How To Include Your Partner In Your Recovery
How to include your partner in your recovery
Officially crossing over to parenthood is life-changing to a marriage and relationship. While it is truly a beautiful thing to see each other become parents and all that this entails, the transition is not without its challenges. Learning to communicate, support, encourage and help one another through the changes you will endure together, particularly in the early states of parenting and with welcoming a new baby will definitely require an adjustment period.
Consider the time that you two have spent together, investing in your own relationship. Adding in a baby to this picture shifts the dynamic of your relationship, often in unexpected ways, and learning how to meet one another’s need while caring for a new baby will require intention.
Communicating Your Needs
Generally speaking, as women, we often struggle with asking for help, and often times, this is reflected in our relationships. We may understand and recognize that we do need help and in fact, are wanting help, but verbalizing our needs can be difficult. It is not uncommon for couples to have unspoken expectations with one another, where one person might desire certain things of their spouse/partner without necessarily communicating these needs. Sound familiar?
When it comes to mothering from the trenches, for example, you may know that you desperately need help in all areas, and this can feel overwhelming or actually shut you down completely. You may think, “Can’t he see that I’m drowning over here and take some initiation?” Because who doesn’t love it when someone does something helpful and kind without even asking. Often though, this is an unrealistic expectation in a relationship. We cannot assume that our partners inherently know what we need in the moments by moments. Just as the circumstances in motherhood change from one day to the next, so do our needs and the support we might require from our partner.
If you are in a moment of overwhelm, take a quick minute to reflect on what you are needing in this point of time to help support you through whatever you might be experiencing. Is it a hot shower? Alone time? The chance to sit down and eat something? A hug? Intentional connection and conversation? When you’re in the trenches, you likely need all of the above, and this can manifest as overwhelm, even emotional/physical exhaustion and frustration. Prioritize your needs and give your spouse the opportunity to help you address this. Has it been a few hours since you’ve eaten? Involve your spouse in either watching the baby so you can prep and eat a quick bite or ask your spouse to prepare you something while you attend to the baby. Communicating specifics can help cut out the guess work and empower your relationship during turbulent changes.
Understanding Emotional and Physical Needs
If you are finding it difficult to articulate and/or verbalize your needs with your spouse, recognize this mindfully. If you are dealing with something like postpartum depression and/or anxiety, this may add a whole new dimension of complexity to your relationship. Don’t despair or further isolate you in fear that your partner may not understand. Reach out and to your spouse and fill them in on what you might be experiencing. Share our Resource Page for Family and Friends to give them more information on what you are struggling with, especially if you are having a hard time finding the words to express yourself.
Even if you are having a hard time knowing and/or asking for what you are needing each day, give yourself and your partner plenty of grace. This transition is hard on your spouse in ways that you may not fully understand either, and it’s important to have a mentality of working together through change. Extend patience when you both feel as though you have reached the end of your rope. Make intentional time for connection, even if it’s for 20 minutes while the baby naps. Your spouse most likely wants to help you but may feel unsure how. Communicating practical and tangible things that they can do, whether it’s directly for you, by helping with the baby, or even around the house, you are involving them in the parenting process and in your recovery.