Life changes instantly once we have a newborn. It is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences a couple can have. It brings joy and a newfound commitment to the relationship and now to a family of three. Grandparents, family and friends are eager to get involved with helping and visiting. Responsibilities increase, expenses increase and privacy decreases. Our routine is completely disrupted and new patterns are developed. Couple time becomes family time.
It is so easy to get caught up with the day to day activities, responsibilities and obligations. This is one of those times in life that setting clear boundaries is of the utmost importance. If you are the type of person who does not like to confront for fear of hurting other’s feelings, and wanting to please everyone, this might be a good time to re-evaluate the effectiveness of that thinking. You have a right to say no regardless of how generous grandparents have been with babysitting time or gifts.
There is nothing wrong with requesting some time alone with your spouse and baby. Going from two to three requires an adjustment period and transition into these new roles. Although fulfilling, exciting and rewarding, it can also be challenging. Allowing others to interfere can create more tension and anxiety. Friends and family all want to visit and meet the baby. Setting limits and knowing what works and doesn’t work for you can be key in managing stress. This is a new experience for you both and adjusting to the new lifestyle requires time, energy, patience, understanding and establishing healthy boundaries.
Sleep deprivation becomes another issue with a newborn. Scheduling time for romance often falls to the bottom of the list. Feeding times, nap time, diaper changes, bathing and sleeping become priorities. However, over time passion can fade if you do nothing to nurture it. Date nights have the potential to take your marriage and make it spicy, meaningful and fun again. Schedule a date night just for the two of you.
Be selfish with your time and make your relationship a priority. This will benefit you, your relationship, your baby and your family. It may be difficult to implement; however, once you have a clear sense of boundaries and know that in the long run this will benefit your relationship, it will be easier to prioritize. You will feel better. You may have to call the grandparents in to babysit or hire a babysitter so that your plan is definite. Regaining intimacy with each other is important especially when a child arrives. Finding the time to talk things over and be a couple again, even if it is a few minutes daily, can strengthen the couple relationship.
Transitions throughout the life cycle can present challenges for all families when roles change and can often bring even greater closeness and connection. Having a baby is a stressful experience that challenges even the best of relationships. You and your partner deserve the time together to connect, bond and nurture the intimacy that brought you together in the first place.
At The Hellenic Therapy Center, 567 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains, NJ, we have a team of licensed professionals available day, evening and weekend hours. We provide individual, family, couple, child and adolescent counseling. Visit www.hellenictherapy.com or call us at 908-322-0112 to schedule an appointment.