Updated: Jul 11
When a baby arrives the dynamic in the relationship can totally change. You are busy with the baby, in modern times it’s likely that your birth was in some way traumatic. You have sore nipples from breastfeeding. You feel the pressure of everyone making comments, suggestions and generally sticking their nose in when it isn’t requested. It’s overwhelming.
And then your partner is there. Like a rabbit in the headlights. Before baby, the fact that he didn’t really know how the washing machine works wasn’t really a problem - now the laundry pile is ever increasing. Before baby he didn’t know how to cook so ready made meals every so often or takeaway at his expense when it was ‘his turn to cook’ wasn’t so much of an issue - post baby you’re sick of the constant junk food and feel tired from not being nourished as your body is healing. So you begin explaining how to do small things around the house. You don’t want him making mistakes because you know it will be a hassle to tidy up or deal with. You are reminding him of things that he should just know what to do by now - hasn’t he seen you do it enough times? Your patience is thin from lack of sleep and you are gradually feeling like you need to constantly monitor him. In some cases you don’t even bother asking anymore and do it yourself. You resent him. You are frustrated. You feel overwhelmed. You feel like you have become his mother.
What many of us tend to forget when we become mothers is what I like to call the ‘forgotten father’. The attention is on mum and baby. Little support is offered or even available to fathers. They watch the labour almost like a spare part. Seeing you in pain, unable to do anything. The feelings of ‘not enough’ begin to rise. Then when the baby is brought home, the baby needs you. He watches on. Not really knowing what to do or how to help as you did everything before and it’s all new.
The new father is in freeze. Unable to make decisions. Unable to do the right thing. Unable to connect to his partner who is so completely touched out by constantly having a baby in arms that his only opportunity for connection and intimacy - sex - is out of the window. He feels lost. Alone. Afraid of where the relationship might go.
It’s a frightening time.
Trusting your partner that he will make mistakes but learn from them. That things will be rocky for a while as he figures things out in the house and patience and respect with how he’s spoken to will help to overcome these issues. Placing boundaries around your expectations. Clear communication. Listening to what he needs instead of reacting to him. All will help to empower him to be the father and partner he can be.
This dynamic above plays out frequently in those who’ve entered parenthood.
I work with mothers and I work with fathers to create a new dynamic so that they can find the sexual desire again in their relationship, so that they can fall in love again with themselves and each other, so that they can deepen the connection they have in their relationship.
Carla Crivaro is a trauma-informed and certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, she works with men and women internationally to reach their goals in delicious sex, profound love and authentic relationships. Carla helps men and women understand themselves and each other, sexually and relationally, in and out of the bedroom. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.