Category Archives: My partner and I

What ever happened to date night?

When in a relationship, certain rituals and habits that you used to had with your partner change a little during pregnancy. Your usual date night or that unwinding glass of wine at night, although seemingly insignificant, did wonders for the intimacy and connection you both felt. When these “rituals” change, your partner may miss spending quality time and connecting with you. He may miss it more than you since he isn’t going through the “pregnant” experience. You’re bonding day and night with your little one as she grows inside you and it’s normal for your partner to feel like he is on the sidelines.

It’s been said that neglect and resentment surface when “life takes over”. When your attention is all over the place and things like work, chores and social media ask for your undivided attention all day, they inevitably take time away from your relationship.  At this stage, your relationship is no longer just the two of you, you’re bringing a little baby girl to the mix and ensuring a strong foundation for your family should be a number one priority during your pregnancy.  There’s endless little things you can do to make sure your relationship thrives. Just like everything in life, it takes work and consistency.

Validation and gratitude go a long way here. A study published by the journal Personal Relationships, states that small acts of gratitude drastically changed the feelings of satisfaction, the connection and the quality of the relationship. Seek out ways to be grateful to your partner each day, mix it up a bit with phrases such as “I appreciate it when you…”, “I love it when you…”. Praises both in public and privately almost always makes the other person feel valued and appreciated. Pay attention to the details and take action, your partner may throw a few hints your way about a craving or chore he is too tired to do that day.

Every little thing you do helps. The specifics of your date nights may have changed (who really needs the wine?) but never its essence. Make time for your partner creating new ways to connect and show you’re grateful for each other every day.

Nurture your relationship

“Let’s say you want to make a vegetable garden. You prepare the soil, plant the seeds and water it. You stand back and look proudly at what you’ve done. It looks all set to produce the bounty you’re hoping for. But what if you don’t pay attention to the garden for a few months and come back thinking, ‘Ah, I’m ready for those ripe tomatoes now’. What will you find? A lot of dead or dying plants.” Bento Leal wrote this as an analogy of a relationship, meaning that if you take things for granted, it can easily fall apart.

Pregnancy is the time for your body to nurture and prepare your little one’s arrival to the world. It’s also a time when you can take advantage of and prep your relationship for the mayor change its about to go through.

Becoming a mom is certainly a huge change. You’re probably more tired than you used to be and are flooded by different emotions every hour of every day. It may happen that your partner is looking or hoping for some intimacy when all you want to do is sleep. Sometimes it’s easier to avoid an uncomfortable conversation, ignore the problem and let it be for the night. The problem is when that becomes the rule and not the exception.

The best thing you can do for your growing family is to ensure that every problem is solved from its root. Meaning, no more avoiding issues but facing them head-on. When the opportunity to talk about something arises, try the following tips to ensure that you say what you need to say and the other person listens and grasps that:
1. Organize your thoughts before you speak. No blurting out the first thing that comes to mind in the heat of the moment.
2. Respect is key. Choose your words, your tone and your body language correctly.
3. Be clear on what you want or need. Don’t leave space for the other person to fill in the blanks and don’t believe the other person will read your mind and know what you expected from them.
4. Pause and listen. Make time in between arguments for your partner to react and respond to what you’re saying.

Disagreements will rise when it comes to raising a baby and practicing the proper communication skills with your partner can create an environment where support is always present and there’s no problem the two of you can’t handle together.

Common communication traps

With your little one on her the way, the nerves may start to build up both for you and your partner. One little fight disagreement can become a huge fightdeal in the blink of an eye with when using the wrong communication skills. There are simple things you can do as a couple that’ll to fortify your relationship and equip you with the tools and resources that can help you deal with any disagreements you may have, not just now, but when after your baby finally arrivesis born.

There are common “listening blocks” we sometimes use when have in an argument or a conversation. These listening blocks ultimately hinder our ability to fully listen and comprehend what the other person is saying and feeling. Try and reflect if you use any of the following and exactly how often you do:
1. Mind-reading. You already “know” what the other person is thinking and referring to before he/shethey can even finish a sentence.
2. Daydreaming. Your mind tends to wander to other tasks while the other person is talking to you.
3. Rehearsing. In your mind, you’re already thinking about the response to what he/she isthey are saying without letting him/herthem finish.
4. Filtering. Selective listening, you only hear what you want to hear, blocking the things that make you uncomfortable or that you just don’t want to listen to.
5. Advising. You don’t let the other person finish expressing his/hertheir point of view, you interrupt with recommendations or possible solutions. However good hearted it is, you should first let the personthem finish what he/shethey wants to communicate first.
6. Judging. Analyzing, critiquing criticizing and contesting the other’s point of view (remember body language counts as well!)
7. CondescendingBeing condescending. Making the other’s point of view seem less important/valuable/true than yours.

It’s common to get distracted during a a little lost in conversation or to feel like you have to get your point of view through when talking to your partner. The important thing is that, slowly but surely, you become aware of your communication skills and traps. Something as ; an easy thing such as letting the other person finish his/hertheir train of thought can have a huge effect on the way you deal with the daily struggles of being pregnant and dealing with your newborn baby.

Empathy: the new golden rule

How many of us are truly and sincerely empathetic? Sure, we’ve heard what it means at least a dozen times, put yourself in the other one’s shoes, view the world from a different perspective, understand the other’s feelings… But how many of us have actually cultivated this habit or capacity for compassion by continuously being genuinely concerned for another human being?

Being empathetic includes you, as well as others. It’s hard work. It can do wonders for your relationship now with your little one is on the way. You’ll need now, more than ever, to be able to tune into what your partner is going through. By doing do you’ll be able to work out any hassles and obstacles that may show up and come out on the winning side.

The tricky thing about being empathetic is that it can easily be confused for condescension. Your partner needs you to step up your game during this time and be genuinely concerned about his wellbeing and happiness, not feel sorry, and really understand how hard it is to change diapers. See the difference? The second tricky part of being empathetic is that, like everything in life, you must work at it and work at it and work at it again.

Not to worry! Kinedu is here with a few easy steps you can do each day to cultivate your empathetic skills so that when they’re finally put to the test (D-Day), you’ll pass it with flying colors!
1. Actively listen to whoever speaks at you (fully concentrated on the task at hand, don’t let your mind wander).
2. Come up with one positive quality you appreciate in every person you interact with (even a nasty co-worker).
3. Every night of the week, come up with at least one thing you appreciate about yourself and learn to become aware of your value and the impact you have on your family, friends, workplace and even the world.

At the end of the day, empathy is a skill that like any other needs to be practiced every day in order to reap what you sow. It goes without saying that strengthening the bond with your partner will create a better environment for your baby when he finally arrives. Look for opportunities to grow each day!

Five Love Languages

Up until now, you’ve been living with certain family dynamics in this last few months may have taken a 180º turn. A newborn almost always has an impact (at least at the beggining) on the relationship between you and your partner. If you’re first-time parents it can be especially hard for you to jump from the honeymoon stage to the diaper one. If you’ve been through this before, you know better than anyone that bringing a new person (however small she may be) into the mix, inevitably spices things up for both of you as a couple. Preparing your relationship for this huge change is just as important as preparing to welcome your little one into the world. Maybe you’ll snap at each other more often or maybe opt for sleep over quality time and intimacy. When you have a hectic schedule, small things go a long way.

Five love languages by Gary Chapman is a book that has gained plenty of traction for the last few years and it states that every person “speaks” a different love language. We each have a way of expressing our love and of perceiving the other’s. Much of what this theory aims at is that couples should learn their own language along with their partner’s, so that they can ensure that even the smallest detail leaves the biggest mark on their loved ones.

These are the 5 ways in which you express or perceive love according to the author:
• Quality time: you feel loved when you have your partner’s undivided attention (Instagram free meal).
• Acts of service: you value the small favors your partner does for you (like picking up the laundry or cooking a favorite meal).
• Words of affirmation: you express or feel loved through compliments or words of appreciation.
• Receiving gifts: you feel loved when your partner thinks of you and brings you something (the gift is a symbol, a reminder that your partner remembered you throughout the day; that’s the important thing, not the cost).
• Physical touch: you feel loved while holding hands, cuddling, touching briefly when entering a room.

The faster you discover which love language you speak and which one your partner speaks, the faster your bond can grow stronger. Maybe your spouse enjoys words of affirmation over acts of service, try including some actions specific to his love language and see for yourself how the connection between the two of you will be exponentially strengthened and be better prepared to receive your little one.

False expectations

A lot of couple’s feuds come up due to false expectations. Most women have very high expectations of their partner and their role as a future parent. They picture a perfect parent for their future perfect baby. Some men hold false expectations as well. However, there is no such thing as perfection and therefore no perfect person or perfect parents. Knowing this from the beginning could be helpful for both of you to consciously contributing to your child’s future education and parenting.

In order to avoid future feuds, the best thing you could do is to have a talk with your partner about your expectations for your family. These could range from how many children you’d like to have, to how you are going to handle your roles in parenting. This could not only eliminate false expectations but could also help you plan a family.

Remember, the nine months of pregnancy allow you to prepare for the arrival of a new member in the family. The best way to prepare is by informing yourself and working on good habits. Reading about topics that you don’t know much about could help you prevent future family issues. Likewise, clarifying important issues with your partner can help you avoid creating false expectations, and therefore avoid possible discussions.

Promoting respect in the family

After a baby’s arrival, new responsibilities can cause an increase tension and arguments within couples. Tension can even get so high to the point of losing respect for each other.
If a couple’s relationship is dysfunctional, it can seriously have an effect on how they raise their children. Studies have shown that parents with a bad relationship tend to educate their children with less consistency. So it’s very important to respect each other in order to maintain the peace in your family, especially now that you have a new member.How can we work on respect in the relationship?

Communication is key. Knowing how to express feelings, desires, and ideas is a fundamental ability for a relationship. It’s important that your partner feels respected and valued so you can work peacefully as a couple. This is why intimacy and affection, as well as communication, are so important in keeping a relationship healthy. Another way of maintaining respect is by practicing self-control in stressful situations or in fights. Emotional control keeps you from saying things you might regret later.

What to do when the situation spirals out of control or when the damage is already done?

If respect has been lost and offensive words or physical violence occurs, the best thing you could do is seek professional help to sort things out. Seeing things from another perspective could be of great help.

Considering that children learn how to behave from their parents, here are some suggestions to keep them from taking after toxic behavior:

• Avoid picking fights in front of your children. If you need to discuss a touchy subject make sure you do so privately
• Don’t insult people or your partner. Practicing self-control is key to comply this advice
• Learn more about your partner’s likings and interests
• Take a workshop or read a book about emotional intelligence

Disagreements in the relationship

Most of the discussions and arguments couple’s have come up when they differ on how to raise their children, what type of education they should sign up for, or which medical attention they should get. Many options are limited because of economic reasons. It’s no wonder that many of the issues amongst couples start with things like how to spend money.

In order to avoid future discussions, you could try talking to your partner about the above topics during pregnancy. Talking about expenses, school fees, and all other baby related discussions is really important, especially when you don’t know what to expect with your first child. You could start asking questions like, “Will our child go to a public or a private college?” It’s completely normal to have different opinions on some topics. You should try to respect each other’s opinions, and reach an agreement.

Remember, the whole nine months will allow you to prepare for your baby’s arrival. The best way to get ready is to talk about important things that are related to the baby’s education and caring.

Your chats should be honest and respectful in order to reach a healthy compromise! Don’t forget how important it’s to get ready for the future baby, so that {he/she} can grow up in a loving and healthy environment.

Relationship changes in new parents

After a baby’s arrival, life as a couple changes forever. Now there are new responsibilities and activities on your agenda. If you are having your first baby, it’s pretty likely that you’ll both feel overwhelmed during the first few months after {he/she} is born. Each of you could process this new change differently, and it could be harder on one of you, so try to understand and help each other.

Some activities that could change, and for which you should be prepared for are getting less sleep, maternity leave or desertion of the job, the probability of post-partum depression, and changes in intimacy. To best prepare yourself, it’s great to do some research in advance. Then, when your baby arrives, you should work together to make these adjustments run as smoothly as possible. This will help you keep realistic expectations when it comes to taking care of your new family member.

The following tips could be of help to those that are first-timers:

• Before your baby’s born, you should commit to the new responsibilities that bringing a new baby into the world implies
• Your baby will not solve your issues with your partner, so this should not be the reason why you want to have a baby
• Sometimes the mom could give the baby too much time and make the partner feel left behind. This is why it’s so important that your partner also has an active participation in raising and caring for the baby
• You should agree and divide your time spent on taking care of the baby. Make it even so there are no arguments between you two
• It’s completely normal that the baby takes too much of your attention, especially in the first few weeks. However, you should also mind your relationship, and set apart some quality time as a couple

Bringing a baby into the world is a great responsibility, but it’s also one of the greatest things that could ever happen to you, so make sure to enjoy yourself!

Balance: work vs family

Nowadays, women have been able to climb to pretty important positions in big companies. Each day, more and more women work and have a family. How do they do it?

Truth is, dedicating full-time attention to both is impossible. If you add up some family time, you automatically subtract time to your job or professional career. Same thing happens if we turn things around. However, with your partner’s help, you might find it easier to share some quality time, even if it’s not full-time. People need their partner’s support in order to have both a family and a career. Couples that have a plan and decide to share roles equally have a higher possibility to be successful at work.

On the other hand, some women set aside their careers or the formation of a family. Why does this happen? A lot of women feel pressure to become full-time moms. It’s been widely discussed how important it is to invest time in your children. It has been found, though, that quality is more important than quantity. If you’ve always wanted to have a career, go for it. If you decide not to, the frustration of having to give up something you want could take a toll on your relationship with your children. This is why trying to seek quality time is better than spending the whole 24 hours with them. What’s important is that you’re happy so you can convey happiness to your children when you spend time with them.

Remember to find balance. You can have both a career and a family, as long as you find your support system on family or on your partner. Don’t forget to spend quality time with your children!