By Mae Hacking, Here in This House
Marsha Greenberg M.S., M.S. W., a New York City therapist, shared an evocative and thought-provoking view on the shifting relationships among the mother, partner and baby in the baby’s first year. Along the way, she shared her thoughts on how to survive the many changes in store.
- Images. Before you are even pregnant, you create images of how you think you will parent, first by defining what you are not going to do. Most times, this is different from the images your partner will create which helps you create a unique experience for your child
- Attachment. You begin to develop an attachment to your unborn baby. Most mothers are ambivalent when they find out they’re pregnant but begin to make the connection through the power of touch. Note how mothers are often holding and touching their bellies
- Both the mother and partner need to define how each will connect with the baby and both may find their relationships with others will shift to accommodate this new relationship
- Mothers often micromanage the baby and don’t allow others to develop their own connections. Partners may require different or longer time period to define their own relationship with the baby
- Don’t play resident expert. Let your partner figure out what is needed to do to handle the baby
- Recovery. We often do not make enough room to fully recover. In any other situation should your inner organs be so displaced and need to return to normal, you would be told to rest and recover. But mothers are expected to get up and about which is too demanding and can cause great fatigue
- Sleep. The biggest competing need between a mom and her baby is sleep. The baby had all its needs met in utero without even having to ask. But after delivery, everything is different and they can’t think, can’t ask questions. All they have are their reflexes. Your touch will send neurological signals to the baby to calm down
- Help. Ask for help. Even if you don’t like to ask for help, there is something nice about having someone to help. Have them put in a load of laundry, run an errand, talk with you, take baby for a minute so you can rest. Use words to ask for help. It feels good to ask and it feels good for other people when they can help.
- Self Care. Make time for yourself. Don’t think that you don’t have time. If you take all the time you are abusive to yourself and convert that to time for yourself, you’ll have at least a few minutes if not even more.
- Sex. Sex is an important part of your relationship and is physiologically important to men. Make the time to get reacquainted with your body after delivery as your body has endured much change. Scheduling sex is not unusual for new parents and may be critical in maintaining intimacy between partners.
Did You Know?
- The step reflex helps the baby move through the birth canal during labor? As the uterine contracts and touches the sole of the foot, the reflex causes the baby to push against the surface, creating movement down the birth canal
- Within fifteen seconds of birth, a baby is able to turn towards the mother’s voice. Soon after, they turn to the partner’s voice
Marsha’s talk resonated with the audience of moms, expectant moms and dads. She gave a excellent and honest preview of what was to come for the expectant moms and a welcome reminder of those unique times for those that were already parents.