Jennifer Johnston-Jones, Ph.D.
Men prepare for parenthood
What can help men prepare for parenthood? What you need to know when the child is born is things are going to change dramatically, but it’s only temporary. So you’ll notice that your wife is not as connected to you. She is probably not wanting to be sexual. She probably doesn’t even want you to touch her breast or to be intimate in this way. And it’s really, really important to know this is only temporary.
Many husbands and partners become very afraid. Oh no, the child is born, this is going to be that way forever. What do I do? Don’t panic, it’s okay. Hold it together as it’s only temporary. You’re going through a very normal part of life. You need to really release the expectations of your wife to be sharing her intimacy during these times. However, at six or nine months- sometimes it can be up to 12 months, you’re going start seeing some changes in your partner. If she doesn’t start to become more intimate with you — and intimate I don’t necessarily mean sex everyday. I might mean kissing on the mouth, hugging, touching. If you don’t see an increase in that, you really need to sit down and talk about it.
It’s sort of a dangerous window, actually. And I hate to be dramatic about it but it’s something men need to know to prepare for parenthood. One can get in the habit, especially a mother, of really tending to her newborn child and the baby is firstborn. After a year, if this becomes a permanent habit, the relationship is really affected in a negative way, so what needs to happen is that things need to shift. She needs to pull back a bit from the child, give more to the husband.
However, the first zero to nine — six to nine months, that is acceptable, normal. Just take away the expectations that you will receive the same sort of intimacy during that time, that you had before a baby was born. And just know this too shall pass.
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