Common relationship problems during early parenthood include:
- Being unhappy with how the household and childcare tasks are shared
- Reduced satisfaction with your sexual relationship
- Less quality time together
- The focus shifting from your partner to your baby
It is important to nurture your relationship with your partner during this big life change. Strengthening your connection and supporting one another will help you deal with the stress and challenge of being new parents. Partners who feel connected and happy in their relationship are less likely to experience depression during pregnancy or following childbirth. Here are some tips to help you maintain and strengthen your connection with your partner.
Top 5 tips for staying connected:
1. Prioritise time together
Once you are parents it is extra important to set aside quality time with your partner, whereas before you may have taken such occasions for granted. Arrange to do enjoyable activities and try to get outdoors together with your partner as often as possible. Set aside quiet-time to spend together while your baby is sleeping, even if it is only for 10 minutes.
2. Communicate openly about how you are feeling
Open communication will strengthen your relationship. Share your concerns, thoughts, and feelings with your partner. Ask your partner about their day and how they are feeling, rather than just focusing on your baby.
3. Do things to show your appreciation
You can do small things to show your love and appreciation, such as buying flowers, making a cup of tea, or giving a massage. Make time for one another, even if its just a few minutes together while your baby is sleeping.
4. Encourage each other
When you have a baby you are learning brand new skills. Be gentle with one another - give yourselves time to adjust to your new roles. Let your partner know that you’re there for them and try to be patient and understanding. Praise your partner‘s parenting efforts and encourage them if they are unsure about how to do something.
5. Explore different types of intimacy
If you or your partner find that you are less interested in sex after childbirth, try exploring different ways to be intimate, such as cuddling or hand holding. Talk to each other about how you are feeling about sex and what helps you feel connected to one another.
For more information
About the Author
Pam is a registered psychologist working in private practice and as a researcher and lecturer. She specialises in the couple relationship during the transition to parenthood, and is the founder of Partners to Parents. Pam is passionate about the prevention of mood problem during pregnancy and early parenthood.
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