I remember feelings of apprehension as I waddled back from work one day heavily pregnant with our first child. It wasn't the birth I was fearful of, it was how I was supposed to make room to love another human being. I felt very close to my husband. I liked the way our relationship was and I wasn't sure I wanted it to change. Would I have enough love and attention to go round?
There is nothing to compare with wonder and awe we felt as we held our first son in our arms. We felt close, excited, full of joy. Later reality set in, when we discovered he was going to be one of those babies that didn't sleep. My husband did all he could to help, pacing the floor at dead of night, but we were soon ragged from sleepless nights. There seemed no space for "us", certainly no energy for much physical affection and I felt so drained I just wasn't interested in sex.
More robust than we thought
It's at times like this that friends and family come into their own, doing the shopping or taking Baby out for walks so Mum can grab some sleep, giving wise advice (in moderation) to help the new parents along. Perhaps the best advice to us as over anxious parents was to be told that parents really need to take care of themselves and not lose sight of their own relationship. The new baby was more robust than we seemed to think, and we needed to pace ourselves and not give in to every one of the incessant demands little ones can have.
A way through
My chief fear was never realised. Gradually life settled down and I discovered that somehow, miraculously there was plenty of love to go round after all. Our relationship did change and this was just the first of many pressures that proved to be opportunities to grew closer rather than apart.
So if you're struggling with the adjustment of a new baby in your relationship, take heart, there is a way through. One of you may not feel confident changing nappies or handling the baby. Remember to encourage each other, rather than to criticize. Don't be proud, accept any help that is offered, get plenty of rest and try and find new ways of making time for each other, even if at first it's just a little note saying "I love you!", slipped into the packed lunch or amongst a pile of clean nappies. Telling each other how you feel about the changes going on can be so important, and remember to listen and accept what your partner is saying is real for them. You may not always be able to solve the issues they face, but you can at least reassure them that you understand and care, and often that's all that is needed.
Tip by Kate