You’ve just brought a beautiful, tiny human being into the world, and your heart is filled with love and hope. Having a baby is the most magical experience in the world, and while it’s certainly not the easiest thing, it is the most worthwhile.
Those first few months after having a baby will be some of the most difficult you’ll ever encounter. Not only will the entire lack of sleep drive you crazy, you’ll struggle to even maintain a conversation with your spouse, let alone keep the fire and love alive. While many couples are thoroughly prepared for the arrival of the new baby, their relationship becomes a mere afterthought – where it should still be a priority. Here are the four easy ways to maintain your relationship after having a baby:
As well all know, during pregnancy and after childbirth, your body will change enormously. It may feel and look foreign, but your incredible body brought a tiny human into the world, and for that it deserves all the love in the world. The old saying “Before anyone can love you, you must love yourself”, is extremely relevant after giving birth. Whether it’s waking up and chanting your daily mantra in the mirror (I am strong, beautiful and damn amazing for giving birth!) or spending time learning to reconnect with your body, make sure you invest this much needed time and attention.
At some stage in every relationship, we all test out the typical ‘date-night’. You know the scenario – you both block out a date in the calendar that you agree on, and consciously make an effort to go out for a fancy dinner or see a movie together. When you’re the parents of a newborn baby, the very thought of date night will have you laughing maniacally. Don’t fear, there are ways to get round this. Firstly, you don’t even have to leave the house. Heck, you don’t need to get out of your pyjamas! Your new amended date night consists of a time where you both commit to putting in extra effort. Whether that means having a snuggle and watching a movie on Netflix or sitting down to something besides a microwave meal together and having decent conversation, you both need to commit and prioritise this time. Another hint? Vow to talk about other things than your children – sometimes you need a break and time to reconnect with one another.
If you find yourself sobbing at 4am whilst leaning against your newborn’s crib, it’s time to call for help. Parenthood is a two-way street, and that means remembering that you’re in this together. At times, you’ll both feel defeated, exhausted and utterly lost. and that’s okay. The main thing to focus on is that you have each other, and you’re doing this with the love of your life. Now is the time to pay more attention than ever to your partner’s behaviour and genuinely listen to what they’re saying. If you need help, don’t ever feel ashamed or embarrassed to ask.
When you’re caught up in the midst of after birth, it’s very easy to forget your identity and time away from home. This is why it’s so crucial to ensure you’re taking out ‘me-time’ and putting aside time to re-energise. Here at The Fit Mother, we always focus on finding a ‘moment of joy’ every day. Make this a goal to find that joy each and every day. Whether your moment of joy is 5 hours of blissful, uninterrupted sleep OR going to get your roots done (yep, it took us 8 months!), promise yourself you’ll actually do it. If you’re not feeling up to leaving your new bub just yet, simply reading your favourite mag, or getting out into the garden may just do the trick!
Life is busy. 3 kids, running a business and a husband who travels a lot with work means that often the “conversations” I have with my husband are more like “instructions”.
So last night, my mum had the kids for a sleepover and we checked into Crown Towers for the night. Wow. It felt like the “olden days” early in our relationship when we would chat for hours and crack ourselves up with our hilarious jokes. It was just the circuit breaker we needed.
It reminds me of something someone once told me along the lines of “the most important thing a mother can do for her children is love their father”. I need to remind myself sometimes that this relationship is precious, and needs to be nurtured. Being too busy to hang out just doesn’t cut it. I want to be married to my darling husband forever, long after the kids have grown up and moved out.
So while you don’t have to splurge on a night in a hotel (although I highly recommend it if you can!) take a moment to tell your hubby you love him. Hold his hand, maybe even give him a big sloppy kiss. What have you got to lose?
“You are the best mother your child will ever have. You are their barometer and their compass in this world. And every single child thinks that their mother is absolutely wonderful.” Dr. Libby Weaver
Our ‘enoughness’ compass starts with beliefs. Beliefs we tell ourselves every day, afternoon, and often in the middle of the night. ‘I’m too fat’, ‘I’m too skinny’, ‘I’m too much of a worrier’, ‘I should be able to do more’, ‘I should be a better wife’ (please insert your own self-limiting belief here).
These statements are not reality – they’re just the story we’ve made up about ourselves for varying reasons. Our childhood, our partners, our life experiences.
Motherhood provides us with a deviation from our pathway in life to consider and reflect on the person we are. What do we want to pass down to our children? What beliefs and values do we think are most important for them? Why aren’t they a priority for us?
Health, positive relationships, self-worth, love, compassion, gratitude. What do we do to ourselves when we neglect our bodies, our relationships, our mental health? We back ourselves into a tricky corner that looks like stress, poor communication, unhappiness – and for many women it can be a challenging and difficult corner to get out of.
So make a pact with yourself today. Today I am going to take a moment for myself and consider what my beliefs are, and are they serving me? If not, how important it is that I change them? Because I can tell you right now – you are enough. You are a beautiful, unique, complicated expression of your own soul, and you don’t need to doubt yourself.