Reconnecting with your partner after childbirth
Bringing a child into the world is one of the most beautiful experiences in life, but it can also be challenging for couples. The joy of parenthood often comes with a lot of responsibilities, including sleepless nights, endless nappy changes, and a significant shift in priorities. These changes can take a toll on your relationship with your partner, and it's not uncommon for couples to feel disconnected after childbirth.
If you're struggling to reconnect with your partner after childbirth, don't despair.
Here are five ways to reignite the intimacy and love in your relationship:
Communicate openly and honestly
One of the most critical aspects of any relationship is communication and this becomes even more crucial after childbirth. Talk to your partner about how you're feeling, your needs, and your concerns. Share your thoughts about the changes in your relationship and how you can work together to navigate them. Be open and honest, and remember to listen to your partner's perspective. Often one of the bigger challenges that come with bringing a new baby into the world is the non-birthing partner can’t relate to what the birthing partner is experiencing physically, hormonally, emotionally and mentally. It’s a different experience for both parties and finding a way to communicate effectively is paramount to navigating these waters. Reaching out to a counsellor can be a great pre-emptive move to support your relationship stability when everything else might feel like it’s been thrown into chaos.
Make Time For Each Other
It's easy to get caught up in the responsibilities of parenting and forget about your relationship. Making time for each other, even if it's just for a few minutes each day, will increase oxytocin and dopamine, the love and happiness hormones. Schedule date nights or weekend getaways to spend quality time together. If you can't leave your child, plan a cosy night-in after they go to bed. Watch what happens when you cherish the things that might have once seemed small; kissing, cuddling on the couch, and watching a movie together. Find ways to connect and relax away from your little one.
Practice Self Care
Taking care of a newborn can be exhausting, and it's easy to neglect your own needs in the process. Taking care of yourself is essential to maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner. Make time for self-care activities, such as exercise, meditation, or a relaxing bath. When you feel good about yourself, you're more likely to be present and engaged with your partner. One of the greatest suggestions we can offer new parents is do something for yourself as soon as you physically can; wash your hair, put on a face mask, shave your legs if you desire. It might feel like a slog at the time but we promise you’ll feel much better after.
Seek help if needed
If you're feeling overwhelmed or struggling to adjust to the changes after childbirth, don't hesitate to seek help. Talk to a therapist or a counsellor who can provide you with the support and guidance you need. Additionally, if you're experiencing physical or emotional issues, such as postpartum depression, seek medical attention. Remember, taking care of your mental and physical health is essential to your relationship with your partner. If you’re carrying all of the pressure on your shoulders, you will feel depleted and as the saying goes, ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup.’ All of the above suggestions will help you fill your own cup, but there’s no shame in asking for help. Having children is a huge adjustment whether it’s your first baby or adding more to your family, the change in dynamic is draining.
Be Intimate in Non-Sexual Ways
Intimacy doesn't always have to be about sex. Holding hands, cuddling, and kissing are all ways to connect with your partner physically. Make an effort to touch your partner affectionately, even if it's just a simple gesture. Additionally, verbal communication can be intimate too. Express your love and appreciation for your partner through words of affirmation. Remember, small gestures can go a long way in reigniting intimacy.
Reconnecting with your partner after childbirth takes effort and commitment. You and your partner are in this together, and with a little patience and love, you can navigate the changes of parenthood and come out even stronger.
Additional ways to enhance the connection between your partner and yourself after childbirth are:
- Perineal massage to soften any scar tissue (once you have received the OK to do so from a doctor.) Scar tissue can contribute to discomfort during penetrative sex (again, once it’s safe to do so), so gentle and regular perineal massage can promote healing, and blood flow. It can also be a very vulnerable display of intimacy that can deepen your relationship beyond your imagination. We recommend using a gentle, organic lubricant such as the Yinn body oil-based lube to massage, mourist and hydrate the yoni.
- Foot and back massages. As a new birthing parent, you will experience aches and pains as your body comes home to itself. You may also be adjusting to carrying a child and having a fuller chest. Massage can be intimate but also so therapeutic.
- Asking your partner how their day was. Typically the non birthing parent is returning to work and it can feel like everything becomes about the baby and also the birthing parent, so make time to ask them how they are and what they need. This is important for them feel valued and appreciated.