7 Tips for Strengthening Your Relationship with Your Partner: Starting In The Postpartum Period
The postpartum period is a huge transition and it can feel hard to find the time to focus on all of the things you want to. You want to focus on healing yourself mentally and physically, bonding with your baby and unfortunately, something that often gets neglected is your relationship with your partner. Now, I do believe that having a steady foundation is key and that when that foundation is in place you should not be worried about it crumbling, but we all want to feel loved and know that we are seen. When it comes to expressing love and showing someone that we truly appreciate them we do not need to hire someone to serenade them or buy a million roses. There are simple things we can incorporate into our daily routine that will make our partner feel seen.
I cannot stress enough that you cannot pour from an empty cup. As a society, we constantly expect parents to do this. One parent puts in a huge effort without asking the other for help and feels completely drained, then the other parent picks up a little of the load to pull the drained parent back up but that drains this parent and then they are trapped in a vicious cycle of being drained, then filled, then drained again. It is important to find some balance. Incorporate healthy sustainable methods of caring for one another throughout pregnancy so that those methods are part of your daily routine and do not feel like an added stressor or a chore on your to-do list. But what even are healthy ways to strengthen your relationship without emptying your cup.
1. Over Communicate!
Before the baby arrives, after the baby arrives - just constantly communicate!
Set the expectations of what you want your partner to do postpartum. Is it usually expected that you handle laundry? Let your partner know that you will be passing that task on to them.
Keep the communication going postpartum. It is important to have a safe space to communicate in. With so much going on there are times that just are not ideal for having big talks, like when your baby has a blowout and is inconsolable. Set boundaries and create times and spaces that you have laid out with your partner so you both know when to have those bigger talks.
Communication even extends to text. Text each other messages of gratitude. This helps strengthen your connection when a partner is not home.
Remember, your partner cannot read your mind. Just because you are thinking about how thankful you are, does not mean they know that. Tell them how you are feeling!
2. Educate Yourself!
This is what you are doing by reading this post right now. You are preparing and researching. There are going to be issues that arise postpartum that are different from issues you and your partner have had in the past. Educate yourself on what to expect so that you can fill your toolkit with healthy coping techniques if/when those issues arise!
3. Take Time For Yourself!
The theme stressed here has been not pouring from an empty cup. Self-care is an important way to fill your cup. Allow your partner time one on one with the baby so that you can go do something by yourself. This could be getting lunch with a friend, going for a walk, taking a nice bath, napping, or catching up on a book or show you like.
4. Prioritize Dates With Your Partner!
It can be hard to find time to go out on a date, but you don’t always need to leave the house to have a date night. If you aren't comfortable having a sitter come you can try having more of a mother's helper or have a family member come. Have them watch the baby while you and your partner enjoy dinner together, a nice shower, or even just a nap. Back in my babysitting days, I had a few families I worked with that would have me watch their newborn while they enjoyed a picnic outside together or put a movie on downstairs while I watched the baby up in the nursery. I even had one family camp in the backyard while I watched their twins overnight inside!
Get creative and have fun with it! Some of my favorite date nights have been ones where my partner and I learned a new recipe at home together or nights where we make smores together in the living room fireplace! Coming up with creative ideas shows your partner how thoughtful you are and how important this is to you.
5. Do Things As A Family!
It can feel easy to get stuck in a pattern of one parent being with the baby at a time, especially when one parent is working. Plan activities to do together. This will lighten your load by giving you an extra set of hands during outings, but this also makes your partner feel included. After carrying your baby for nine months and birthing them your partner is probably excited to be even more involved now that the baby has arrived. These moments allow you to all feel connected, as a whole family which furthers the bond between you and your partner. You should feel like a united front in this new territory.
6. Set Realistic Ways For Your Partner To Help!
If you are doing the nighttime feeds, have your partner get up with the baby in the morning. This is a realistic, healthy way to manage your baby’s needs, support each other, and help each other get adequate sleep.
Social media can create unrealistic expectations of what a partner should do. Talk to each other about what is realistic to ask of each other. Remember, unless you set specific tasks to each do, you are a team and should both be responsible for tasks.
7. Prioritize Intimacy!
Intimacy is not just physical, but also emotional. When it is safe to do so, have sex if you want to. Take this as an exciting time to explore what is comfortable and what you enjoy, it may be something different than what you have enjoyed in the past. This is another time when communication is extremely important. Remember that sensations may be different as things have changed during pregnancy and birth. If you are concerned, consult with your provider.
Communication is a way many people connect emotionally, but that may not work for you. Explore your Love Language. It could be physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, or gifts. Talk to your partner about how they can best show you love and ask them how you can do the same. You may be trying hard, but not using their love language.
Another great way to connect emotionally is to stay curious about your partner. Ask questions and show interest in what they are doing. Ask them how they are doing and listen to their answer.
Postpartum is a hectic time full of wild changes, but it is a time that deserves to be remembered and enjoyed. One of the steps to enjoying this period is connecting with your partner and strengthening the team you both are part of. So many people end up blocking out the postpartum period because it was stressful and too much at times, but it is one of the most transformative moments of your life. We make a huge effort to remember our wedding day, prom, and graduation because they are big moments, yet we block out postpartum. Why is that?
Let’s make an effort to better prepare parents and provide them with resources to ease this transition for the whole family, starting with the foundation of the family; the parents.
Leave a Reply.
The light isn't green forever.
Jess Kimball is a Full Spectrum Doula and Certified Lactation Counselor trained in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.