I heard an interview yesterday with Jane Roper, author of “Double Time“, her memoir about surviving and thriving after the birth her twin daughters. In the interview she stated that her biggest worry, when she discovered that she was having twins, was “Is this going to completely take over my life?” This common concern shows how, while we are excited about becoming parents, sometimes we are aware that HUGE changes are coming, and there is often anxiety about the losses which coincide with these changes.
I remember being worried when we were expecting our daughter that we would not be able to do things we enjoyed together, such as hiking, camping, and travel. We were able to continue to do these things by throwing her in the sling, stroller, and a little later, the backpack and bringing her along-to Vermont, New Hampshire, and even to California when she was 13 months-she took her first steps in Yosemite National Park.
Our lives did change dramatically and significantly after her birth. We were particularly not prepared for the strain on our relationship. Though we muddled through by getting help and by sheer determination, after weathering those and other storms, my husband and I feel committed to helping couples prepare for this transformation proactively. In our mini-retreat offered between Mothers’ Day & Fathers’ Day , couples will strengthen their relationship skills: communication, expressing affection, and conflict resolution. Proactive planning (before baby) for getting support and developing family routines will free up energy needed day-to-day to enjoy your newborn!
With an adequate foundation of a strong relationship, practice of good communication skills and expression of affection, and plenty of planning, couples can enjoy increased intimacy as they grow their families. And loved activities will be picked up again, sometimes with slight modifications. When we celebrated our 25th anniversary last week with a trip to California (without kids!), my husband and I saw a couple with babies in backpacks. I asked to take their photo so I could pass it on to you. There IS life after baby; it’s just different!