Dear Mary Jo,
My partner is getting anxious about the changes that will happen in our relationship when the baby comes, so what changes can we expect in our relationship?
One of the biggest factors leading to the tension and issues in your relationship after childbirth will be tiredness. That combined with hormonal changes will contribute to the emotional chaos you feel inside and that your partner will react to. Before the baby you have time to go out on the weekends and get together with friends, but now you’re so tired and busy keeping up with the demands of an infant that you may be too tired to go out. Feeling left out with your partner is a common feeling among couples, so get involved with sharing the chores and working together. Also, the only thing you both talk about will be the baby, which may make you lonely for the way things used to be.
Things to do that help:
- Find time for just the two of you.
- Due to the exhaustion and demands you may feel less sexual with your partner as well. Understanding your needs as well as your partner’s can help you both work through this with more hugging, cuddling and keeping your intimacy close.
- Communication becomes even more important after baby. Keeping feelings inside will eventually bubble over, so make sure you talk about what you’re feeling and what you need to continue feeling loved.
- When friends offer to help, let them. If they ask what they can do, give them a list. You need babysitters, dinners, and moral support.
Post-partum depression is real and many times is so subtle it goes unnoticed until it is severe. If you begin feeling overwhelmed, out of control with fear of hurting your baby or crying frequently, go to the doctor and talk to them about your increased sadness and fear. Many times the partner sees the first signs of depression much sooner than the person suffering from depression.
Dear Mary Jo,
How do I get my grown children to warm up to my new boyfriend?
Grown kids have many reasons not to approve of their mom or dad’s new friend, but whatever the reason is in your case here are things that may help.
- Don’t share romantic details. If you’re getting serious, it’s important to talk to the children about it, but if you’re on a friend basis only, don’t feel the need to tell them everything.
- Prioritize your time with them without your boyfriend. No matter how old your kids are, they need to know they aren’t losing you to your new boyfriend.
- Don’t let your kids dictate how things should be in your relationship, but be willing to negotiate with them regarding family events they want only you to attend.
- Tell your kids if things are getting serious with your new partner. Kids should be told if you are planning a marriage or lifestyle commitment together. Kids feel betrayed if a parent elopes or runs away to get married without their knowledge.
- Advocating for yourself is okay. It’s fine to let the kids know that now that they’re grown you do have a right to live your own life.
It is important to listen to your kids, hear and value what they say. Sometimes they see things you don’t in the blind spot of love.