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Preserving Your Relationship Once Baby Arrives


by Tracey T. Serebin

Whether you are expecting your first child or your second, as you are gearing up for the arrival of this little bundle of joy, one area that seems to get overlooked is how this new baby will change your life once he or she arrives on the scene, and especially how a little one will affect your relationship with your partner. The reality is that for any couple, whether they have been together for a short time or have weathered many changes over a number of years, this transition will alter every aspect of your relationship. The first few months are especially the most difficult, as each person grapples with the new responsibility and what that responsibility means on a day, to, day basis, and how it defines their relationship with each other.

There are concepts such as: What sacrifices will be made by each party for the benefit of the child? What duties will be covered by each person? And how will the responsibilities of work and family come into play? These are rarely discussed up front and end up becoming sore subjects within a relationship. This is because they are being worked through while each person is sleep deprived, emotionally spent, and overwhelmed with their new responsibilities.

This transition, however, can also create an opportunity for an even stronger relationship if the foundation for working together is laid down ahead of time. Which is why I created the book 101 Questions for Expectant Parents; Preserving Your Relationship through the Transition; as a talking tool to talk through the changes that will occur as couples welcome baby into their family. Communication is so critical for a harmonious relationship to exist and a solid partnership to work and time needs to be taken to communicate about changes on a regular basis.

While the first six weeks are a tough transition your relationship as a couple and as parents to your child will hopefully last a lifetime, and that requires constant nurturing of both. Below are ways to preserve your relationship through the early years with your baby.

1. Find time to talk when not emotional to discuss conflicts.
There are always going to be times when disagreements occur, but the key to working through those moments is to make time to talk when each person is not defensive, and real communication can occur. Sometimes that may not happen for several days, allowing each person to cool off and be able to listen to the other person's point of view. But agree to make that time and clear the air.

2. Be open to listening to the needs and feelings of your partner. Sometimes couples need private time to reconnect, learn how each other is feeling, and open up about what they perceive is missing. Life can be so busy and chaotic that weeks can go by with Mom really needing a hug and Dad truly wanting intimate time, and neither are able to get those needs met.

3. Talk about your physical and emotional needs to maintain closeness and intimacy.
While talking about what each other might need in the short term, also talk about what initiatives you want to put in place now that spontaneity is not as easy to achieve. Can you arrange date nights in the bedroom, where you can make plans to meet up right after putting the baby down. Or what about trying to rendezvous in the middle of the day when the baby is taking a nap. Now is the time to be creative, rather than allowing the moment to unfold. Be proactive because it won't happen otherwise.

4. Plan a regular date night.
This is another way to reconnect to who you are as a couple and not just as your baby's parents. Find a great babysitter (whether it be a grandparent or family friend) to watch your baby so the two of you can go off and do something fun. Or plan a night as simple as having a picnic in your own house with private time. Dedicate this time to yourselves. It will keep your relationship fresh.

5. How do you appreciate and cherish each other on a regular basis?
With a new baby occupying your full attention, it's easy to take one another for granted. So try to make an effort to do little things to show how much you care. A few examples are leaving a note for your husband before he goes off to work, having Dad rub Mom's back or shoulders when the baby is sleeping, cooking a special meal, offering to take the baby and give each other a break, or arranging a babysitter so the two of you to go out together, alone.

6. Learning how to collaborate?
This is where parenting as a team comes in. Start to learn how to come together and agree on the parenting methods you will use. Find ways to help each other with the responsibilities, and utilize one another's strengths and weaknesses. Communication is vital because each person needs to talk about where they require assistance, what they like or don't like about what their partner is doing, and what compromises will be made.

Remember that when parents are happy, baby is happy.

Tracey Serebin, is a Family Communication expert with an office in Franklin Lakes, NJ, working with kids, parents and families. She is author of 101 Questions for Expectant Parents; Preserving Your Relationship through the Transition book and host of Family Matters Radio Show on WebTalkRadio.net. Visit her at www.TraceySerebin.com

©2008 Tracey T. Serebin

Categories: Babies, Children, Feature Stories, Just for me, Relationships & Marriage,

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