by: Meredith Stedham, RN, LPC

With Valentine’s Day approaching next week, we are reminded of the importance of relationships with a significant other or spouse. For moms with young children or new infants at home, the idea of taking time to shower, put on makeup, use a hair dryer, and dress up in “nice clothes” (which means anything without spit-up on it) may sound too overwhelming to consider. However, all relationships must be nurtured in order to remain healthy.

While I worked as a postpartum doula through The Motherhood Center, I was privileged to watch the sacred first few days of transition as new parents began to think, feel, and interact for the first time in the role of mom and dad. I can’t find the words to adequately describe how beautiful it is to see a new parent bond with their precious baby. I also observed many couples as they began to navigate their new territory of co-parenting from discovering who was the “strict one”, to debating over who changed more dirty diapers, to comparing who had the best technique for swaddling baby. Adding a new baby greatly enriches a family, however it also changes the family dynamics and relationships. It is common for parents to instinctually want to focus exclusively on the baby while putting aside their needs as a couple. While obviously baby is important, it is imperative that couples take some time for themselves.

Establishing a regular “date night” early on can benefit new parents in several ways. Couples need the opportunity to simply talk and reconnect with one another during this time of transition. Effective communication is key to any relationship, and even in the early weeks and months, it is important for new parents to make one-on-one time a priority. A night out, whether it is just for 20 minutes to talk a walk in the neighborhood, an hour to grab some frozen yogurt, or a long dinner at a favorite restaurant, can relax and refresh new parents. So, call the eager grandparents, a friend, or The Motherhood Center to schedule a babysitter… and give yourselves and your baby the gift of a strong and loving relationship.