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Most people will tell you having a baby draws you closer together, because it is a wonderful and miraculous thing. It involves a special shared intimacy and care both for the baby and your partner. However pregnancy, birth and the babies early months can put a lot of pressure on your relationship.
Pregnancy itself puts everyone into a different space as a pregnant women goes through a multitude of physiological and psychological changes and it follows so does the person she is with. Intimate relationships, and I mean intimate not just sexual, can change dramatically and after the birth even more so. This is because a woman’s focus of intimacy changes, many adults before the birth of a first child would appear to practice child rearing on their partner. If you wonder what I am talking about, then just think of common terms of endearment like ‘baby’ and active diminutives like adding ‘little’ to other terms of endearment.
I certainly found myself slightly embarrassed to find my self calling my new daughter by similar names that had previously been terms of endearment between my wife and I.
The pressure is incredibly increased during and after the birth. I think for many men whilst beautiful and miraculous birth and watching your partner give birth is also highly truamatic. Even more so if it goes wrong and probabaly for the first time in their lives the man feels the weight of someones life on their shoulders and in their hands.
After the birth everything needs to be revisioned in an environment of love and care, but this is not always possible, as illness, tiredness, personal traits and more can get in the way.Â Men can end up in their caves ( as in Men are from Mars Women are from Venus) while women can wonder where it all went wrong.
This is the point where in part you have to trust and in other parts you need to work very hard to draw things together. For women often very tired from broken nights, and feeling the baby blues, everything can look bleak and like they have had a baby with an uncaring cold uninterested man who is more interested in (strike out what doesn’t apply) golf/thenews/computers/TV/the pub/ than your lovely baby. For 99.9% I doubt this is true but men do withdraw to an inner or outer space (golf computing TV etc) when they are under stress in order to try and sort things out in themselves. Women under stress can be more demanding of social/intimate behaviour… talking cuddling and each can see the other as being and feeling negative if they don’t sort this out quickly.
I think some relationships are made in heaven and just sail along in a beautiful symbiosis, most don’t, they need work and energy applied to them, and you apply this energy because you care for and love your partner. This refocusing on your partner can really help. As a man you have the opportunity to do little things, like buy small gifts or flowers (not just immediately after the birth but as often as you can), dont leave a women to breastfeed on her own, or if you are on bottles take part of the routine as yours (the middle of the night feed gets big brownie points). Do something spontaneous, the other evening I took some ice cream up to the nursery where my partner was breastfeeding the baby and fed it to her…she loved it. Just making her a cuppa can show you care. For the women, you need to let him go off and do the male loner thing if he wants, just once in a while. He can sort his head out and will come back a better person.
You may find all that cuddling the baby means you do not get to cuddle each other very much, remember to maintain a personal relationship you need intimacy that is sustained. This means dont forget to kiss and cuddle each oher, but also (men especially) remember you partner will be building a strong and important bond with your baby, just as you will but it can often be to the exclusion of you, don’t be worried or put out by this, she still loves you but for a while the baby needs to come first, your intimacy can come from a shared connection to the baby.
OK well I have covered some of the peaks and pitfalls that birth can bring, and want to tell you my own baby is now getting on fine, even sleeping, and my older children have been ten times more interested than I thought they would be, even my son complained the other day he was not getting enough cuddles with the baby, And I am workjing to love and suport my partner and go to work and am every day more in love with our amazing miracle baby. What I have found too, is my love for my other two children has increased and my desire to be more loving and a good person has expanded……bloody hell, a white light will be coming out of the sky with angelic music, I better stop here.