Remember when you were pregnant, and you thought it was the best thing in the world and you’d never felt closer to your partner? Remember how you said you wouldn’t be like those couples who seem to live through their kids and have no time for each other?
Hands up if you managed to keep that promise... It’s an under- acknowledged fact that what happens after you’ve had a baby bears very little resemblance to the plans you had while pregnant.
So how can you stop yourself from turning into one of those couples who argue over who’s the most tired and who got to go out, even if it was just to the supermarket to buy nappies?
Christine Minogue, author of Bringing Baby Home, believes that too many people over-think and over-research the transition from couple to family.
‘Keep it simple until you both become more confident as parents,’ she advises, pointing out that many feel they need to rush out to mothers’ groups or boot camps.
Remembering that parenting is a ‘we’ job not an ‘I’ job is crucial, she adds. ‘Check up on each other with text messages, and allow friends and family to help so you can grab a meal out together.’
The key to staying close, according to Christine, is to be kind and nurture your relationship with simple pleasures. ‘Just watching a movie together and remembering to laugh makes parenting easier.’
Memo to mums
Keep in mind that dads can get overwhelmed too, especially if they work during the day and then come home to help with the baby. Often they feel the stress of protecting and providing for their new family. Remember one in 10 dads suffers a degree of postnatal depression.
Memo to dads
Be mindful that your partner is recovering from giving birth, and that she doesn’t have to be all things to all people. Encourage her to lower her expectations and accept help from family. Give her time out so she can take a walk, have a bath or grab a nap.