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Maintaining Connection With Your Spouse During Second Pregnancy

Image Source: Ground Picture/Shutterstock
Image Source: Ground Picture/Shutterstock


Maintaining Connection With Your Spouse During Second Pregnancy

Welcoming your first child is akin to enduring military training: the lack of sleep, pushing your body to its limits, and the frequent demands. Nonetheless, it all seems justified. And it’s so rewarding that numerous individuals contemplate expanding their family. What is seldom disclosed is that the challenge of a second child is greater than the first.

Approaching the second baby, there’s a sense of false security. One might assume, “I’ve got this figured out now,” and in many respects, that’s accurate. Mastering nappy changes or comforting a newborn isn’t new anymore. However, juggling the needs of two kids introduces a steep learning cliff—a reality check that catches many spouses off guard and can strain their bond.

Does a second offspring intensify marital difficulties?

This is personal territory for me. My husband and I were in a comfortable parenting groove with our first child. But our second child’s arrival changed everything.

Expecting the newborn to disrupt sleep is one thing, but when our elder child began waking up too, exhaustion hit us hard. During those initial weeks, neither of us dared handle the children alone, leaving no chance for recuperation breaks. The chaos multiplied, so did the laundry, and time to manage these tasks shrank. I found myself pondering, “Did we make a mistake? Is this what our future looks like indefinitely?”

Yet, there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are measures to ease the transition before the arrival of your second child and strategies to ensure your partnership remains intact post-arrival. Here, a specialist offers insights on strengthening your bond amidst the welcoming of another baby.

Elly Taylor

Elly Taylor serves as a mother, couples therapist, keynote orator, and penned the work Becoming Us, The Couple’s Manual to Parenthood.

Grasp the reality of the situation

Elly Taylor, a counsellor specializing in relationships and the author of Becoming Us, The Couple’s Manual to Parenthood, advised soliciting a candid insight from those who’ve already trodden this path – friends, relatives, or coworkers. “Consult them about the actuality of their day-to-day lives,” Taylor urges. “This can enrich your current connections, and it’s a prime moment to forge robust, supportive bonds.” She also indicated that any unrealistic expectations can easily lead to couples identifying their significant other as the issue.

I can vouch for this. Even though I have friends with two kids, I never thought to question how they transitioned or how life had changed. Therefore, my spouse and I struggled enormously with adapting to our new reality during the first few months following the birth of our youngest. Anticipating what we were facing could have helped us gear up better for going from one to two children.

Minimize additional stressors

Taylor further recommended diminishing any extra stressors as much as you can. “Countless couples decide to move to a bigger home,” she noted, “considering this as ‘preparation,’ but such moves just tack on financial tension when it’s least welcome.” She suggested a simpler route. “Infants are miniscule. There will always be the option to scale up later when it’s truly necessary.”

I resonate with this advice, as someone who signed the deed on a new home upon learning of our second pregnancy. There’s preparing, and there’s overhauling a bathroom a month ahead of your due date. I would advise against the latter

Preserve your bond

Subsequent to the birth, there are actions to sustain your connection rather than letting it erode. Taylor mentioned that a parent staying home with the newborn while the other works can drive their life experiences to drastically diverge. This scenario might spark a rivalry over who’s more overwhelmed, contributing more, or deserving of respite, laying the groundwork for the duo to drift apart.

When the care of the baby falls to one partner and the other maintains employment duties, their perspectives can become vastly contrasting…leading to competition on stress, workload, and needing breaks.

“Maintaining a bond through ordinary, daily gestures (sending a message, inquiring about their day, embracing for just a bit longer) is most trifling yet most crucial,” says Taylor. “Designated date nights may seem too daunting.”

For me, an ideal Friday involves early-night pyjamas and turning in by nine, so such guidance was reassuring. Ultimately, it was indeed the minor acts of affection that helped my partner and I find our rhythm again: a short snuggle on the sofa, a ten-minute dialogue outside of our parental duties before bed, and affirming each other with “You’re performing admirably.”

Enlist assistance

Assistance refers to both aid with day-to-day parenting and domestic tasks as well as support for your relationship. If you and your partner seem to be running in circles, seeking a marriage consultant or therapist could be beneficial. “In the majority of scenarios,” asserts Taylor, “pairs recognize that it’s not flaws within themselves but rather their cyclic interactions causing stagnation and frustration. Just a few sessions can enable couples to evade typical relationship snares.”

Like learning any skill—operating a vehicle or musical performance—mastering the art of parenting a pair of children requires experience. I know this isn’t the most comforting to hear if you’re amid the shift from one to two kids, but things will undeniably improve. You’ll discover your stride, and soon enough, you’ll be dispensing your own sage advice on the matter, and our journey through it

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