Staying Connected After Having a Baby

By Blair Allen, Contributing Writer

In the past four years Brandon and I have had three children, bringing the grand total of children in our home to five.  Through that process we have learned a thing two about navigating the initial postpartum phase. (Praise the Lord!) We have far from perfected this but do feel qualified to share a few tips.

1) Keep reading God’s Word!

 This can be hard to do when you are barely accomplishing basic things such as, oh you know, showering.  However, it is vitally important for the well being of your entire family.  Reading even just a few scriptures a day is like a multivitamin for your soul and will prevent malnutrition.  In the first couple of weeks you’ll be feeding the baby 8-12 times per day.  Make it a habit to keep a glass of water and your Bible (or Wifi Bible!) nearby and read what you can.  Then soak it up.

Really think on that verse or two until the next time you get some more of that Living Water.  This habit will also give you something to connect with your spouse on beyond a level of, “Will you grab me a diaper?” and “Oh no! She just spit up all in my hair.”  Check out the graphic below.  When you and your spouse are actively seeking God you will not only be growing closer to God but also with one another.  Closer than you ever could be without seeking Him.

2) Use paper and plastic.

Seriously.  It took me only four babies to figure this out.  The first four times my husband tried really hard to pick up my slack while I was recovering but it proved to be really stressful for the whole house. So before this baby arrived I stocked up on paper plates and plastic utensils.  With minimal clean up and a clean kitchen we both felt at ease to sit down and just enjoy being a family.

3) Be physically intimate.

Now, I know the men reading this are shouting for joy and the women are either turning off their computer or yelling something not so joyous at the screen. Hear me out. You need to take care of your health. That means following the doctor’s guidelines to ensure that you recover properly.  For some women that will mean they are ready to resume close physical intimacy at 4 weeks. Others not until 8 weeks or even longer.

1 Corinthians 7:1-7 says, “Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I say this as a concession, not as a command.

Ladies, it should never be your intent to use your “doctor’s note” as an excuse to go as long as possible without this contact with your husband.  When possible talk about your expectations in this area before delivery.  Some couples use the Old Testament verses regarding this issue as their guidelines,  (Leviticus 12) while others trust their doctors to know best.  Still others use their own intuition and experience to make the decision that is the best for their relationship.  Having a plan before would be fantastic, but even a discussion is great!

Husbands, understand that your wife will feel all touched out if she is breastfeeding.  The baby will eat for about 30-60 minutes every 2-3 hours,  around the clock.  She may not feel like cuddling.  On the contrary she still needs you to hug her and show affection without expectation of physical intimacy later.  A “no strings attached” kind of affection.  A simple hand on her back while she is feeding the baby in the middle of the night will let her know you appreciate her taking care of the baby’s needs above her own and that you are in this parenting thing with her!  That may seem obvious to you as the father and husband but trust me, mothers have (at least brief) moments of loneliness in those early weeks.  Additionally,  she may feel self-conscious about her postpartum appearance and needs to hear that you still find her attractive.  Encourage her in this area with genuine compliments.

4)  Help each other.

Wives, do not act superior to your husband in baby knowledge even if he has never changed a diaper and you were the eldest of ten children.  It is important to boost your husband’s confidence in trying to build a relationship with his new child.  Please do not be prideful.  Instead, confess that if you know only one thing about babies it is that as soon as you figure them out, they will switch things up on you!  Learn to laugh about that together.  James 1:19-20 says, My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”  It is important to be careful in your tone and control your tongue even when you are exhausted. In fact during those times when we are most easily angered is in fact the best time to build self-control!

Children are such a blessing from the Lord.  (Psalm 127:3-5) Relax and enjoy them.  Just remember to do the same with your spouse too!

Comments

  1. This is a great article!! I agree! No. 4 especially – about not acting superior. It is so easy to do – maternal hormones kick in and an automatic ‘I’ll do it the right way’ attitude can creep in! Thanks for these thoughts!

  2. What do you do when ots the husband who pulls out the excuses. No intimacy in this household for years :(

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Such wise words! It can be very difficult navigating those first few post partum weeks, and a little grace and understanding goes a long way. I like the suggestion of paper products – will totally be doing that with this new baby!

  4. Hi Lucia,

    That is a very difficult and probably discouraging place to find yourself. I am glad you asked this question here as I hear it more often than you may think. I hope that you get an answer that is truly helpful to you. I feel answering your question would be beyond my scope of “expertise” but I did have a few thoughts that came to mind from other sources. I am going to type them out in question form so that they are easily applicable to any that may stumble upon this post at a later date. Please do not actually answer them here though. :)

    1.) Is there a medical issue? many medications and/or medical conditions have the side effect of a non-existent sexual “drive”. If this is the case or he does not seem to understand WHY he is disinterested then I would encourage this issue to be discussed with a physician. Perhaps it could be a simple fix!
    2.) Is there a past or present issue with pornography? I ask because I have read that this can actually decrease the “drive” as the need for visual stimulation is being fulfilled, guilt ensues, etc.
    3.) Is there a history of abuse in his past? Any kind.

    The second and third issues will require inner healing. I would highly suggest he seek the counsel of a wise man of God. Perhaps if your own pastor does not feel that he is experienced in a way to provide that healing he could help the two of you find a qualified professional.

    Lucia, it has been my joy to pray specifically for your marriage. I hope that the two of you soon experience intimacy like neither of you ever imagined was possible within the confines of your marriage!

  5. This is a great post. I wish I had had something like this after I had my daughter (almost a year ago!). I had no idea what postpartum would be like, and I’m convinced that it’s worse than pregnancy and labor combined. My husband was great, supportive and loving, be he deserved a lot more respect and intimacy from me.

Trackbacks

  1. Grace Notes says:

    […] Staying connected after having a baby […]

  2. […] and life seems to be settling down. We are learning what it means to juggle two babies and reconnect after having them. I am trying to get into a routine to where I can focus more time and energy back on Jason and […]

  3. […] Imagine that you need his help with getting the children ready for church because you are running behind.   8-year-old Faith has a hair thingy in her hair she has not worn since she was four,  Junior is wearing tall black socks with his shorts, and the baby has on a bib you don’t allow in public because it has a tiny stain.  Go ahead, laugh at them.  Undo everything he did and get the children ready the right way.  Watch the look in your children’s eyes as they lose a little respect for their Daddy and think of you as the smarter parent.  Your husband will stop helping in no time at all! (This is especially true if you are first time parents with a newborn!) […]