Building romance again sometimes means going back to the basics.
I became a mom this year — exactly almost 12 months ago. There are a lot of things I heard about the first year. Be prepared for no sleep was the biggest one.
I wasn’t prepared for the romantic shift having a baby would have on my relationship with my partner.
We hear these things but amidst the stress of having a baby I don’t know how you can truly prepare until you are actually a parent.
Yes, you can read books. You can go to therapy. You can get support. You can plan ahead and promise to have date nights.
And maybe you hope things will be back to normal again in a few months.
But for some of us, actually most of us “normal” is now a kid sleeping between you and your partner, many sleepless nights and 99.9% attention to your new baby with many .05% to your partner & the rest, to your self.
You hear some couples are having sex again with no problem months later while others are barely having sex.
Romance is all across the spectrum of what works but the truth is you can’t force romance to be anything close to normal before you had a baby.
Personally my partner and I have yet to have a date night since we had our son. We are almost to the point where we are ready to have one but it’s been hard and unexpected.
It can be easy to compare your relationship to other new parents out but I think what really matters is the connection you have with your partner.
Connection is deeper than date nights and scheduled sex.
In this first year as new parents I’ve realized that normal romance is what you decide works for both you and your partner.
It’s fostering your connection and requires effort in going back to the basics.
Romance is being loving friends to each other.
While your energy is going to this new little human what you can do to help each other lighten the load of responsibility?
Perhaps one of you takes over one night while the other partner rests or gets some “me” time. Maybe it’s taking the little one for a drive to fall asleep so you can get a chance to have a heart-to-heart together.
It’s listening and offering support in moments of frustration, exhaustion and sleep deprivation.
It’s gentleness and going with the flow.
These are little adjustments that can go a long way in fostering your connection not just as parents, partners but friends.
The first year of parenthood can sometimes inhibit libido or be a buzzkill for sexual intimacy.
Personally I am still coming around to sex and it takes me a while to even feel horny.
I have found that gentle touch, hugs, caresses and kisses mean so much more than the expectation of sex at the end of the night when I am exhausted.
Take time to cuddle your partner.
Check in with each other and have healthy talks about where you both feel your sexual needs are now.
Re-assess how you can offer pleasure through touch and let go of it looking a certain way.
Grow and let go
The first year is no walk in the park but I’ve heard compared to other years it’s the best.
I think the best thing we can do for each other as partners and friends is to be willing to grow and let go of expectations. Let go of the expectation that you should be having sex a certain number of times.
Let go of trying to fit your relationship into a “norm” that may not be healthy for what you both need right now.
Be willing to grow through the discomfort and learn together. Practice so much forgiveness and compassion.
And mainly just be a friend to yourself and to each other.
The rest will find it’s way.