1. Share your experiences
The advice applies to both parents. Staying alone with worries about the future is a risky strategy. So you will accumulate anxiety and omissions, which over time can develop into a distance between partners. Talk about different scenarios that scare you and think of a plan of action. For example:
- How do you plan to divide time between work and family?
- What style of parenting is close to you and your partner?
- How much free time is important for each parent to feel happy?
- Will relatives be able to help with the baby? Are you planning to find a nanny?
In a caring and involved dialogue, it is easier to understand that some problems are actually empty experiences, while others can be solved. If opinions differ, try not to judge your partner’s feelings. It is important to create an atmosphere in which you can talk everything out without fear of judgment and together come up with a way out of the situation. For example, if the future father is worried that after the appearance of the baby, he will get less attention. Discuss this and agree on how you will devote time to each other.
Often difficulties arise when the harmony in the family was broken before pregnancy. For example, people decide to have a child in the hope that it will improve relationships. But pregnancy and childbirth are stressful. If there were unresolved conflicts in a couple, they can only worsen. Therefore, if you are planning the appearance of children, it is first worth strengthening mutual understanding in the family.
But even strong relationships can crack during this period. Hormonal adjustment affects the behavior and mood of a woman, and this sometimes comes as a surprise to a partner. Try to understand that there will be changes, and that’s okay. Talk about your feelings out loud using “I am a message.” For example, not “you make me angry”, but “I’m angry with you.” This will allow you not to blame the other person and at the same time speak openly about what worries you.
2. Study pregnancy and childbirth together
Changes in the body during pregnancy and future childbirth can cause fear in a woman and disturb her partner. In this case, go to training courses together – there you will understand the physiology of this process and understand how to facilitate it. For example, in the first trimester, some women appears nausea and fatigue, while others, on the contrary, have increased energy levels. Both are normal, you just need to listen to the body and, if necessary, adjust the daily routine.
Sometimes future parents are accompanied by fears for the health of a woman or child. Understanding how pregnancy progresses and what to expect from the birth of a baby will help you better prepare for different situations. For example, sometimes after the birth of a child, the whole family’s sleep is disturbed. If you do not know about such things, they can unsettle. And if you study everything in advance, it will be easier to cope.
It is worth remembering that sometimes the trials do not end with the birth of a child, because young mothers may face postpartum depression. In this state, a woman may experience severe fatigue and apathy, cry, and not approach the child. It is important that a man take some of the care of the child on himself, be interested in the well-being of his wife and, if necessary, suggest that she contact a specialist.
The condition of the child directly depends on the condition of the mother. Therefore, it is so important that she herself eats on time, rests and feels good. You can notice postpartum depression by the following symptoms:
- depressed mood;
- anxiety, fear;
- sleep disturbance and appetite (increased appetite or lack of it);
- lack of pleasure, joy;
- carelessness towards oneself;
- intrusive negative thoughts;
- feeling that you are not doing your job;
- feelings of guilt, apathy, hopelessness.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, consider taking a test for postpartum depression (the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale). A result of more than 5 points is a reason to seek professional help.
You can prevent the development of postpartum depression with the help of preventive measures: share experiences with family and friends, do not withdraw into yourself, ask your spouse and relatives for help in caring for a child, find time to be alone with yourself, control your daily routine, look at positive movies, listen to pleasant music, do physical exercises, communicate with the child – talk and smile.
3. Leave time for yourself
Probably, the new family member will occupy all the thoughts of the parents for some time. But it is important to give yourself the opportunity to be distracted by hobbies and hobbies. Do not build all conversations around the unborn child, continue to communicate on your favorite topics, discuss movies, books, music, meet friends. This will help to distract from the routine and strengthen relationships with each other.
There is such a condition – a disorder of adaptive reactions. It occurs when there are so many changes that the nervous system cannot cope with them. Pregnancy and newborn care is just such a period, and therefore the disorder can occur in both men and women.
To prevent emotional upheaval, the couple needs to find time to relax, support each other and discuss changes. If you can’t control emotions on your own and problems seriously affect harmony in the family, you should go for a consultation with a psychologist.
If a woman went in for sports before pregnancy, it is not necessary to completely abandon it. On the other hand, moderate exercise will help recover faster after childbirth. The main thing is to consult with a specialist and leave those exercises that suit you now.
But if your partner is completely devoted to preparing for the birth of a child, you should not criticize such involvement. Treat this with understanding: gently offer to talk about something else, but do not insist.
4. Remember romance
Arrange date nights on the weekends, say nice words – show that the child does not make your love for each other weaker. With sex, the same story – it is not necessary to refuse it during the normal course of pregnancy. If you are afraid of harming your baby, consult a reproductive health professional. But it is important to remember each other’s comfort: if one of the partners does not want to have sex or it’s hard, you can find alternative ways to be alone, for example, give each other a massage or try sexting – erotic correspondence.
Young dads often come up with requests like “I stopped feeling loved”, “I don’t get enough attention from my wife”, “now all her attention is directed to the child.” Indeed, a woman after childbirth has a new dominant, she focuses on the child, is forced to change her usual way of life, communication, and recreation. But the burden falls not only on the mother. With the advent of a new family member and the departure of a woman on maternity leave, a man is forced to work more and provide for his family. Therefore, he also has less time for rest, leisure and hobbies.
During this period, it is important for a couple not to forget that they are not only parents, but also spouses, it is necessary to pay attention to each other. Love and mutual understanding in the family give a sense of support and peace to themselves and the baby. Attract close, professional nannies with whom you can leave the baby for a while to devote time to relaxation or romance.
Hormonal changes during breastfeeding, fatigue and other reasons can reduce a woman’s desire for intimacy. However, it must be remembered that the spouse’s needs for intimate life, as a rule, remain. To strengthen family relationships, it is necessary to agree on acceptable forms and rhythm of sexual life. Regular intimacy is one way to prevent postpartum depression. And often the “sexual appetite” after childbirth returns quickly enough.
Romance between spouses is very necessary at any stage of the relationship. A family can be thought of as a home. Spouses are its foundation, without which it is impossible to build walls and roofs. During pregnancy and in the first year of a child’s life, he can take a central position, but this is a temporary option. Later, spouses should again become the basis of the family system.
Try to discuss on the shore that a woman’s body will change during pregnancy and after childbirth, and this is normal. If one of the partners has no desire, it is worth looking for a compromise. After all, sex is not only a classic sexual intercourse. Talk about how you feel, such as saying that you need more time to adjust to change, but you still love your partner.
5. Be a team
The appearance of a child is an important part of life, not only for a woman. Designing a nursery, reading literature about raising and caring for a newborn, solving important issues before childbirth – all this is worth doing together. So the expectant mother will relax and feel supported. For example, if future parents come to the doctor together, they will immediately be able to exchange impressions and news heard at the reception.
If the partner does not go to visit the ultrasound, there are other ways to participate: cook breakfast or do a foot massage in the evenings – the legs of pregnant women often get tired. You should not wait until a woman asks about it: it is important for the future dad to offer help on his own and show that he is there.
Traditionally, we have fixed the installation that the woman takes care of the baby, and the man is removed. This confirms the experience of communicating with future fathers: most of them, when they imagine what they will do with a child, think about already adult children. For example, “if a boy is born, we will play football, go fishing.” But there is usually no readiness to raise a newborn.
But help with changing diapers, washing, changing clothes, feeding from a bottle is very useful for a woman. Therefore, it is also important for a man to prepare for such things and understand how to do them correctly. Joint attendance at training sessions can help with this. By the way, on them a man can cope with the fear of taking a baby in his arms. This is very useful: physical contact is important for maintaining the normal emotional state of both the father and the child.
6. Redefine responsibilities
It is often difficult for a pregnant woman to stand on her feet for a long time. If she used to cook and clean, the husband can take more household chores for himself. At the same time, it is important to remember that a strong change in the schedule after going on maternity leave can also negatively affect the emotional state, make you feel unnecessary – therefore, it is still necessary to allocate some time for the usual activities.
It is better to discuss the distribution of roles in the family in advance. Everyone knows the stereotype that a man is a breadwinner, and a woman is a keeper of the hearth. But the couple can be uncomfortable in these roles. For example, a man will worry that he alone will not be able to provide for his family. And a woman will think that she must justify the role of a good mother and housewife, and try to do a billion things at once. Such a desire for both can lead to emotional exhaustion.
7. Seek Zen
Try yoga, breathing exercises, or other ways to calm yourself. For example, the deep breathing technique. Place your hand on your stomach and inhale slowly through your nose. When the stomach rises, hold the air in the lungs for a few seconds, and then exhale calmly. Ideally, you need to do up to 10 breaths per minute.
Look for other activities that help you relax. Someone will like to take care of indoor plants, and someone will like to paint pictures by numbers. Do not be afraid to experiment in search of the way that gives you peace of mind.
Both during pregnancy and after childbirth, a woman can be emotionally more vulnerable. Prevention of excessive stress includes moderate physical activity (in the absence of medical contraindications), limiting negative information, doing fulfilling work, such as preparing a baby’s wardrobe or reviewing family photos. In general, everything that contributes to mental balance will do. Outdoor recreation, delicious healthy food, communication with positive people – all this strengthens the nervous system.
Try to get enough sleep and eat well. Pay attention to yourself and your hobbies, spend time together. And just be glad that life has changed. Yes, it can be difficult, but the birth of a new person is an interesting and exciting event.