PC: Julie Harris Chatham
If you’ve seen the positive pregnancy test and you’re wondering what to do next, you’ve got plenty of options! But before you get too big to move and swamped with washing and folding baby clothes, take a moment to plan activities that help you and your spouse remain close—now, and in the future. Pregnancy is a time for preparation, but also a time to reconnect with your spouse. Once the baby comes, time together might play second fiddle to changing diapers, grocery shopping, and trying to get your little one to sleep. Here are 6 things you can do with your sweetheart to keep the love alive after the baby comes:
1. Take a Walk Down Memory Lane
Even if your courtship and dating wasn’t that long ago, it’s always fun to revisit old haunts. Where did you first meet? Where was your first date? What was a meal you two both enjoyed eating together? Combine several of these first experiences to make an enjoyable date. This idea doubles for a date night activity as well as a simple way to remember what it was that made you fall in love. You can even look through old dating pictures and make them into a photo book, or print out a handful and find a crafty way to arrange them (think of this as practice for when you're arranging baby pictures in your baby's memory book!). You’ll find that looking back at these special moments is fun and makes you happy to see how much more you love your spouse now. It also gets you excited to know that soon you’ll have one more to love!
2. Write Notes Now for Later
Love notes are always a great way to express appreciation and love to your sweetheart. If you’re not always good at expressing affection, take a minute to write a short note. Content can range from saucy flirting to a short expression of love or appreciation for completing a household task.
It helps if you can keep all these notes in one place. Some couples do what’s called a “love note journal” which they keep on a nightstand or other accessible place. Each person leaves little notes so you can always look and add more when your spouse next looks at it.
With this “love note journal” method, not only will you have a constant reminder of how much you love each other, but you’ll also have plenty of reasons to remember later what makes your relationship so great in the first place.
3. Get Ready for the Baby Together
Obviously there are lots of things to do and buy before the baby comes. If you feel like your husband might need some help getting excited about the baby, or you just want to spend some time together, make it a date. You can go and register for items together at The Baby Cubby, or paint the baby’s room together.
Another great way to build your mutual excitement is to go to the ultrasound and doctor appointments together. My son is nearly one now, and my husband still says one of the most special moments of the pregnancy was attending that first ultrasound. This may sound silly, but my husband and I also really enjoyed washing and folding the baby clothes together. Even though my husband didn’t attend any of the baby showers, he still got to ooh, aah, and squeal at all the adorable and tiny little outfits.
It was pretty great for me to watch him react, too.
4. Create a Romantic Evening
A night in with dinner for two by candlelight is always romantic. It doesn’t have to be fancy, either. Tin foil dinners in the oven are easy and delicious.
After you’ve eaten your fill, watch your wedding video together or peruse pictures from the special day. Candles, mood music, and wearing some extra special lingerie can spice up the end of the date, too!
5. Couples Book Club
Whether you want to get two copies or have time to read aloud together, this activity can really help you connect. My suggestion would be to get a book that isn’t about baby stuff, since you’ll be doing plenty of that throughout the pregnancy anyway.
Something light and entertaining—perhaps a mystery or fantasy novel—is a good choice. Once you’ve picked the book that you’d both like to read, go ahead and gush about the plotlines, characters, and writing style. It sounds a little nerdy, but you’ll soon find it’s a nice break from endless evenings one your respective mobile device.
6. Take a Babymoon
You can decide what time works best for your last hurrah trip before baby comes, but many couples prefer the 2nd
trimester. This is a good time that’s past the morning sickness stage (for most) and before the whale-like state of the 3rd trimester.
Plan something that won’t be too stressful on your budget or time off from work. The goal here is easy and relaxing time for you both. Some might prefer a road trip to a nearby National Park, or a week at a beach house somewhere. Whatever your preference, don’t over plan the activities for the trip; make it about you two enjoying your time off.
Before Baby Comes
You and your spouse both likely have worries, fears, and anxieties associated with becoming parents (or having another child). Everyone experiences these feelings at one time or another. The best thing for you both is to keep open lines of communication about these feelings. That way, you can reassure each other when needed.
People say that a baby changes everything in your relationship, but it doesn’t have to. Doing these activities together will help you keep the spark and romance alive, even with your new responsibilities.