When having a baby and starting a family, relationships go through some pretty major changes, but is love enough to keep the relationship strong and family unit together?
Is Love Enough?
It doesn’t matter whether it is your first child, or another sibling to join the clan, relationship dynamics change. Having a baby has a profound effect on your partnership and family.
When our DS was born we faced some pretty challenging times, both individually and as a couple, as the birthing experience we had was the complete opposite of what we wanted and had anticipated.
Yes love got us through, but I am not sure it would have without a lot of pre-planning, open discussions and raw honesty.
Our hospital stay was nothing short of a complete farce ( I was discharged despite complaining of fever and being unwell only to be readmitted 3 hours later and having to be put on a drip for the next week, to being given expired antibiotics, banning the Acting Head Doctor from our room and more…)
Was it just love that got us through …. Maybe?
The birth and our first week as a family was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life; and I am sure my partner feels the same. He was able to stay with me the first couple of nights, as our new born was in Special Care, (aka NICU). After that he was forced to drive back and forth from the hospital and home again morning and night – the boy has stamina I can tell you !
Did he do it for just love ?
Arriving early in the morning (approx 0630) and leaving late at night (usually 10pm ish).
Was it more than love?
Time with a new born at home is such a beautiful and miraculous time, but quite often new parents experience exhaustion and moments of overwhelm.
Some mums feel like “no-one does it better” whilst some dads feel left out, so how do you keep the love going?
For us, I am glad we had certain conversations about what might / might not happen during labour, as it helped us to communicate with each other during the process and make the decisions we had hoped not to. We had said we would be flexible with our birth plan, but I never dreamt in a million years how flexible we were going to have to be…
We also had conversations on where each of us stood around important topics like, if we had a boy, how each of us felt about circumcision; vaccines – the pros and cons; childcare – family day care v kinder; return to work options; private health care; how to approach certain family issues with our respective families and what our wants and needs were regarding those.
We set some boundaries before life got thrown upside down and inside out – not that all of them were respected, but I was too sick at the time to argue and sometimes you just need to let things go…
“Don’t sweat the small stuff” as they say.
However, it did leave me doubting the love, the trust and respect.
So how do you get back to love when your world has become this huge disorganised reality, and all those dreams about parenthood that you had before children, are now nothing but faded, distant make believe memories.
Make time to go out as a couple to do something you both love –
We went to see Jon Bon Jovi when DS was just 4 weeks old, your relationship is just as much as a priority as your new baby.
Book a date night and make “parent play time” a priority. Take the baby to a reliable sitter and cuddle together at home, truly connect with each other and enjoy the company
And more importantly: Talk to each other about what is hard, what is joyful, and what is satisfying about your new lives.
You cannot give to your new baby if you are running on empty yourselves.
There have been times when it has needed more than love to get us through the tough periods of parenthood, times when I knew in my heart I couldn’t have survived that day without the love of my partner, his support or his encouragement.
I am lucky, my partner helps with household chores (often without being asked) – is that love or luck?
He will come home from a long day at work and start cooking, whilst I continue to sit on the couch and feed our ever hungry DS – is that love or survival at its best? (He needs to eat, right? And knows he might not get fed for hours if we go by our child’s schedule)
He will take DS for a long walk on a weekend morning so I can stay in bed and snooze – again love or survival? (Nothing like an overtired tigress to rip your head off, so safer for all around to let mummy get more sleep no doubt)
He will hold me and let me cry when it has been a tough day at home…
My list could go on, but at the end of the day, doesn’t it all boil down to love?
Communicating, being open and honest with one and other, actively listening, trusting, respecting the other’s wishes, caring, helping, supporting physically and emotionally, aren’t they all a basis of love anyway?
So maybe love is enough…
And if you are a single parent, make sure you surround yourself with those that love you for who you are inside and out, friends or family, for your journey ahead will be bumpy and you need to know exactly where your support networks lie.
And if dad isn’t feeling enough love, check out our Dads ONLY Baby Massage Courses, great for helping dad to bond and connect more with bubs one on one!