Are you making the most of your time before this baby gets here? I hear so many parents express regret for not relaxing more during their pregnancy and enjoying each other as a couple. It seems kind of counter intuitive because you’re preparing for a baby and there’s so much to do ahead of time. But don’t get so caught up in the planning and preparing that you forget about each other and the fact that your life as a twosome is about to change forever. Not to mention how it will change your furbabies lives…
What are the benefits you have right now?
Right now, you can meet after work for a dinner and a movie. Right now you can spontaneously decide to take a weekend trip. Right now you can take a nap whenever you want too(TAKE MORE, fill up your sleep account – you will be so glad you did!) Right now you can meet up with friends for the evening and enjoy adult conversation. If you wanted to, you could surprise your partner at work and whisk them off to a fun lunch with minimal hiccups if any. Planning is simple right now. You think of an idea and it’s very uncomplicated to complete it. Fast forward a few months and the planning is a whole other level. It’s exciting to have a baby and eventually it will be your new routine but the first few months will be draining, complicated and challenging. What used to be a leisurely trip to Target will turn into:
- Making sure you have the stroller in the car with the car seat
- The diaper bag is packed with extra clothes and is actually IN the car
- You have hopefully coordinated the feeding and nap schedules as to how this trip is even have a shot at being feasible.
You can do a lot to build intimacy and connection before your baby arrives. It will only make the postpartum time better. Improving your communication with each other and having “the hard conversations” before this life changing event will clear the air and get the two of you solidly on the same team.
Hard conversations can be:
- Who is going to be allowed at the birth? How many visitors after the baby is home and how long should they stay(Oh I have so much to say on this topic but it will be it’s own blog post)?
- The in-laws and their involvement in the birth and grandparenting
- What religion or not that we will be sharing with the baby
- Sex – how are you planning on reconnecting that way(there are way too many scenarios to have backup plans for) How will you communicate about your needs and getting them met to the best of your abilities with sleep depravity and this new source of responsibility?
- How will the household chores be taken care of for the first 2 months as mom is recovering(animals, laundry, meal shopping & prep, house cleaning)?
- How we are going to parent(eventually, they don’t come out needing discipline) – good cop/bad cop, time outs, cry it outs, attachment parenting
- Vaccinations, circumcision, health choices
- Breastfed, bottle fed, formula choices
- Co-sleeping, sleep training
- Holiday schedules – whose house, which year so no one is offended?
Having these discussions now and coming to solid answers that you both agree with will avoid so much conflict after your baby is here.
Think of things that just the two of you do that you enjoy now together. Laughing – it’s so important. Fun things – so important. Relaxing – please do it! Step outside of your box and think, ”How can I make this fun, sexy and/or a better memory?”
- Is it Friday night Netflix binging? Then make a point to do it every Friday night and savor the time – you know where this should end up right???
- Is it a Saturday morning hike or casual walk now that you’re a little broader in the midsection? Then do that and take pictures and notice how beautiful it is while you just spend time together. Laugh, don’t forget that part!
- Can you take that weekend trip you’ve put off for a couple years? It’s so much easier to do it now then with a baby in tow. Plan a surprise for each other.
- Maybe there are some friends that you have been meaning to get together with. Do it! You may not be able to enjoy your glass of wine like you used to but the time with friends changes faster then you know.
- If you don’t know what your partner’s love languages are then look them up and try to meet their top 3 in some way every week. If you get in the habit of that now it’ll be much easier to keep some intimacy going after the baby arrives. And a lot easier to reclaim the intimacy once you both are not so tired. https://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/
- Quiet picnics where you can talk about traditions you want to bring into your family when this new baby gets here is also making the most of your time and still building intimacy with each other.
- Conversations about what were the best things you learned from your parents and want to keep and maybe the not so good things you want to drop. If you don’t come up with a plan you are bound to repeat things you didn’t like and forget to plan for things you do want to teach your kids.
Last but not least – SEX. All the sex folks! It may be awkward now with this new body but it is so essential. You may be tired – I get it BUT do it anyway. Add some more foreplay and get it done! Physically, semen on the cervix has prostaglandins to help soften and make the cervix buttery smooth before labor. Hormonally, the oxytocin bakes your baby in the love hormone and conveys to them that everything is good out there, they are loved and welcome. Be clear on the fact that no matter what kind of a birth you have, it is more likely that you will not be having sex for more than 6 weeks after. A few months is more accurate due to sleep depravity, vaginal dryness(due to breastfeeding and hormonal shifts) and lack of interest, also due to hormones. Staying sexually active during pregnancy makes it WAY easier to start up again.
Hand holding, foot rubs and cuddling that don’t necessarily lead to sex are also a good habit to get into before the baby arrives. This will be the only intimate connection for awhile so experiment with what the other person likes and what makes them feel loved. Communication is EVERYTHING. If you are a no for sex but are a hell yes for a good cuddle, then say that. What can you then do for your partner(besides sex) that makes them feel good. It is also ok to say, “I’m not in the mood for sex but I may be if we do XYZ first. Are you up for that?” Negotiate until you find a solution but please talk about it instead of bottle it up.
Parenthood starts at conception and what people forget about is each other. It’s time to have some fun before this baby arrives!