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Sometimes connecting with people is just hard. Especially when you’re distracted.
And having a baby is a BIG distraction.
The constant feeding.
The sleep deprivation.
It can all lead to feelings of disconnect.
So how do you stay connected with your husband after having a baby?
If you rolled your eyes when you read the word “communicate” – I get it. Maybe one or both of you isn’t the most tactful communicator when exhausted. Perhaps you feel like you’re constantly communicating with your spouse and not getting anywhere. Or maybe even just too annoyed with your husband to want to communicate with him.
I get all of those feelings.
It doesn’t mean you should stop communicating.
Talking about your day, your exhaustion, your frustrations or joys are all pretty critical to staying connected.
Speaking and listening helps you both to have a better idea of how each of you is coping with this new transition. And the fact that you’re both taking on this new challenge together, even if you’re handling it differently internally, is an enormous connector.
You both transformed, in an instant, from what you were before your baby arrived to “Mom” and “Dad.”
That’s a big deal!
Talk about it.
Don’t underestimate the impact of alone time
It may sound counterintuitive, but taking time for each of you to have your own alone time can really boost your relationship. Especially after you have a baby.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” Well, random chances to sneak off for alone time won’t remove the weight of new parenthood, but they will help you to cope better.
And if you can advocate for your husband to sneak off (and vice versa), it really helps you both to feel like the other person has your back.
My husband was very involved, but I struggled a LOT with resentment toward him after we had our first son. But those moments when he took the baby and encouraged me to take some time for myself – to nap, shower, or just relax without any baby responsibilities? Man, I felt so connected and seen by him in those moments.
Seriously, take the alone time.
All of the quality time in the world won’t help you to feel more connected with him if you’re too run down to appreciate it.
Talk about your roles and responsibilities and keep talking about them
I think one of the biggest mistakes a lot of new parents make is either failing to communicate their expectations for who does what; or the even bigger issue: thinking that they don’t need to keep talking about and revisiting these expectations.
My husband and I laid out a lot of expectations and got on the same page before our son arrived. We thought we were good. But you really don’t know what parenting is going to look like for you until the baby arrives. And we really struggled with feeling like our designated roles were “uneven.”
So recognize that you’ll both need to pull your weight in order to avoid becoming too run down. And also recognize that being willing to revisit and revise your expectations for each person’s roles is a critical aspect of feeling like you’re on the same team and in sync with one another.
Don’t keep score
Its really hard to connect with someone if you’re constantly keeping track of which of you is doing more. In fact, keeping score practically spells out for the other person that you really have no interest in connecting with them genuinely.
And that can be really hurtful.
At times, you both will likely feel like you’re working beyond your capacity.
So if there is an issue, talk about it. But don’t keep a tally about which one of you is doing “more” or “better.” You’re supposed to be a team, not competitors.
In the end, keeping score will only cause more division between you and your husband.
One of the biggest strains we had when we first brought our son home was the number of visitors who came without offering any/enough help.
Talk about boundary setting with your husband and be a united front on your decision. Not only will it help you from feeling overwhelmed and overrun by houseguests, but it will also help you to feel like you’re a team.
Even if leaving the house isn’t in the cards for you at the moment, you can still do low-pressure date nights at home.
Whatever you do, just find a chance to carve out to spend focusing on one another.
Sure, if you’re in the mood and have been cleared to have sex by your doctor, sex is a great way to get intimate. But connecting with your husband through intimacy can be as simple as holding hands on a walk, cuddling together in bed and discussing your day, making out like teenagers, or showering together.
Do the little things
Let’s face it, part of the issue with feeling disconnected to your spouse after having a baby has a lot to do with competing priorities and general exhaustion.
So try to do little, low-effort things that you know your husband will appreciate to show him that he’s still a priority to you.
Maybe that means you order his favorite meal when you get take-out.
Or you text him to let him know you’re thinking about him.
For me, I always appreciate when my husband makes the coffee in the morning. It’s not a grand gesture (or even something that wouldn’t get done whether he does it or I do). But its something he knows I appreciate, so he does it.
Don’t underestimate the power of the little things.
And finally, be realistic
Having a new baby is hard on marriages. It’s a huge adjustment that takes work. But the hard work of bringing home a new baby doesn’t last forever. And if you keep trying to prioritize your marriage as much as you realistically can during this time, things will get better.