In this episode of the Mommy Labor Nurse Podcast, I had licensed therapist and creator behind the Instagram page @loveafterbaby, Sheina Schochet, come on the show to talk about the challenges of, yup, love after baby!
In her professional practice, she focuses on helping women who are going through big changes in their life and noticed a common theme and pattern that occurred. When women became moms there was SUCH a prevalence of issues with their partners.
A new baby is a time that’s filled with so much joy, but it can also put a lot of stress and strain on couples. In this episode, Sheina shares some of her best tips and advice to help new parents navigate this challenging transition in life.
Here’s a peek at what we talk about:
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How and why did you get your IG page, @loveafterbaby, started? (6:34)
Sheina started her page in early 2020, and initially had a focus on supporting women through transitional times in general. She dialed in more specifically to support new moms (and couples) with their relationship and love during the postpartum period.
She shared a specific story that someone posted in one of her online support groups that really made the light bulb go off on just how needed this type of info is:
“[This mom] shared how she was struggling with her baby sleeping, [ and] she took her baby to go on a drive, and she was driving around, and finally got the baby to sleep.
And she’s like, ‘I don’t know if I want to go home to my husband. It’s not that he did anything wrong. I have nothing bad to say about him. I just don’t know if I love him anymore.’ And so many moms started commenting, ‘Been there, I know exactly what you’re going through, I can relate, etc.’”
But what Sheina immediately noticed was that no one was saying that it’s totally normal, and it can be better! There was no support or advice, just agreement. And this particular mom seemed to really be looking for advice.
She realized that there wasn’t really a lot of good support or actionable advice out there, and that was when @loveafterbaby was born!
What are some of the most common reasons why couples argue or disconnect after having babies? (9:30)
Here, you’ll hear Sheina talk about just how significant the role of exhaustion is in stressing new couples, and the way it leads to resentment. As moms (especially first-time moms) we don’t see our partner’s roles in life shift as much as ours do as the mother, and that can lead to so much resentment.
She also talks about how meaningful connection doesn’t happen as often or organically with our partners once baby arrives.
Here’s a glimpse of what she shares,
“Moms feel overstimulated, touched out, needed out, all these different things. And so, they can have much less desire to be intimate to, or even have that one on one time with their partners and really be present.
Because if they’re not actually dealing with the baby, they just want to tune out from everything or sleep. And so, they’re not having these meaningful moments of connection.”
Tune in to hear more specifics and some advice to help with these common challenges! She shared specific advice about how to reconnect with your partner once baby is here, too. (14:25)
Are you a fan of the Love Languages? We LOVED that book when my husband and I read it together! (23:37)
It turns out that Sheina also loves the Love Languages! When we start talking about it in the episode, the first thing she does is clear up the notion that if you and your partner have different love languages you’re a mismatch.
She says this is totally untrue, but a very common question she gets!
She also talks about the way our love languages can shift with different seasons of life, and how many often have a “primary” love language, but also some others that make them feel good too.
Listen in for lots of good insight on the 5 Love Languages!
Oftentimes I think couples have issues with not feeling appreciated post-baby, do you have any advice on this? (29:00)
Sheina was so excited to talk about this topic because in her words,
“I love appreciation and admiration because they are what’s called the antidote to feeling resentful towards your spouse. We get resentful because we’re focused on what they are not doing and how much we are doing, etc.
So when we tune into a little bit more of the things that they are doing, because there’s always something, we can like get rid of the resentment a little bit.”
Her actionable advice for this which I LOVE is to create a shared note or Google doc with your partner. Every day, you both add a note for each other of something they did that you appreciate or admire about them. What a great idea!
What about any advice on the “winning/losing” battle and always trying to one-up each other? (31:47)
In this part of the episode, I ask Sheina about this all-to-common trap of constantly comparing and trying to one-up your spouse. We all know it’s not productive and leads to trouble, but so many of us still do it!
Sheina completely agrees and says that this is very, very common and only leads to more resentment. She shared a saying to help you change your mindset around this habit, “When one of us wins, everyone loses.”
This is because if one of you is having the upper hand, and the other person is wrong, the other person feels bad and that can be destructive to your relationship. She goes on to ask what’s more important – “Knowing that you were right and stroking your ego? Or having a positive partnership, relationship, love, and sense of collaboration?”
Listen in to hear a wealth of knowledge and actionable advice to help stop this hurtful cycle and habit!
Do you have any advice for being “touched out”? (41:20)
When you listen to this final part of the episode, you’ll hear Sheina talk about exactly what it means to be “touched out” as a mom. Basically, it’s a sense of overstimulation and feeling like you’re always doing something for someone else. Then, when you finally get a break or away from the needy-ness you just want to be alone and have your space.
This can often lead to intimacy issues with your partner. Here’s a bit about how she recommends helping yourself if you’re experiencing this:
“One thing is to tune in to how you’re filling your cup and taking care of yourself physically. So, there’s a part of doing self-care on an extra level, but there’s also a part of like basic physical needs. So how much are you sleeping? Are you eating meals? Drinking water and hydrated? Are you getting outside, fresh air?
Little things like that and seeing where you might need to improve things a little bit for your physical health on a basic level, and asking your partner to pitch in so that you can take care of these things.
Then, when they see how them pitching in allows you to show up feeling a little bit more energized and refreshed – they’ll notice and be encouraged to help you out more. It starts with just having that open, honest conversation with them and saying, I really need this extra support.”
When you tune in, you’ll hear her get more into the physical side of this and how to handle and promote intimacy with your partner that feels good and is mutually desired.
About Sheina Schochet
Sheina Schochet, MA, LMHC is a mom of 2 girls, licensed therapist, and relationship coach for women struggling with relationships and life transitions, especially new moms dealing with the new dynamics in their relationship after baby.
She teaches them to work on solutions and challenge the thoughts and behaviors that keep them stuck, to feel more fulfilled and nurture a happier relationship and life.
To connect with Sheina: