Last Tuesday the Nurturing Mums heard from life coach Rebecca Fishman for a session on postnatal relationship changes. New mum, Claire Bussey, was there…
I’d been looking forward to this for a while and was keen for tips from Rebecca and the other new mums. Today’s session focused on immediate partners, although relationships with friends, colleagues, parents, and in-laws can change massively too when a baby comes along. Rebecca kept the session upbeat and fun, and reminded us that change is a good thing – nobody wants to stagnate.
Sharing the new parent workload
Workload was a big topic during the session. With a new baby in your life there’s so much to do, and it can seem like you never get any time to yourself.
Almost all the mums admitted to getting caught up in the tiredness battle – you’ve been with the baby all day, your partner’s been at work all day, etc… This “competitive tiredness” is not helpful, said Rebecca, as it leads to resentment. Yes, as new mums we’re sleep deprived, but our partners may be exhausted too. Practical strategies, such as scheduling and prioritising, can help with workload issues, and appreciation can help avoid resentment. As one new mum put it, “Together you’ve made a little person, and that’s an amazing thing. I love watching my partner with the baby and seeing how well he’s taken to being a dad”.
The 48-hour compliment challenge
It’s easy to feel underappreciated as a new mum and think that your partner can’t possibly know what you go through every day. But in the midst of feeling underappreciated, how often do you recognise the things your partner does do? Maybe you notice, but do you actually tell him? Rebecca challenged the group to vocalise all appreciative thoughts about their partner, however small, for the next 48 hours.
As my partner was away with work when the challenge was set, I thought it would be easy-peasy. But when 6pm came and he wasn’t there, I started to miss him. I thought about how he painted the nursery last weekend while the baby and I were sleeping, and how he always leaves work on time even if it means missing his lunch break. I sent him a cute text and had a big hug waiting for him when he got home.
No time for sex!
As the session drew to a close, we realised that we hadn’t got to a certain topic yet. “No time for sex? Story of my life!” said one mum.
Rebecca’s tip for getting your sex life back after having a baby was: once you’re both ready, make sex a priority. When the baby’s finally asleep, don’t waste that golden time loading the dishwasher, catching up on your emails or watching Nashville! The mums seemed to like this tip and added a couple of their own: don’t put pressure on yourselves too soon and remember to nurture your emotional connection as well.
Over to you, new mums!
How are you finding life after becoming a mother? Was it a shock to realise how much it changes your relationships with loved ones? Let us know! And why not give the 48-hour compliment challenge a try? We’d love to find out how you get on!
Rebecca Fishman runs Lab of Self and specialises in maternity and postnatal coaching.