“No relationship is all sunshine, but two people can share one umbrella and survive the storm together” -unknown
Relationships can be hard, fun, stressful, exciting and everything in-between but during the 4th trimester the level of change can take stress to a whole new platform. Not only is a birthing parent dealing with changes physically, hormonally, and mentally, but our birthing partner is also walking their journey to parenthood. Adding all these factors together can cause some relationships to experience what I would describe as “a stale stage” … that stage where you know you still love them, want to be with them, and want to stay connected but have no idea how to get back to that place of comfort with each other. I believe there are a few key practices that can be put in place to get back to that place of comfort.
“Assumptions Are the Termites of Relationships” -unknown
The first key area to practice is handling any form of miscommunication as soon as possible….during the 4th trimester and in general. When we allow miscommunication to linger in the atmosphere and not address it, the incorrect information has the chance to replay itself over and over in your mind. When this happens, the conversation can begin to sound like something completely different than how it initially started. This can be dangerous because we begin to change the narrative to fit the conversation taking place in our minds. Take the time to talk this out with your partner. If the moment is not good for both of you, then at least agree on a time when you will iron out the conversation and try to not let too much time pass.
The second practice to put into place is to try not to worry about the small stuff. There is so much going on from day to day in the 4th trimester from the baby coming home, lack of sleep, lack of good nutrients, visitors or lack of visitors, emotions, and hormones that worrying or arguing over who forgot to unload the dishwasher is truly not that important in the bigger picture. Try not to let these things get under your skin. Emotions are already high, and adding the unneeded arguments will not help the stress or help you stay connected to your partner.
“Forgive. Because None of Us Are Perfect” -unknown
Another key practice to staying connected to your partner is forgiveness. Forgiving and communicating are the best ways to stay connected to your spouse. When miscommunicating, when forgetting to change the loads in the washer, when the crockpot didn’t get plugged in when a bill is paid late- practice forgiveness first and angry frustration last!
The fourth practice to stay connected to your partner during the 4th trimester is putting the phone down and staying engaged with each other. Take the time to have conversations, coffee dates (even at home), and steal time for quick kisses, a hug, or even a quick foot rub. Take the time to make the time to be with each other. During the 4th trimester, it is important to enjoy the wins and the time when positive communication can take place.
“Respect is one of the greatest expressions of Love” – unknown
Respect is one of the greatest gifts that a couple can give each other. If nothing else stands out, remember to love and respect each other. During the process, it is vital to stay connected to each other. Respect the transition each of you is experiencing together and as individuals. Also, remember that the love and respect you show each other is the same example that your child will follow.