Let’s talk about something hard. I want to talk about the stress that having a baby can put on a relationship. With the season of having babies comes great joy, but it can also bring tension between the parents. A new baby means less sleep and more emotions.
Never before has there been a time when both you and your partner were so invested in everything going right… and what feels right to each of you may be different. This time brings up all of the deep stuff that comes with our upbringing. It’s likely that you and your partner won’t see everything the same. Sometimes it is a difference in parenting approaches. Sometimes it is insecurity about the changes in where you each fit in this new dynamic. Sometimes it is about money: Who will make it? What does it get spent on? Will there ever be enough of it? Maybe it is a question of who will do the hands on parenting. Is it a shared equal job or is it divided differently?
I am not trying to scare anyone. I just think that it is good to know that bringing this little person into your relationship shakes things up…and that it is normal! Growth is a big part of parenting. Being ready for it helps.
What can you do to ease your way through?
- Try to keep the lines of communication open. Talk to each other, a lot. If the emotions are running too hot to talk, write letters to each other. Remember also to take time to talk about something other than the baby (work, the things you plan to do together, your favorite tv shows).
- Touch each other, even when you are tired or annoyed with each other. Touch helps you feel connected. Maybe you are not ready for sex. Then take that slow, but hold hands, rub each other’s shoulders, lean into each other.
- Remember that you did this together. You are in this together. Be a couple, not just parents.
- Support each other in finding your own way of doing things.
- Get help the first few weeks. You may need help with the house, help with older siblings, and even help with the baby.
- If things get bad, or if things feel too big to fix on your own, reach out for help. It is okay to check in with a counselor if you need support in finding your way together.