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For some couples, a new baby is like a keystone in their relationship; the three fit together like peas in a pod and the adjustment to family life is seamless. If this description fits you, consider yourself very fortunate, and then review this chapter to get ideas on strengthening your relationship even further. If not, pay close attention.
To recap, new moms are generally different from pre-baby moms in several fundamental ways. Often thrilled with their babies, they also tend to feel:
- Trapped in a new life as a mom; virtually chained to the baby
- Unattractive, flabby, and certainly not sexy
- Likely to cry often, with dad being a major reason
Her baby commands her full attention and she has neither time nor energy to devote to you. So while she needs you more than ever, she may ignore you altogether. She has largely forgotten why she loved you in the first place, and now her feelings for you are dependent upon your performance as a father and partner.
And no matter how well you perform, it will likely not be good enough, as rationality tends to suffer when one is tired and stressed. So you have your work cut out for you.
Life is not necessarily a bed of roses for you either, as your counterparts collectively indicate. Your feelings towards mom may be mixed. Several months after the birth, you likely love her and respect her as a mom. But your admiration and sympathy for the pain and the sacrifices she has endured may have worn thin.
If she is staying home, you may wonder why she cannot get her act together. And why does she have to take all her frustrations out on you? Why is your time at work considered time you have to yourself?
And why is a little consideration and attention, or something resembling a love life so much of a burden? Will it ever get better?
Who Will Step Forward?
The real question is, given that both mom and dad are stressed and tired, who is going to come forward and work to make it better? Once again, you need to dig deep to find the strength to step up to the challenge.
This is a big one too, that goes way beyond resuming your love life. Your marriage has reached a crossroads, and it can deteriorate, as about half do after the first baby arrives. Or it can get stronger, richer and even more passionate.
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