The effect of a newborn in a relationship can be an amazing experience for any new parents and it is a very long journey from trying to have a baby or finding out your pregnant right through to the days after child birth and the every day interactions with a new born.
At Safe Place Therapy we get many new parents come to us stressed out saying ‘i didn’t think it would be this hard’ or ‘everyone else makes it look easy’. There are soo many stressors around having a baby and the impact this has on you and your partner’s relationship.
The effect of a newborn in a relationship on its different stages
For some people trying to have a baby is a horrible experience as sex can turn into this dry, almost dreaded task of trying to become pregnant that often makes both partner feel disconnected from the other person.
Its like the fun and pleasure of sex has gone and you both feel used for your ‘parts’ to get pregnant. There is also other issues regarding other forms of having a baby whether it be IVF, surrogacy or another form of pregnancy.
In an effort to keep trying there is usually some breakdown in communication or solely focusing on having a baby and not enjoying each others company.
Yes we need to say the word… Hormones. It is a biological process happening for the mother of a child and yes things can get heated for many different reasons. Both partners can worry if there are health issues or certain tests that are unclear, causing fear and disconnection between mum and dad.
With all the appointments that you need to attend from birth classes to scans to midwife check ins there is simply an overwhelming pressure to get things right and to ensure the baby is growing well.
The BirthThe birth itself can be a beautiful experience or actually traumatizing if there are complications experienced. As there is very little control in the process tensions can rise making it difficult to come together when the baby arrives.
The days, weeks and months after
Here comes the ‘shoulds’ in being a mum and a dad. There are so many ‘should’ that mum and dad think about in terms of what they should be doing for the baby.
Whether it be to breastfeed, use cloth nappies, engagement from grandparents and families to the expectation on mum or dad to stay home. The list goes on and on here and the couples can feel a sense of being overwhelmed.
This is normal and the important thing is to find your rhythm and works for you and your baby. Some babies are great with sleep and feeding and others are just not.
We need to break down the shoulds and recognize what is really important for you as parents. Another key aspect is having other people around you who have shared the experience to talk through the problems your facing to normalize thoughts and feelings.
Communicating at this timeThis missing key is talking about feelings. Usually one person hides their feelings and the other person feels isolated and alone in what is going on. Sometimes it is about putting the baby aside (not literally) and talking through and being partners for a few minutes.
At the end of the day your baby needs both partners to be on the same page and supportive of each other. There is research out there that suggest that babies can sense emotion and distress form a very early age. What distress are you putting out there to your baby and how are you coping?
The game planWhat would it be like to have a couples hours off from seeing the baby? is it possible to find a babysitter you trust to have time with your partner? What do you both need on a stressful day? Talking these things through can inform what happens when one or both of you need some tools to reduce stress.
How are you and your partner traveling now that you are parents? Take a look at our relationship information, and if its time to reach out for support our team is ready to work with you.