Looking after your relationship after birth

Jay KellyBlog

relationship support after baby
Relationship Support after Baby
Not all relationships can be saved or are even worth saving, BUT then there are those that really are worth working for; those that just get broken-down due to stress, exhaustion, big new emotions following your individual birth experiences.

There is a gorgeous new baby that draws all of the loving attention in (rightfully so!) but it can be easy to let things really slip. Take these words of caution from a 12 year long solo parent who did this.

relationship support after baby

What can you do to help your relationship?
Every situation is different, but here are few foundational things to consider in order to help your communication and intimacy (*note. I assume that you know that I don’t just mean sex)
 
1. Process your birth. Both of you independently.
You have been through a life changing experience.
It is common and normal for partners to have a different story of events. The way our memories are created explains this.
There can be feelings of helplessness, fear, things being out of control – leaving us all with different repetitive thoughts.
How do you truly process the birth experience? This doesn’t just mean repeat the story over again to someone, and relive it over again, deepening the patterns that were created by the difficult experiences.
Properly process. Find a birth professional who specialises in techniques that have a background in neurological processes – NLP & Clinical Hypnosis.
Work WITH the brain, rather than against it. As, when it comes to unprocessed trauma, we need to go to the subconscious patterns that are occurring to make easy and lasting changes.
The brain is like a computer, and sometimes all it needs is help to move a memory from one place (the amygdala) to another (the hippocampus).
There is no deletion, just a process, allowing us to remember what occurred without the stress response kicking in.

 
2. Each make a list of what your daily priorities are.
Take the overall list, and divide it further into 4 sections:
  • Can wait
  • Can get help/delegate
  • Would really rather it was done
  • Absolute must have
The ‘absolute must haves’ tend to be: eating, brushing teeth, for example.
‘Can wait’ could be ironing, as we can all survive in creased clothes for a while. Well, some people can! For others it may be important to have an ironed shirt – so delegate/get help.

Compare lists. You may have very different priorities. Communication is so important here.
Find the right balance to support each others needs, whilst never forgetting your own.3. If Romance and Intimacy is high up on your partners list, don’t ignore it – communicate about it.

Research by Dr. John Gottman shows that “small actions practiced daily is the biggest predictor for keeping romance, intimacy, and connection alive during the transition to parenthood. Going the extra mile means everything with a new baby in the mix.”

4. But what if you don’t have an ounce of energy to go the extra mile. 

In my HypnoMothering workshop we talk a lot about Restorative Rest, which is absolutely crucial. Sleep depravation makes everything else in life feel so much harder. We need to begin with looking at your own sleep needs, and find the ways in which you can get creative with restoring your energy. We haven’t evolved as human beings due to pure luck. We have had babies who have needed nighttime attention since the dawn of time. But we do have higher expectations of what we need to achieve each day now, and poor sleep hygiene to boot. This an area that needs looking at for mental wellness.

To summarise, I once worked alongside the most incredible couple; deeply connected for years, communicative, loving, compassionate towards each other. We were talking whilst they were pregnant with their second baby, and the mama told me that they were preparing for the ‘divorce year’. When I asked her to tell me more, she talked about how unsettled their relationship was during the first year of their firstborn’s life, and how they were preparing emotionally and practically for the second baby’s arrival and how to work together on their relationship during this time.

Burying our head in the sand doesn’t help anyone.
To support your relationship, first you must recognise that you both need to compassionately communicate, and that there may be a need to work on some aspects that may have been triggered by the birth or postpartum experience. You deserve this priority, and your relationships is worth working for.