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Romance, Postpartum-style PDF Print E-mail
Written by Laura Maxson LM   

Traditionally, couples respond to Valentines Day, the holiday of love, with roses, chocolates, a special dinner, fancy lingerie, maybe a glass or two of wine…  classic romance! In fact, Valentine’s Day romance has been responsible for beginning more than a few pregnancies! But what happens to romance when there's a new baby in the house?

 

Babies are amazingly lovable. They have to be, it's part of their survival plan. A newborn stares unblinkingly into his or her parents' face. With eyes wide open, babies drink in their parents, just as parents are drinking in baby. Over and over, all day (and all night) long babies are held close to a mother's breast, skin-to-skin at the perfect distance for locking eyes. Babies need to be loved, and Mother Nature ensures that if it isn't the avalanche of love at first sight, it will be the steady accumulation of a slowly building glacier of love.

 

Busy new parents can easily find themselves focused on baby care, and responsibilities at work and home, instead of each other. Operating on full-cope-mode can be exhausting and lacking in the very things that make love grow between parents - focused attention and physical touch. Although every couple and every relationship is different, almost all will need to make a concerted effort to get in any romancing - Valentines Day or not.

 

A few simple touches and little extra effort can bring back connections lost in daily routine. Instead of going all out for a stressful fancy dinner date, light a couple of candles at the dinner table at home to set the intention for some focused attention. A quick two-minute shoulder massage or foot rub while nursing can incorporate touch and be very relaxing. Little love notes on Post-its, left on the bathroom mirror or the refrigerator can lift the spirits of partners who leave for work while mom and baby are still sleeping.

 

A full on spa day is probably not going to work out, but a trip to the nail or hair salon might be doable with a little pre-planning. Most new moms are great at networking; partners can take a lesson – making the nail appointment with another new mom friend and encourage their partner to have coffee together while watching the babies. Commiserating and expounding on the joys (and trials) of parenthood can help lighten the load and the mood for everyone.

 

A new little accessory can help her feel a little more pulled together. A cute pair of earrings or a silky scarf might be more appreciated than something temporary like flowers or chocolates. Mmm, chocolate! Who doesn’t appreciate that? A mom trying to get out of her sweatpants might not want a pound of Sees candy, but may well enjoy just one or two tiny truffles tucked in a fancy box.

 

Although presents can be nice, doing the dishes might be even better. Partners need to be sure of the type of gift she will most appreciate. For some women, it’s going to be a gift that’s wrapped up with a bow, and others will prefer action instead – is it time to head to the mall or just pull out the vacuum and dust rag, and get to it?

 

By far, exhaustion is the biggest deterrent to intimacy for new moms. Lighten her load – surprise her by doing some of her chores, or take baby for an early morning walk to allow an extra hour of sleep. A nice long kiss in the middle of the day can set the stage for a more intimate evening. Be prepared to be flexible if baby wakes and don’t take it personally if she falls asleep nursing the baby, its just those other hormones at work!

 

Being a new mom can mean days filled with sweat pants, burp cloths and nursing pads – not the most glamorous! While the soft, fullness of the postpartum figure has its own beauty; it isn’t often featured in the fashion magazines. Making sure she knows that you see past the stretch marks and recognize the woman you fell in love with can be the best gift of all.

 

Laura Maxson, LM, CPM, the mother of three grown children, has been working with pregnant and breastfeeding women for over 20 years. Currently she is the executive director of Birth Network of Santa Cruz County and has a homebirth midwifery practice. Contact her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . 


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