And just like that…Poof! Your unit of one just skyrocketed into ‘plus one’ in a blink of an eye. Your life as you know it suddenly changed. Baby’s home, and suddenly, you’ve got family. Or a bigger one. Congratulations! It’s one of the biggest and best milestones you’ll ever have in your life, and now you may be wondering, what does the future look like, and what, if anything, will change.
Everything. And how that “Everything” changes your life, or affects you, will depend not only on your responses to it, but your mindset about it. Despite how scary and exciting it all is, your thinking at the beginning will dictate your next thought, behaviour, and actions. You’re thinking, is it true what they say? Marry sexy end up with dowdy? Marry crazy and exciting, then end up with boring? Marry into a relationship full of sex and end up getting…none? Nothing has to change. It’s a myth. But it is going to take creativity, time, patience, and a little work. Fun work.
In my experience of well over a decade with new families, one of the biggest changes my clients complain about is their lack of romance once baby arrives. Apart from the obvious discomfort, sleeplessness, fatigue, hormonal upheaval and imbalance, and Mom’s overall general recovery, many couples experience a slowdown in the romance and sex departments, especially in the days and weeks after baby.
Dad’s may even feel as though they don’t want, or aren’t interested in, any physical or emotional closeness. After all, a baby just came out of your Va-j-j. It can be be overwhelming for Dad’s too. Dad may feel like he wants to give you things a rest and not interfere with anything “down there” until he feels as though it’s safe enough, or he’s gotten over what miraculousness you just created.
What is certain, is that there comes a time when it’s time to rekindle that flame, to recalibrate, get your bearings, create, fall into some sort of ebb and flow, begin living as a family, and just as importantly to the love and marriage relationship, reconnect as a couple. It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle life with kids, and easy to loose the emotional and romantic connections with your spouse, so it’s important to work on your relationship continuously, and keep the romance going.
If sex isn’t on your list quite yet, that’s ok. The emotional aspects of love, connecting feeling connected, appreciated, valued, and loved, are just as important, if not more, and will help kickstart and stir up feelings of love and arousal. Emotional bonding is the caveat to wherever you want it to lead, so Moms, Dads, lets get started…
How About It…..Love Notes
I love this, because they’re easy, simple, and something anyone can do, anywhere. You’re never more than a few inches from being able to write or send a message to anyone, anywhere, thanks to cell phones, computers and social media. Oh, and don;t forget the old fashioned pen and paper, my favourite. A few quick strokes of the pen or finger clicking throughout the day can send thoughts of love, appreciation, or suggestion, anyone’s way.
You can also sticky-it onto a lunch bag, briefcase, a book, his or her coffee mug, the font-seat of the their car as you’re on your way out (my husband did that one just yesterday), or even the fridge, bathroom counter, or sheer door. Be thoughtful and creative…it add bonus point, I promise. My husband sometimes leaves notes for me in the fried on the milk-the very last place I’d ever think of receiving a love note, but he knows I like milk in my coffee. And because it’s the last place I’d ever think of, it always puts the biggest smile on my face. And, he gets the bonus points. Later…..
Small Favours…Go a Long Way
Isn’t it true, when you don’t have to ask someone to do something for you, and somehow, you realize it miraculously got done? That’s the best. Especially if your spouse is someone who is always busy working and seems never to have the time to do the things you’ve asked. Here’s a little extra bonus….it can be a real turn-on when some (or all) of your to-do list gets done for you, without the ask. The reward of having it been done signals your pleasure and feel-good centres, makes you feel good and happy, and makes you want to reciprocate the give. Bonus!
Dates are still important, even more important than before, because you need to find and make the time. So, find and make the time. Does it mean you have to actually go out and spend money? No. Not always. Who says you can’t have a home-date? There are no rules. You can set your own and be spontaneous or creative. Or both. Set aside some agreed-upon time with your spouse and partner, and just be. Enjoy the time you’re spending together. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and it doesn’t have to be a long period of time. Take what you can get. Go for a walk, grab a java or some ice-cream. Put the kids in their play areas or down for a nap, and maybe watch a show, a movie, or just lie down together and cuddle. Or more. Quality is king and queen here, so make sure the time you’re spending with each other is meaningful and connected.
The emotional and physical reconnect may happen faster for some couples, and not so fact for others. Don’t compare yourselves or your relationship to your parents’ or best friends’. We’re all different with different needs, paces, and ways of connecting, and some couples connect faster than others. Get to know what your spouses needs and wants are. If they’re not the same or less than than were before baby, give it some time.
This is new territory. An approach of slow wins the day, coupled with baby steps, are a great way to start and is a healthy mindset to have. Keep your expectations in check to avoid disappointment, and just enjoy each other. Talk to each other. Communicate. Let your spouse get close in any way your feel you need, and let the mood take you where it may. If it’s just not working for you, seek Professional advice, help, or support. It could be Post Partum Depression (PPD), stress, anxiety, overwhelm, or something else that’s temporary but that which needs intervention. I’m right here if you’d like to chat and work through it.