Having a baby and going from a couple to a family has a huge impact on your relationship. The balance can shift, there are more demands on your time and you may have different ideas on parenting. And on top of this you can be shattered and lacking in confidence as you adjust to life with your new responsibilities – more bickering and competitive tiredness can become the norm.
It can be worth thinking about how you may need to adapt to being parents and where and why any new pressures on your relationship can come from so I have asked Newcastle relationship counsellor Armele Philpotts to provide some ideas for babyproofing your relationship…
Babyproof your relationship…before the birth
By Armele Philpotts, Relationship Counsellor and Coach, with thanks to Elizabeth Martyn
‘The greatest thing you can do for your children, is love your partner’ . Steven Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families
Imagine someone moved in with you, and your partner fell deeply in love with them?
To make things even worse this person screamed every 3 hours day and night, demanded food and took your hard earned money?
Children are both the best and hardest challenge for a couple, they bring joy and love as well as frustration, anxiety and test parents to their limits. Amidst all this it’s easy to lose track of what brought them here in the first place, your relationship. Whether you chose to become pregnant or not, parenthood is a shared adventure, and it’s a good idea to prepare for it together as much as you can now, while you have the time and energy to devote to it.
Take time out to talk about your expectations and assumptions about how things might change in your lives, you may be surprised! Above all practice listening, listen and listen some more!
Some things to think and talk about might be: sex, lifestyle, holidays, time together, wider family contact, time for intimacy, how you manage money, work, finding support outside your couple, childcare, any worries about the birth and becoming a parent you might have. What might you have to give up and what do you hope to gain by becoming parents? What are your individual and couple goals and how will having a child affect them in the coming years? What changes can you manage before the birth and what needs to be put off?
If you find talking about these issues difficult you can seek support from a specialist relationship counsellor who will help you, either as a couple or on your own, to prepare for the changes ahead.