Romantic Relationships during the Postpartum Period.
Romantic relationships during the postpartum period…I remember this one time when I was in the trenches. I had a two year old, a husband who was a workaholic and I was (and am) a romantic. I felt empty and alone, except for when I was with my mom friends and my daughter. It felt off. So, I began to wonder. My research question of the week was: Can you be in love while raising a baby? The resounding question is: absolutely. The fellow mother I asked on the train… “Are you in love with you husband?” Her reply, “We have a toddler, of course not.”
So what happens, and when and why? I think every couple is complicated and simple at the same time. A fantastic book is The Five Languages of Love by Gary Chapman, because he simplifies this question. Mr. Chapman studied couples all over the world and discovered that we all share five basic ways of expressing love.
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
So gift giving is the act of giving a gift to your favorite someone. Quality time is spending time together. Words of affirmation are compliments and verbal encouragement. Acts of services are things like doing the dishes, taking the garbage out, etc. Physical touch is the act of cuddling and hugging and dare I say, sexual intercourse.
Here is the clincher, some people only need to receive two of these acts of love or maybe three and their partner needs two very different expressions of life. So wife Anna comes in and is not happy. Her husband Paul is always working and never comes home to spend time with her and the baby. Paul does not understand why is my wife unhappy? He is perfectly happy because Anna provides what he needs words of affirmation and gift giving, but Anna feels empty and isolated because what she needs is very different, quality time and acts of service and so it goes.
How to stay in love while raising a child, especially during those early years
During the postpartum period, carefully analyze this question: Am I being a good partner? What does my spouse need from me to feel loved? Am I providing this for her? Am I providing this for him?