Prenatal Preparations

First Things First…Your Relationship

The best thing you can do for your baby is protect and nurture your relationship with your partner.  Babies are extremely sensitive to their environments and deeply affected by witnessing hostile or unhappy interactions. Know ahead of time these primary causes of marital distress and be proactive in preparing to address them. Here are some points to consider as you and your partner consider your prenatal preparations.

  • Sleep Deprivation is the #1 issue for most parents, with nursing moms often suffering the most. Discuss sleeping arrangements ahead of time; co-sleeping is often helpful (if done safely). Make and freeze meals in advance or instead of registering for baby gifts, ask for freezable meals. Consider temporary household help, and agree together what household chores can be let go for a few months.  Restrict visitors the first 6 weeks. Put the phone on silent, put a Please do not disturb sign on the door, and sleep when baby is sleeping.Social Isolation is the next biggest threat, especially in our era where moms are often used to being in a workplace where they experience daily interaction. Research mom/baby classes and social groups in your neighborhood before baby arrives, or initiate your own with other couples from Lamaze/childbirth preparation classes. Other new parents will be the best thing that ever happened to you, after your baby!

 

  • Unequal Workload is a big one, that lasts long past the first few months. Fortunately, it also has the easiest solution. Dads can pitch in more! Recent studies conclude that women with families do 70% of all household tasks, with their duties increasing three times as much as for men after a baby arrives… In fact, the typical stay-at-home mom clocks an astonishing 94.4 hours of work a week. And let’s be honest, with no paycheck to show for it, this can feel profoundly unfair. Talk in advance about how you’re going to divide up chores when the baby arrives. If Dad’s balk at the idea of doing housework after they get home from work, I can assure them that the increased payoff in emotional and sexual intimacy is significant. An emptied dishwasher or basket of folded laundry is like porn to busy moms.

 

  • Depression is often a culmination of these other issues. While some hormonal ups and downs are normal for about half of new mothers, a small percentage of women experience deep feelings of anxiety and despair. New fathers can also be at risk for depression, especially if their partner is also struggling. This level of sadness requires active intervention and support from a professional. Untreated postpartum depression has a long-term impact on babies as well as the parents. By talking ahead of time about preparing ways to address the first three issues, becoming well-versed in how to spot early signs of post-partum depression, and identifying professionals who specialize in treating new parents, you can take a pre-emptive stand against depression.

 

  • Emotional and sexual intimacy often go hand in hand. It’s not unusual for women’s libido to decrease during the first year due to exhaustion, hormonal changes, body changes, and the intensity of the mother-baby relationship. But maintaining emotional intimacy is the best way for couples to rediscover desire. And emotional intimacy comes from empathetic connection. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes as often as possible. Feel and show your appreciation every day. Making frequent deposits into your partner’s emotional bank account will pay huge dividends to you both, and to your baby.

 

  • Dads frequently feel forgotten and like the odd man out during those early months. But they yearn to be included and babies need their dads. After baby is finished nursing, pass her over to dad so they can experience skin to skin contact too.

Schedule an initial consultation. I look forward to learning about you and your family.