Romance After the Baby

Below are a few tips on how to cope with having a baby.

 

1) Both parents should read or take classes about baby-care skills.

2) Anticipate the new division of labor, and talk about who will do what after the baby is born.

3) Talk about child-rearing ideas before the baby is born. Share your own childhood experiences as well as your ideas and philosophy of raising children.

4) Make efforts to keep the romance alive by developing a support network of friends and family who can occasionally relieve you from child-care duties. Start having regular "dates" soon after the baby is born.

5) Realize that both mother and father will be overworked. Challenge yourselves to accept this burden and not to blame the other person for the pressures. Praise each other for effort.

It is particularly important that couples become aware of sex-role behaviors that could interfere with cooperation. For example, women are often raised to believe it is selfish to ask for anything, including help. So they try to carry the parenting burden alone without asserting the need for the father to be actively involved. Mothers must voice their needs for lots of sharing of the parenting responsibilities.

Similarly, men often see women as the primary child-care giver and so participate only passively with their baby, which could lead to their feeling left out and even jealous. Men are commonly conditioned to hold back their feelings--especially softer ones, such as hurt. So when they feel excluded, they withdraw, rather than address the issue and try to get involved. It is important that fathers get in the mix by seeking a role and learning parenting skills.

 

Having a baby puts pressures on a marriage. Being aware and preparing for the strain can go a long way toward making the birth of a child a positive, shared experience.

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