Becoming new parents creates significant changes in the relationship between you and your partner. The experience of being a parent affects both partners and is usually a major event in the lives of most people. Adjusting to parenthood can be difficult and scary, but can also enrich your relationship and provide a source of strength and support.
As a couple you need to cope with the demands of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting as well as the changing relationship. It is important to communicate your feelings and fears throughout the experience for both parents.
The relationship during pregnancy
Both you and your partner will have a different response to the pregnancy and have different issues during this time. You will both be coping with the emotional and sexual changes that accompany pregnancy. As only one of you is physically experiencing the pregnancy, you will both be handling these changes differently and it’s necessary for you to both take the time to understand the other’s side of this dynamic. It can be difficult for your partner to completely understand the physical changes that take place and the emotions that play a part and it is important to express these feelings to your partner to help them to understand, and to include them in every step.
Additionally, the concern for the future becomes a priority as a parent-to-be as you are no longer two individuals in a relationship, but now planning for another individual that will depend entirely on both of you. It is important to discuss the fears and emotions that this causes and to understand that you may not be coping with these fears in the same way.
Dealing with the relationship when baby makes three
The arrival of your baby also brings about the birth of the family unit. Whether you choose to share the birthing experience or not, there are all sorts of thoughts and feelings that arise for both of you when the baby arrives. Try to take the time to talk about this with your partner, to share both of your sides of the experience. This is an important time to create the family bond in new families which will go a long way to creating a strong and supportive relationship during the parenting phase.
The early months after the birth of your baby are different for all new parents. For some, the transition into parenthood is easy, while others find it stressful and exhausting and can cause some distance between you. This can also affect the sexual relationship between you and your partner as the demands of parenting in the early months can affect the sexual needs and sense of sensuality. It’s crucial to discuss these feelings and be open about it to avoid misunderstanding and resentment.
Parenting with your partner
Parenting means sharing your time with a new member in the relationship. Many new parents have difficulty with the lack of personal time they have to share with their partner and can feel left out or uninvolved. It’s important to make sure that both partners have roles to play individually with the new baby, as well as together. Time together with your baby will allow you to create a bond between the three of you in addition to strengthening the relationship between you and your partner.
Exhaustion and stress can also affect both parents during this time. You and your partner now have additional responsibilities to fit in to your already busy schedules and it’s easy to become tired, stressed and resentful. Try to work out a schedule that works for both of you. Discuss both your roles in these early months to make sure that neither partner feels uninvolved or over-involved.
Communication is the key to maintaining your relationship with your partner from the time you find out you are expecting to the early months of coping with the new dynamic. Sharing your experiences and talking about both the joy and the doubts will help to strengthen your relationship. You are both feeling mixed emotions and it can help to feel less afraid or frustrated knowing that the other partner feels the same.
Once baby arrives, try to make time alone together as a couple to give you a chance to recharge your batteries and reconnect with your partner. Remember the birth of your child can significantly change the relationship between you and your partner, and it’s up to you how this change affects you.