Having a baby is such an exciting time in our lives. We have so many hopes, dreams and wishes for our expanding family. We buy the stroller, rig out the nursery, get our mat leave papers in order. We may prep our house by cooking and freezing meals, getting in extra stock supplies and look into the first boot camp that we can get into to get back in shape.
What we don’t take into account is how our relationship with our partner changes. Most of us think that we will be immune to the changes a baby brings. Most of us think that our relationship will also be immune to the expansion of our family. You won’t be, and your relationship won’t be.
If we have not been emotionally relating with our partner in our relationship, communication is often the first thing to go down the toilet when our new life emerges. The first few months of new parenthood is sheer survival for most of us. As time moves on, we feel like we are in the groove, but rarely do we check in with how we are feeling, coping or if we are relating well.
It is natural in all relationships to come together, grow apart and then grow together. What we don’t understand is that if we are unaware of how we relate to each other emotionally and we haven’t unpacked or even acknowledged our own gender based biases or roles, our ways of relating to each other change and can at times feel hard to come back from.
Non emotional relating becomes a slippery slope to not growing together. If we can’t unpack helpful and unhelpful expectations around what being a family looks like and feels like, we cannot emotionally relate to our partner. We all crave living a relational life. We are born to connect deeply with those we love. When we don’t understand this and the biological importance of being in a related, connected relationship, our physical and emotional health suffer.
Relationality is the cure to what ails us. Authentic intimacy with our partners is what we all need. The quality of our life depends on the quality of our relationships. The way we parent is affected by the depth of the relationship with our partners. We need to place the same emphasis on our relationships as we do on the preparation for a new baby.
We are forever changed by birth. Mothers and Fathers are also born with the arrival of a baby. We occupy a different space as a new parent. Our roles change in relation to our baby and to our partner. We need our partner more than ever when we become a family and in the absence of the village, it becomes far too easy to place all of our needs, expectations and wants on our partner. And that is not fair. We all need support in our new roles and to understand that relationship changes can be so very hard. Learning how to relate as new parents takes time, understanding and patience.
Reach out to us if you need help. Both Carol and Shannon are Certified Relationship Coaches with decades of help for families in this transition into parenthood. We are also Doulas and understand the walk through the changes that families experience in the journey to parenthood.
Shannon can be reached at email@example.com
Carol can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org