There’s a lot of information available for couples during the pregnancy phase and during labour. Information about how to communicate and stay connected, how to involve your husband or partner, and things you should decide on together.
But what about after your baby is born?
Wing it? Take it as it comes? Deal with things as they arise?
In the months (*cough* years *cough*) after your baby is born you’re next level tired. Like, you think you’ve been tired before, but there’s nothing quite like new Mama tired.
Your whole routine has changed, your life has changed, you’re happier than ever but more exhausted than ever, you love more fiercely than you could have imagined, but you also need that non-contact time because your skin is crawling…
It’s a rollercoaster.
But, that’s even more reason to have some focused things to talk about with your husband after your baby comes earthside. A few topics to keep up your sleeve so you can be proactive in your new family life, and not just spiral into the same thing day in and day out (although it still feels like that sometimes).
Your partner is exactly that, your partner. That’s one of the exciting things about having someone to do all of this with you, you don’t have to do it alone.
And even if you’re rocking the solo parenting gig, it’s important to have someone in your life, whether it’s a family member or a friend, who can help you with some of these conversations too.
1 – What Activities You Can Do Together As A Family
While it is nice some weekends to be all snuggled up inside, watching movies and feeding your baby, eating popcorn and later finding kernels wedged between your boobs, there comes a point where you just have to get out of the house.
And the question always is… what can we do?
If you live in a place where there are lots of family friendly activities then you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find things at the drop of a hat, but this conversation is still important.
If you’re like me and live in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to do that is family friendly other than spend hours at the local cafe, then there’s a bit more of a challenge.
Having a list of things you can do together is a great way to never be bored. Your husband might have ideas for what he wants to do as a family, and you might have your own ideas too, so putting them all together means you’ll be able to tick them off and have fun.
Research what’s in your area. It doesn’t have to be newborn specific, you might discover some exciting things to do that you can keep in mind for when your baby is a little older.
But even things like walking around a museum is a great excuse to get out of the house as a family, even if the newest addition sleeps through most of it.
2 – How You Can Accommodate Self Care Time For Each Of You
Regardless of the type of person you and your partner are, and who does what around the house and work wise, you BOTH need time for self care (and going to work isn’t self care).
Having this discussion early, and regularly is important. Have a fornightly ‘meeting’ with each other where you schedule out your time. It might sound a little formal but trust me, it is worth it!
During the early days you might find it difficult to spend any time away from your baby and that is absolutely okay. You don’t have to be separated for self care time. But you do need to be able to do whatever it is you want, and do so as uninterrupted as possible.
Sure, babies need feeding, and they cry and need settling, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t respond to your baby. But it might mean that you sit down with a hot coffee and read your favourite book while hubs rocks babe and lets her/him sleep on his chest.
Self care isn’t about filling your cup to the brim, it’s about doing small things regularly that keep topping your cup up.
3 – How You Can Make One On One Time Happen
Date nights? Just writing that makes me laugh. Our daughter is over two now and I can probably count on one hand how many date nights we’ve had since she was born.
But, we do get one on one time together.
I’m not going to lie, it was not very much at first. I’m talking 10-15 minutes while she slept. But it was one on one, a chance for us to hold hands, cuddle, talk, be close.
But as she has gotten older, that time has continued to grow too, because we make it a priority.
Date nights don’t happen, but lunch dates do (thanks to school and daycare). We might not be out for happy hour, but we have a drink and a chat after the kids go to sleep. We haven’t been to the movies in gosh knows how long, but we snuggle and binge on Netflix like there’s no tomorrow…
It doesn’t just happen, our time together didn’t just happen to fall into place. We made it happen. We talked strategies and schedules and we made sure that time together was a priority because it was important to us.
4 – How You’re Feeling
It’s something we tend to gloss over, we give answers we think we are supposed to give without actually revealing too much of how we are truly feeling.
Scared of how we will be judged. Scared of hearing the words leave our mouth. Scared that if we say it out loud, it will be true.
And on the flipside, reserved in sharing if you’re finding it easy because heaven forbid this motherhood gig be easy for anyone.
But this is the wonderful thing – it’s different for ALL of us. And the only way we are going to make that more ‘normal’ is to talk about it.
Yes, there are women who struggle every single moment in the beginning. It’s fricken rough. And my heart goes out to you. But there’s also women who take to motherhood like a duck to water (or me to Nutella… but still, that wasn’t me). And they’re fearful of celebrating their love of motherhood because ‘it shouldn’t be that easy’.
But here’s the thing – when it comes to your husband, your partner, your loved ones, your midwife… talk about it. Talk about how you’re really feeling. They are your support, the ones who won’t judge you. Talk about how hard it is, or how amazing it is, or how straight up average you’re feeling.
And when it comes to your partner, listen to how they’re feeling too. This is all new for them. It’s not a competition of who has it harder or who does more work or whatever… it’s support, for each of you, in it together.
5 – Any Conversation That Doesn’t Involve Your Baby
As incredibly important as this mornings baby bowel movements may seem (and it does seem like an important topic when you have a newborn), there comes a point where you just crave conversations that are not baby related.
It wasn’t until my daughter was a few months old that I realised how much conscious effort was required to have a non-child focused conversation. Which is when I made even more effort to ensure we would have a least one completely child free chat each day.
I have to admit, it often wasn’t the most intelligent conversations, but laughing about things that are probably inappropriate, talking about work (we have the same job), and sometimes even diving into philosophical conversations really helped me challenge my mind to think outside of the ‘mum box’ and was a good way to remind myself of who I am besides being a mum.
While it’s exciting to wrap yourself up in this new role of motherhood, and as delicious as those conversations about your beautiful baby can be, after some time, it’s important to remember conversations about you, about your relationship, and really, about anything and nothing at all.
The most important thing in all of this is to give yourself some space to just learn your new role, learn the ropes, figure out the so called balance and settle into your new life. Use these topics as a guide to help you when you’re wanting to talk to your husband but you’re just not sure what to talk about, and to remind yourself that it’s okay to talk about things that aren’t baby related.