This one is for you, dads and partners! If your wife or partner just gave birth and you’re not sure how you can be most helpful or if you’re going back to work, leaving your partner at home with the baby, here are a few ways you can be a supportive spouse or partner. Of course, the best way to be supportive is the way YOUR partner wants to be supported. If you don’t know your partner’s Love Language, take set aside some time to learn it (click here) by taking a quick online quiz.
Acts of Service
Acts of Services follows the motto of “actions speak louder than words”. Do something just for your partner, like letting them sleep-in, or picking up a prescription, can really make them feel loved and valued. The goal is to be helpful and to take a piece of work off their plate, giving them one less thing to worry about or do. Other ideas for Acts of Service are: taking pictures, catching up on household chores, or cleaning out the family car.
Words of Affirmation
Tell your partner what a good job they are doing! This parenting gig is hard and mostly devoid of validation. A lot of the time you’re guessing what your child wants or needs. Make an effort to tell your partner what a good job he or she is doing and how lucky your child is to have them. Stock up on encouraging and positive affirmations to shower your Words of Affirmation partner with!
“You did such a great job with dinner tonight!”
Sometimes this one can be a little confusing if your partner is breastfeeding or feeling especially “touched out”. Don’t dismiss their needs for intimate touch from you. A massage to help them relax, a hug when they’re feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. Grab their hand and hold it as you watch TV. The right kind of physical touch from you will make them feel connected to you and safe.
Receiving Gifts is another Love Language and it doesn’t mean having to be extravagant or materialistic. Being “stuck at home” with a baby or babies can feel very secluding. If it’s difficult for your partner to visit their favorite places for a while, bring those favorite places home! Takeout from a favorite restaurant, a new bestseller from a beloved bookstore, a new nail polish or craft beer or piece of art are all great little gifts that could make a huge impact.
This love language is all about giving your undivided attention. Set aside time just for your partner; no cell phones, no Netflix, no other distractions. The focus should be your partner, they should be the center of your attention. This can be especially important after a new baby arrives. Your partner may begin
It may be hard for your partner, bogged down by the day-to-day struggle of daily childcare, to recognize when your partner is needing their love language needs to be fulfilled. Remember that you don’t have to do this alone! If you can tell that your partner is overwhelmed, take the initiative to ask friends or family for help or research professionals that might help. Your partner might not want you to call a lactation consultant or postpartum doula or therapist immediately, but having the number right at hand can help
Parenting is hard but it is a team effort. Where one partner is lacking or unable, the other partner steps up and helps. Before baby arrives, make it a point to sit down with your partner and discuss their anticipated needs and how those needs can be met. Be proactive and have a postpartum plan in place with local resources and affirmations your partner may find helpful. Together, you can both thrive as parents and partners!