A new baby is life-changing and undoubtedly the most beautiful part of a parent’s life. Those tiny toes, the sweet noises, the soft skin, that heavenly newborn smell. This tiny miracle has flipped your world upside down, leaving you in an emotional puddle of adoration and sleep depravity.
Even if this isn’t your first rodeo, postpartum is real, and it doesn’t only affect mothers who just birthed the new addition. Sometimes postpartum can interrupt a once easy-going marriage causing a disconnect between Mom and Dad, but there are ways to deal with this new phase of your life.
Our CEO and CO-Founder recommends a must read for you and your partner: The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother. She says the philospohy helped set her expectations of her postpartum period, aka the fourth trimester.
We spoke to Dr. Serena Rosa, an OBGYN nurse practitioner who spent a decade preparing women for delivery and postpartum. She opened her clinic after her first child was born in 2020 to create a community focused on supporting parents through emotional and physical instabilities.
Stay true to yourself.
There are many facets of a woman, and Dr. Rosa says that mothers need to hold onto who they are. “There is your womanhood, your motherhood, your partnership-hood; there is the way you show up for work or the community, and all of these characters have unique needs. But your womanhood is so important to hold onto. She will be the one who shows up in the bedroom; she is the one who allows pleasure of any kind, whether it’s sexual or food you like to eat or music you like to listen to. If you lose connection with your womanhood, it will be hard to fill your life up with any type of pleasure.”
Never forget the woman you were before Baby. Indulge in that cheese plate, dance to your favorite song, have sexy time with hubby. Continue to connect with the things you find pleasurable because this upholds your identity.
“Many of my patients say they don’t have time for self-care,” Dr. Rosa tells us. “But I say it takes as much time to practice self-neglect.” Parenting is a full-time job, but how can you expect to give your baby one hundred percent if you disregard your own health and hygiene? Dr. Rosa advises, “The love you have for your baby is an extension of the love you have for yourself, so if your cup is empty, it’s harder to have that love trickle down to anyone else.”
It’s essential to make time for your needs. We forget to eat or stay up too late to catch up on Yellowstone or find anything else to do besides sweat at the gym. But eating properly, getting enough sleep, and exercising will make the way you parent that much better.
Keeping your mental health in check is also vital for the postpartum period. “It’s super difficult to give to marriage or a relationship when you don’t feel safe in your own skin,” Serenity admits. Learning the signs and feelings of postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety and teaching this to your partern is essential for your stability.
Date each other
Schedule monthly date nights without the baby. Make one-on-one time a priority. Date night can be as simple as watching a movie in bed with popcorn and a glass of wine. One stipulation: make a pact to talk to one another about one another and don’t bring up Baby.
“It is necessary to keep date night about mom and dad the couple, not mom and dad the parents,” urges Dr. Rosa. The conversation cannot always be about the baby, or this will lead to the slippery slope of losing your identity. Instead, make date night selfish and talk only about yourselves and what you want and need.
“The biggest marriage problem between parents who have a new baby is lack of communication.” Communication is crucial for parents to remain on the same page with each other. You must iterate to your significant other what you need or want. If you need a break from the baby, ask for it. If you need help cleaning the house, ask for it. If you are feeling a night of hanky panky, ask for it!
We may know our partner well, but we will never be able to read their mind. Too often, we think the other should know what we want, but that is rarely the case. Avoid tension and communicate even the slightest thing.
“Homes need masculine and feminine energy,” explains Dr. Rosa. “And I don’t mean a man and woman. Masculine energy is the feeling of doing and going. Feminine energy is calm and nurturing.” A balance between the two vibes is essential for a well-rounded family and partnership postpartum. The masculine energy shows up when things need to get done, like the chaotic getting ready in the morning or the jam-packed weekends. But the feminine energy must make an appearance and remind parents to slow down and enjoy the baby, to just look at your children and watch them grow, to live in the moment.
“How often do you just watch our children with undivided attention? It is important for children to feel this as well, for them to feel that their parents are present and attentive.”
Balance also means sharing the responsibilities. “Even though you know you can parent your baby the best,” admits Serenity, CEO, “It’s ok to ask for help or let your partner bare some of the heavy lifting.”
“Everything is easier when you have a routine,” admits Dr. Rosa. “Routines for exercise, sex, eating, date night make it second nature, like brushing your teeth; you don’t even think about it.” When you routinely prioritize yourself and your partner, cherishing your identity as a person and a couple will eventually become a habit. The hardest part is the decision to either do something or not. Once it is no longer a decision but automatic practice the easier it is to stay connected to one another and your true self.
But I’m too tired! We’ve all been there. Sexy time is a special moment to connect with your partner, to feel desired, and to release energy. “There is so much adrenaline after baby,” Dr. Rosa explains. “We release adrenaline through oxytocin through hugs, touch, pleasure.” Dr. Rosa refers to masculine and feminine energy again. “The adrenaline is the masculine energy and in order to counterbalance that allow the feminine energy that is lovemaking to take over.”
It is important not to lose the desire of wanting your significant other. It’s easy to use exhaustion as an excuse, but if you schedule sexy time into your routine, you both will feel much better physically and emotionally. “Keeping your prebaby identity intact is important to sexual health,” warns Dr. Rosa. “Women need to get in the mental mindset for sex and get into a space of desire.” If you allow motherhood to consume you, it’s harder to get into the sexy time frame of mind and sexual health is so important for a vibrant and lasting marriage.
Postpartum parenting is a whirlwind of highs and lows, chaos and calmness, beauty and downright ugliness. Communicating with your partner and helping one another continue to be the same person as before baby will allow you both to cherish this blessed new life you have created.
About the author: Alexis Captain Marino is a freelance writer and mother of two- a spritely toddler and an infant who has started crawling way too early. When she is not meeting deadlines or chasing after her children, she and hubby are likely watching Yellowstone or eating cold dinner.