This week we are sharing our last installment of our series with Karen Shanahan, L.M.H.C. of Coastal Therapy - and this one may be our favorite topic! When a new baby arrives, almost everything changes. But one of the things that isn't talked about enough is the shift between you and your partner - and how that relationship dynamic can seem strained, stressful, or downright infuriating at times when you're adjusting to being parents.
"You Did This!
It takes two to make a baby but it sure can sometimes feel like it is only taking one to care for the baby. With the increased responsibilities of a baby, parents can feel very overwhelmed. Add that to emotional and physical exhaustion and it can be much easier to see all the things your partner is not doing versus the things they are. This blurry lens can easily lead to hurt feelings and resentment but it is important to explore if these feelings are warranted. Take some time to focus on the things your partner is doing and see if the lens becomes any clearer. If your partner is not helping with the things you need, ask yourself if you expressed your needs- it is not fair to expect our partners to be mind readers. Communication is key and it is also important to take moments to focus on the good- partners identifying a daily gratitude they have for each other can have significant impact. These gratitudes can be small and still make a big difference.
Baby makes, 3 or 4 or 5….
Remember when it was just you and your partner? Dates could often be scheduled on a whim when you wished, moments of connection often didn’t take planning, stressors involving schedules and finances may have existed but usually in an entirely different way. All relationships deserve and need effort but it can be very hard to have the emotional and physical energy to consider the needs of ourselves, let alone our partners, when we spend so much time trying to meet the needs of our little ones. It can be helpful to remember this is a phase in your relationship and that the little person, or people, absorbing your efforts are pieces of the both of you- beautiful beings that you together are shaping. It is also essential to make time for your partnership. The idea of finding time may seem impossible but effort doesn’t equate time. Simple gestures can help remind your partner of your connection- sending a sweet, or sexy!, text message, taking a moment to give your partner a hug, carving even 15-30 minutes to have a discussion or watch a show together, taking the baby for a walk and using the time to reconnect with each other, and so on. Find things that work for you!"