However your new family begins, whether trying to fall pregnant or if it was a big surprise, there is no denying that Babies bring changes to your relationships.
Trying to Conceive
All couples have differing approaches to starting a family. Some have a very laidback ‘if it happens, it happens’ mentality, others throw themselves headfirst into the most effective ways to fall pregnant - calculating their ovulation times, learning up on recommended conception sexual positions etc. All these different methods can result in varied outcomes, it may happen immediately, it may be three months, six, then twelve. All of these factors affect your relationships, and it’s so important to not lose heart if it doesn’t happen in the ways you were expecting.
One of the most incredible things you can do for a new baby is provide it with a loving family environment. So before you bring a new person into your home, have a look at your relationships and see if there are possibly traits that, whilst ok for you and your partner as a pair, might not be the best for the addition of a little baby. Babies are like sponges, they absorb their world around them at an incredible rate. If there is tension, if mum is very moody or dad may raise his voice when he’s angry, are you able to curb these traits so as not to affect your new baby? Now is a great time to really talk about these things – not only is this a positive way to model relationships for your baby, it will do nothing but good things for you and your spouse as well. We are human beings, we cry and sometimes we yell and get cranky. To think this can all be turned off is unrealistic, but to acknowledge you are going to have some tough times ahead is a great start.
Let’s talk about Sex... baby?!
Trying to conceive can have a huge impact on your sex life. Hopefully sex prior to trying to fall pregnant was a passionate and loving experience, and you may feel that connection and passion has been replaced by a more clinical determined approach. This is totally fine, if you feel fine about it. But if it is troubling you, that sex has become somewhat of a chore, then it is time to think of ways to bring back that Spark.
Planning to be spontaneous (though a slight contradiction?!) often helps reignite your passion. Remembering to ‘Make Love’ without discussing the possibility of falling pregnant as a result, can also relieve any pressure on you or your partner.
Sex and Shame, and Sexual Dysfunction
After trying for a period to conceive, with no results, there can be a sense of shame felt by one or both spouses. Infertility, even if it is temporary, can conjure up strong emotional feelings of failure, when this is clearly not the case. Also, the reason can be overridden by your feelings in such emotive circumstances, so it is important to talk to your partner and/or GP with any concerns you have. It’s not difficult to imagine why the issues discussed above could result in sexual dysfunction. Men are at risk of performance anxiety, premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. Women also are at risk of performance anxiety and lack of libido. The goal is set, you know what you are working towards but it’s vital to remember to really connect with your partner. Your Healthcare provider can assist you with counselling or assistance and it’s important to remember you are not alone.
Sometimes it does not happen the way we planned….
Are you feeling sad or stressed that you are not pregnant yet? Do you feel your partner is not taking it as seriously as you, or vice versa? Remember that men and women express their feelings differently, so much so that you may think he is not interested in the fact it hasn’t happened yet, when in fact he may be internalising his fears. Communication is the key here. Agree that it’s ok to relax the process for a while if it’s causing undue stress. Try and make sure you aren’t just spending time together in order to conceive a baby. Remember how things were “before”. Why not try to set aside a ‘Date Night’ once a week, it can just be a nice meal at home where there is no talk of finances, babies etc, it’s just about you two and spending time together.
It all comes down to understanding one another. Remember you are first and foremost a couple, in love, and to nurture that will invariably show your new baby, whenever he or she decides to come along, that the world is a safe and loving place.
After you Conceive
You are having a Baby – Congratulations! Whether you are overjoyed, whether you get an instant feeling of anxiety or doubt, all these emotions are warranted and everyone feels differently. You and your partner have accomplished something truly monumental, and it’s as important as ever to remember first and foremost you are a couple. Your baby will be watching and absorbing their world, with the two of you, the focal point. It’s important to retain as much love and commitment for everyone’s benefit.
Adjusting to having a new baby at home takes some time for both Mums and Dads. All of a sudden there is a tiny being which seems to take everyone’s attention, and there can sometimes be a lack of connection felt between you and your spouse, while you focus all your connecting on your new baby. Fathers can feel jealous of the attention being lavished on the baby when most of your attention used to be directed at him. Or Mothers may feel that their spouses have a new shining light in their eyes for their little girl or boy, and those same feelings of resentment can come to the surface. For first-time parents these changes are natural and can be handled with honesty and integrity, there’s no shame in telling your partner you need some closeness.
Raisingchildren.net.au. (2020, June 22). Healthy relationships: parenting and partners. Retrieved from https://raisingchildren.net.au/guides/first-1000-days/looking-after-yourself/healthy-relationships-parents