Having a baby?
Are you having a baby? Making the transition to parenthood for the first or subsequent time can be an exciting and hopeful time. Whether it is your first, second, third or maybe fourth baby, an adjustment period will follow.
Having your first baby is not only the birth of a baby but also the birth of new parents. Certainly, for most couples, it is a time of hope, anticipation and excitement. Expectant parents attend birth classes and breastfeeding seminars and gather information about sleep. Furthermore, sometimes they consult with sleep consultants and attend parenting classes.
One of the secrets to successfully navigating the transition to parenthood is to keep your relationship strong. Have you ever thought about what you can do to protect your relationship when starting a family?
Effects on your relationship of having a baby
Research shows that up to two-thirds of couples experience a decline in their relationship satisfaction and happiness levels after the birth of a child. There are many factors that contribute to this decline in happiness. For example sleep deprivation, feelings of overwhelm and mental health concerns. As a result when couples are exploring their new roles as parents misunderstandings and sometimes conflict can follow. It is normal for parents to expect to feel elated and excited after the birth of their child. However, this isn’t always a new parent’s actual experience.
Of course, along with potential challenges, there is space for amazing and rewarding experiences. Experiences like bonding with your baby and watching your partner bond with your baby. Furthermore, you can enjoy the joy your baby brings to your wider family and community. This time also has the potential to bring you closer together as a family. However having a strong relationship, to begin with, will increase the chances of a better outcome. The transition to parenthood involves the evolution of a couple (2 people) to a family (3 people) with subsequent children increasing these numbers. Consequently, having a baby is a time of significant adjustment.
Parent’s Relationship Challenges
Challenges that can put a strain on new parent’s relationships are:
• lack of sleep
• new roles within the family
• heightened emotions
• worries around baby feeding
• worries around baby sleeping
• less time to focus on each other
• managing extended family and friends visiting
• changes to pets lives
• change in intimacy levels
• feeding difficulties
• fear of labour
• financial challenges
What can you do?
The secret to successfully managing the transition is to keep your relationship strong. Counselling before becoming parents can give couples strategies and parenting tools. In addition, can help identify areas of your relationship that need improving. At the same time also focusing and building upon what you do successfully as a couple.
Before baby comes can be a good time to have discussions around expectations you have of your partner, managing extended family and friends and changes in roles among other things. Agreeing on these things before the baby comes along can be beneficial to your relationship and to your baby. Once lack of sleep and potential stresses of having a baby are present it can be harder to have these conversations productively. Engaging in counselling before having your baby can help keep your relationship strong whilst undertaking this significant life transition.
Bringing Baby Home Program
Tara from Tide Counselling is a qualified Bringing Baby Home Educator. Bringing Baby Home is a scientifically proven workshop parents can attend to learn skills to better manage the transition to parenthood. The Gottman Institute developed the Bringing baby home program. This program is based on decades of research. Couples can attend this training on a one on one basis or in a group setting. To enquire click here. Likewise to learn more about the Bringing Baby Home program click here. As Dr John Gottman says “The greatest gift you can give your child is a strong relationship between the two of you”.
In the Bringing Baby Home workshop you and your partner will learn how to:
• Strengthen your friendship
• Increase intimacy and affection
• Work through conflict with greater ease
• Maintain relationship satisfaction
• Create positive baby-parent interactions
• Ensure quality involvement for both parents
• Develop successful co-parenting strategies
• Reduce the incidence and severity of postpartum mood disorders