After 40 (or so) weeks of pregnancy, and long hours of childbirth you and your partner have become parents! Congratulations!
However, the transition from pregnancy to postpartum brings a variety of new symptoms and questions, and many couples have trouble to adapt to a new chapter of their life.
Here is what you need to know and understand about postpartum life, ideally before the baby arrives.
What New Mothers Go Through?
New mothers are often overwhelmed by their new roles. They used to be focused on the career and friends, but now everything changes and their focus is switched to a newborn baby. Many women feel lost and less important because their days are filled up with diaper changing, feedings, and other activities centred on the baby.
There is also a huge impact on the pregnancy hormones that are still active. Don’t worry if you feel like crying instead of being happy and excited. That heavy veil of progesterone and estrogen will lift and you will feel much better.
However, if that bad mood persists for more than a few days, you might be suffering from postpartum depression, and you should definitely seek help from a therapist. There is absolutely no shame in it – it happens to a lot of women. The new mother also has issues with her body image. Their breasts look different, their hips are wider and so on. This is the time when their partner can help by reassuring them about their looks and letting them know that they are still attractive.
What New Fathers Go Through?
Many new fathers feel left out and isolated, because everyone is focused on the newborn baby, and sometimes they might compete with the child for the attention. As a result, they might start feeling depressed and they will probably withdraw.
In these situations, women can help by including the partner in the care of the newborn baby. New mothers should accept the offers from their husbands to help them, and spend one-on-one time with the baby.
Your partner might be doing things differently than you, but try not to make a fuss about it. They will do things their own way, and they will both be just fine. This will help new fathers feel more confident and connected with the baby, and mothers will have more time to relax and cater to their own needs.
Regaining Your Intimacy With Each Other Might Take Time
Most new parents are experiencing loss of sexual intimacy. Sometimes that can start during the pregnancy because many couples feel uncomfortable about having sex, or due to some other complications.
After the delivery, women need to recover, and that requires time and it varies from one woman to another. There are numerous factors that can affect the time needed for recovery, such as delivery methods or even complications. Don’t rush your body, and be patient.
Breastfeeding can inhibit a woman’s desire to be intimate, and constant touching and interact with a newborn baby may make her feel “touched out”. On the other side, man can feel betrayed and rejected.
There are many ways to be intimate, like holding hands, cuddling, and in case you cannot handle this on your own, don’t be afraid to contact a therapist to help you overcome this situation.
Asking For Help Does Not Make You a Failure
There are many couples that think they have something to prove and think that asking for help will make them a failure. They think they can figure out everything regarding the baby by themselves, and that is very exhausting. Don’t do this!
Ask for help, and gladly accept it when it’s offered, it will only make you smarter and help you overcome the challenges that many new parents are dealing with. Ginny Lindsay, is an experienced therapist at Sydney marriage counselling From 2 to 3, and she has been working with so many couples over the past years. Contact her if you feel like you need help you preparing for and overcoming everything that postpartum life brings.