childbirth

5 Ways to Baby-Proof Your Relationship

There's no way around it: having a baby changes things. Life as just the two of you use to mean double dates to the grocery store, late night strolls, lazy morning sleep-ins, and perhaps the occasional impromptu vacation. The two of you decided the what, where, and when, and nobody got in the middle of your plans or your relationship. 

It's really the smallest things that cause you to really notice how life has changed. You're dates have a third wheel, and so does your mattress. You might not even be sleeping in the same room, and if you are, romance is likely amiss. You're biggest argument is who get's to sleep in tomorrow, and your late night strolls are a best effort at getting your newborn to go to bed so you can. Life is different.

We've complied 5 ways we know your relationship can grow and strengthen to withstand the rocky seas of newparenthood:

1. Share the Load 

Maternity leave is not a holiday in the Bahamas, and juggling work and a new baby is also no walk in the park. Recognizing each others sacrifices and strengths, and finding ways to delegate the household chores and responsibilities fairly, will keep both of you from feeling burnt out and bitter. 

2. Set Realistic Expectations

Bringing home baby is not easy. While there are wonderful blissful moments getting to know your baby and witnessing this miracle you've created together, it comes with a lot of challenges along the way. Prepare for the best, but expect the worst, because there are bound to be some storms along the way. If you are ready for some trying times, you'll be more prepared to stand together through it. 

3. Ask For Help

Looking outside of each other for all of the answers is one of the best things you can do for one another. Ask a close friend to organize a meal train. Enlist your mother-in-law to take on your laundry once a week. Hire a house cleaner or find other ways to shift responsibility from either of you to someone else for a while. You're going to need a break from life, and sometimes that means reaching out. 

4. Take a minute together

It truly might be just a few minutes a day, but find that time, or even schedule it in if you have to. Check in on one anothers mental and physical wellness, snuggle up and watch your favourite show, or cook up an after bedtime dinner-date and sit at the table (and not the TV). Your time together becomes more about quality than quantity, and ensuring you get a few small pockets of connection will help keep things alive and well. 

5. Practice Personal Self Care

Taking care of your relationship means taking care of you first. A healthy, rested you can give much more to your partner than the tired and depleted version. Find a way at least once a week to do something that fills your soul - read a book in a coffee shop, go for a massage, take an extra long bath in the middle of the day. Let someone else care for baby while you care for yourself. 

Baby Brain - Myth or Fact?

Pregnancy brain, mommy brain, baby brain, all of these are names you may have heard to describe the symptoms that seem to produce a sort of Momnesia in pregnancy and afterward. If you’re experiencing increased forgetfulness or a general lag in your mental sharpness, it’s not likely you’re not losing your mind; both literally and figuratively.

The research on the subject isn’t extensive, but the research seems to show that while mental sharpness definitely takes a hit, it’s likely due to a major increase in estrogen and progesterone, clouding memory and inhibiting optimal mental function. These studies are reassuring though, suggesting that this is a temporary issue; there does not seem to be any actual lasting affect on the functioning of your brain due to these hormones, just a temporary annoyance (that occasionally comes in handy as a great alibi for forgetfulness!)

As inconvenient and frustrating as this common pregnancy and postpartum issue can be (because it certainly doesn’t seem to let up in those early weeks and months after birth), there could be an evolutionary explanation for baby brain. While you may be missing appointments and forgetting what you walked into the kitchen for, your brain seems to focus your attention on what’s most important during this time; caring for yourself and your offspring is at the forefront of your mind and seems to take the number one priority, putting the less-important things on the back-burner.

So what can you do to help yourself out and lessen the impact of this annoying symptom? Don’t rely on your memory to try to keep appointments, complete deadlines, and finish errands; your brain could use a break from the extra space those things take up, and there are simple ways to do this!  Make lists (and try to keep them in one place!) and utilize your cell phone calendar or set alarmed reminders for yourself.

Getting extra sleep will go a long way, too. There’s a good chance you feel like you are needing more sleep than ever in pregnancy, and after baby is born you may experience a lack of sleep like you’ve never known before! Don’t hesitate to take a mid-day nap, and ask for an extra pair of hands to hold the baby or watch your toddler so you can catch up on sleep. Your baby brain will thank you! 

Rest assured that this unsettling feeling that someone has loosened a few lightbulbs in your brain, is only temporary one. Be gentle on yourself during this time when your body is undergoing an extreme takeover. This too shall pass! 

The Truth About Your Babymoon

 

It sounds blissful, doesn’t it? A babymoon; laying in with your sleepy newborn, nursing, cuddling, smelling their sweet fragrance while counting tiny fingers and toes over and over again, filled with days of warm, healing baths, breakfast in bed, while gently easing yourself into cozy walks around the neighbourhood…

CUE THE STATIC FUZZ.

Cue reality.

There absolutely is an unquestionable sweetness about the early days. Coming face to face with the baby you’ve co-created is indescribable. Perhaps it’s a relief to be un-pregnant after suffering some of the hardest symptoms like pregnancy depression or hypermesis gravidarium, or maybe you are wistfully remembering the feeling of your baby inside of you after a energized and fairy tale 10 months. It doesn’t matter anymore, because your baby is finally in your arms.

But let’s stop romanticizing all of it, because it’s not all baby bliss. Let’s talk about the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, because the days postpartum are all of these things at any given moment.

Your baby-moon will involve sweet, sleepy cuddles. In one moment you’ll be admiring each crease and curve of your tiny miracle. In another moment, you may be a hot mess of hormones, crying because your husband put the glass of water just out of reach on the table in front of you rather than placing it in your hand. Doesn’t he realize you’re one-handed, breastfeeding, insatiably thirsty, and now you can’t even reach your water?!? It happens, it really does.

If you are in the days and weeks postpartum, your babymoon may really be...

Watching your baby peacefully dozing in the bassinet…and hours of crying (both of you), trying to figure out if you should swaddle, nurse, rock, wrap, drive, push, bounce…

Counting fingers and toes while cradling your baby at your breast…or curling your toes because you haven’t figured out the latch while your baby ravenously roots for your raw, blistered nipples…

Friends who come by to peek at your newborn, with a meal in hand and a mop for your floor…and company that comes too early, stays too long, and brings flowers, not food…

The elated feelings that come with staring in to the eyes of a little piece of you...or the waves of intense emotion that leave you a milk-drenched, weeping mess of a mom who isn’t sure this will get easier…

Skin to skin in a warm tub for baby’s first bath…or your first shower in a week, in desperate hopes that hot water pouring down on your chest will bring some relief to your hugely engorged, throbbing breasts…

Sitting in the quiet buzz of your favorite coffee, reading a book while baby sleeps peacefully in the carseat next to you…or breastfeeding your screaming, overtired, hangry baby in a bathroom stall at the mall in fear of a nip-slip in front of a dozen strangers…

Pumping milk for a bottle so that someone else can take a turn while you nap…and hand expressing milk while massaging out a blocked duct to avoid a second bout of mastitis…

Your babymoon is blissful and brutal. It will be picturesque and poop up to the neck. Through the highs and lows of this amazing and overwhelming season, enjoy the beautiful moments, know you aren’t alone in the struggle, and remember that you are enough.