Postpartum and Relationships: How can Couples Cope?
Becoming a parent can be a time of great excitement and joy. All the same, having a baby can be a great challenge even to the “best” relationships. Postpartum is a period of mixed and countless feelings, which may cause misunderstandings and, at worst, conflicts as the parents adjust to their newborn baby.
Relationship stress is not picky. Postpartum can be stressful even for couples who chose to have a baby thinking the baby will bring them closer and strengthen their relationship. First-time parents find it harder. That’s why it is imperative to know how to cope and make your relationship strong to come through this challenging time together.
After the arrival of the new baby, parents face financial difficulties, lifestyle adjustments, and role changes which can compound to cause other chronic problems like postpartum depression. While it is common and normal for couples to face marital and relationship problems right after jumping into parenthood, it is always good to cope and support each other to go through the tunnel together.
In this post, you will find all you need to know about postpartum and relationships, including some of the challenges couples face and tips on how to cope. Read further!
How does the postpartum period affect a couple’s relationship?
Many couples think that life after a newborn baby will be a period of tenderness, intimacy, and maturity. Sorry, it is not always the case, and the expectation may never come true.
It takes time for couples to adjust to a new baby and, of course, the new lifestyle. Most new parents feel exhausted for several reasons, including lack of enough sleep, a greater sense of responsibility, changes in roles, and possible financial pressures, which make it harder to cope.
So, what exactly does the postpartum period mean for families? How does it affect a couple’s relationship?
Let’s face it. The postpartum period is overwhelming for most couples. All the same, couples who take care of their relationships by caring for each other experience greater satisfaction even during hard times. Due to the changes that come with postpartum, partners may feel confused, neglected, burdened, unsupported, and exhausted.
The period after the newborn baby causes fear, confusion, and anger which compound with anxiety to cause relationship tension and other marital problems. Studies show that transitioning to parenthood declines relationship satisfaction and sexual functioning.
After childbirth, couples undergo psychological and hormonal changes that lead to reduced sexual desire. When caring for the baby and beliefs regarding when to resume sex are added into the mix, the couple tends to misunderstand each other, and conflicts may arise.
The best trick to surviving the postpartum period is by understanding each other and appreciating their care. Although things might look different, it is always good to focus on the future.
What are the challenges?
The challenges that couples face after childbirth are the major cause of marriage problems. Here some challenges couples should expect. ,
- Increased workload: However much you prepare to welcome your new baby, you can’t do it satisfactorily. Indeed, most couples underestimate the workload that follows childbirth. The change in responsibility and routine can be so overwhelming that you don’t prioritize each other. So, if you feel neglected, it is completely normal, and things will change soon.
- Financial difficulties: Financial constraints are a serious problem among couples, especially after their first child. When money problems combine with postpartum depression, it creates a chaotic environment.
- Changes in emotions: It is perfectly normal to experience mood swings when finding ways to adjust to the new situation. The good news is that things get easier with time as both you and your partner feel confident in your new roles.
- A decrease in intimacy: The fatigue from hefty workload, psychological changes, hormonal changes, and mood swings translates to a loss of interest in sex. During the postpartum period, many couples have less time to spend together, which combines with a lack of communication to kills the desire for sex.
- Parenting roles: Another notable challenge that couples face is navigating the role of a parent. Caring for a newborn baby requires more time and more attention. There is more to do and less time to rest. On top of the roles you were accustomed to, you need to change diapers, wash more, and give attention to your baby. This can be overwhelming.
With a newborn, you have less free time for hobbies, relaxing, socializing, and even spending with your partner. You may also find no time for your other bonds like family members and friends. Let’s see how you can adjust and walk through these difficulties.
Tips on how to cope with postpartum challenges
Relationships thrive in direct proportion to the attention they are given. Here are tips to help you beef up your tokens of affection and stay connected to each other.
- Understand the cause of cheekiness: Postnatal period is overwhelming, especially to new mothers. If there are any problems, it is good to establish the cause then devise a healthy way to mend your relationship.
- Set tone for better communication: Well, you had a busy day, but your family needs you. You need to create a safe space to communicate, knowing that no one will overreact. Talk about your feelings, acknowledge your partner’s emotions, and then develop a positive attitude towards your baby.
- Offer emotional support to each other: Naturally, we tend to focus on our feeling and forget about others. For couples, supporting each other can be an excellent way to bring yourselves close to each other and overcome most challenges.
- Express gratitude: Being thankful for the small things that your partner does will strengthen your bond than you can imagine. Even thank them for understanding your emotions, and it will motivate them.
- Create time to rest and exercise when you can.
If you got a newborn and are finding your situation challenging, always remember that it is temporary - it will eventually pass, and things will get to normal. If you experience other complications like postpartum depression, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor. Always talk to your partners to share whatever is overwhelming, and you will finally emerge the happiest family.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Sara Gale
Sara loves traveling and exploring new places with her family. She is mom to 2 lovely children and loves bringing them out on adventures.