Having a new baby is a life changing event. It’s also a relationship changing event. Despite all the sweet Instagram moments captured, it is reported that more than 60% of couples report a significant loss of satisfaction in their relationship post-baby. Couples report fighting more and feeling alone. Exhaustion takes over, leaving individuals wondering if they will survive this new season. If this describes you, the good news is you are not alone and there are tools you can utilize to help buoy your relationship through this new transition to parenthood.
An exhaustive study of new parents reveals a 6-step process for creating a healthy family unit:
1 – Realize all new parents are in the same situation. It’s overwhelming and exhausting for every new parent. The key is HOW a couple navigates the reality of their new uncharted world that will determine whether it is a joyous season or one that is merely survived.
2 – Enjoy your baby. All babies have overwhelming needs and change how daily life functions. Knowing more about the developmental needs of the baby and how your relationship can hinder or help your baby is important. Learn to not just take care of the baby, but to enjoy meeting their needs.
3 – Manage the conflict. Tired parents become cranky parents. Learn to de-escalate your frustrations so you can be heard and understood. Key tip of the day: how you start a fight will typically determine how the fight will end. Harsh beginnings make for difficult endings.
4 – Build a friendship and rekindle your sex life with your partner. It is easy to focus on the needs of the baby and the jobs that provide for the growing family but forget about the couple that is responsible for holding it all together. Be intentional about date nights, having fun together and remember why this is the person you want a family with.
5 – Fathers are important. An engaged, emotionally present dad is a sexy mate. Often moms read the parenting books and watch the videos. Dads might need to invest in some parenting tools independently of their partner to bolster their confidence.
6 – Work together for the future. Knowing where your family is headed in the future is one of the key factors in surviving the hardship of a new family.
If your relationship is struggling after starting a family, consider making an appointment with one of our therapists that specialize in helping couples navigate changes.