3. Communicate Your Intimacy Needs
It’s no secret that parents of newborns experience a huge shift in their intimacy, for a variety of reasons. New moms are recovering from birth, and contending with the very physical work of keeping a tiny baby alive. Doctors recommend waiting at least 6 weeks after a normal vaginal birth before having intercourse, and that timeline could be even longer during a rough recovery. On top of that, both parents will experience shifts in hormones that can impact desire. If sex is off the table, it’s important to find other ways to connect.
- How important is sex to your relationship? What are your expectations around frequency? Who tends to initiate sex more often?
- Think of a time when you felt a strong emotional connection to your partner. What were the circumstances? What words and behaviors did they demonstrate?
- Close your eyes and imagine a romantic moment with your partner (other than sex!). Describe what you see your partner doing and saying. Discuss how you can incorporate these gestures into your daily life.
4. Take the Long View
Parenthood shifts your priorities in huge ways, and even with all your efforts to connect, it can sometimes feel like your relationship takes a back seat. Before the new baby arrives, spend some time envisioning your shared future after your children leave the home. Building this vision together will help you connect the day-to-day drudge work of parenting to your shared goals.
- Close your eyes and imagine your 50th wedding anniversary. Your child gives a toast. What might they say about the family you built together?
- How do you imagine life looking once your children leave the home. What shared interests or activities would you like to engage in with your partner?
5. Tell Your Love Story
Take the time to reflect back on your journey as a couple. Think of this work as nourishment ahead of a long journey. By taking steps to fill your cup, you’ll find it easier to walk together rather than grow apart through this transformative time.
- Think about the beginning of your relationship. What drew you to your partner? What are the qualities that made you realize you could share your life with this person? When did you realize you were in love?
- Imagine that your child asks you how you met. What story will you tell them? What are your fondest memories of that time?
These conversations aren’t easy, and there’s no shame in hitting a few bumps in the road as you explore these emotionally charged and deeply personal topics. If you’re struggling to communicate effectively or find that you’re perpetually in conflict, our team of licensed counselors can help you learn tools to communicate and connect more effectively.