For many expecting couples, pregnancy can be an amazing, bonding chapter in relationships, a time when: We bask in the glow of what we love most about each other, connect in anticipation of our baby’s arrival, and vow to not let what happened to other couples who had kids—bickering, disconnection intimacy issues—happen to us.
So a few years ago, a couple was expecting and asked if anyone had advice for first time parents. And lots of experienced moms and dads chimed in. There was some AMAZING ADVICE given and I wanted to share that advice with you because I see so many first time parents struggle in the beginning for different reasons. I think when you hear from other parents who have been there, done that... it can help to normalize parenthood.
Life is full of changes, tangible shifts in our experiences and circumstances. Some are minor (e.g., waking in the morning), others more significant (e.g., having a baby, changing careers).
According to change-‐expert William Bridges, change is an action or event—e.g., becoming a parent—and transition is the “inner reorientation and self-‐definition that you have to go through in order to incorporate...changes in your life.” For a change to succeed—even a change we’ve chosen—and for us to fully integrate and embrace it, we need to transition from what-‐ was to what-‐is and what-‐will-‐be, from the past to our new life-‐chapter.
I’m sitting at a café and a pregnant woman and her husband just walked in. No biggie, right? Except, since I started working with expecting & new parents, whenever I see a pregnant couple, my brain starts spinning with post-baby research like…Conflicts skyrocket after birth; 90% of couples report a drop in relationship satisfaction after their first child; perpetual issues appear more frequently post-birth.
I have to admit, I feel daunted when I share this info with expecting couples. Why? Because no matter how many examples of stressed relationships we witness among new parents we know, many of us remain convinced we’ll avoid those challenges with our spouses.
As a parent to a preschooler, one of my pet peeves has been teaching my daughter to say: “Thank you.” I mean no disrespect to “please,” “excuse me,” or “bless you,” all of which I’ve also espoused. But expressing thanks strikes me as the foundation of politeness and a key to strong relationships with others.
A recent study from the University of Carolina at Wilmington affirms the power of gratitude, but has me reconsidering my assumptions about expressing it. Relationship satisfaction and a spouse’s feelings of gratitude are linked. Our spouse’s emotional state of thankfulness impacts us more than their words.
A couple of months ago, I wrote a piece for PlaningFamily.com entitled, “Mood Swings & Relationship Swings During Pregnancy.” My post focuses on helping couples manage the relationship impact of pregnancy mood swings.
These days, my wife and I are all too aware that hormonal mood swings also show-up postpartum. After all, her body has had to adjust rapidly from the hormonal fluctuations of gestation to the demands of lactation. (BTW, our son is 1-month old today!) Beyond J’s hormones, other factors impact both of our emotions, and affect the mood in our home:...
What's the Most Important Relationship-Issue for New Parents? No, Not Sex!
If there’s one postpartum relationship topic that’s addressed in the media with some regularity, it’s sex: Are you getting any? Do you both want it? There’s no doubt about it: Sex is important to relationship satisfaction.
But the more I talk to new parents, and the more I learn about the impact of newborns on relationships, the more convinced I become that, in focusing on sex, we’ve downplayed a far more important postpartum priority:...
For decades, we’ve taken it for granted that husbands be present in labor and delivery, or in C-section surgery suites, when their wives give birth. Many of us believe that it’s important for dads to support delivering moms during childbirth, and that their efforts to do so, and to witness the birth of their babies, offers affirmation of the centrality of fatherhood to their lives and families.