The first year after the birth of a child is a serious challenge for a couple. We found out from our experts exactly what the risks are and how to avoid them.
Photo by Josh Willink.
Waiting for the birth of the first child, we are morally preparing for many difficulties: sleepless nights, children’s caprices and diseases, chronic fatigue. But even the most far-sighted of us do not assume that the happiest event in the life of the couple often becomes the starting point of its collapse. Is it possible to keep the relationship if there are three of you?
Numerous studies confirm this paradoxical thesis: in the first year of a child’s life, satisfaction with marriage is significantly reduced. The statistics presented in a study by the University of Denver (2009) are staggering: 90% of couples say so. According to Psychology Today, this also applies to people whose pre-pregnancy relationships seemed good to them.
What happens to the couple after the birth of their first child? Psychologists highlight several important aspects, including social and cultural attitudes in society, the highest level of stress in the first months after childbirth, and gender differences in the behaviour of men and women during this period.
There is a huge change in the relationship between men and women at this time,” explains psychologist and founder of group training sessions for childbirth. Their roles are changing dramatically: they used to be lovers and now they are young parents. This transformation takes a lot of time.
If it is too difficult for one or both parents to change their habits, the child becomes a catalyst for conflict because it brings such a level of stress to life that the couple is faced with the question: Are we ready to include this third one in our relationship? Or do we want to pass him on to the nannies and grandmothers, continuing the relationship we had? Or do we realize that it is impossible to build a relationship anymore?
THE KEYS TO MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING
It is at this stress point that problems begin to emerge that can lead, if not to a breakdown in relations, then to a serious distance between partners. “The birth of a child, as a litmus test, reveals the unresolved problems in a couple that was even before birth.
– The first advice for future parents is to prepare seriously for the birth of the child, discussing all possible negative moments and risks. “Learn more about childbirth and the postnatal period, take courses together for pregnant women, read specialized literature.
The key to a mutual understanding is to give the partner the opportunity and time to realize his or her new role.
– The second key is letting one to relax. Physical difficulties and the hormonal surge seriously affect the emotional state of the young mother – psychologists often call it “altered,” implying that she may behave quite differently than before the birth of the child. Even the most balanced woman can become whiny and capricious overnight. Many mothers describe the first months after childbirth as a “black hole in the mind when you are not aware of your actions.”
– The third important step is to help yourself to recover. “It is very important to talk about recovery in the key of your body. Find some pleasant and interesting procedures in advance, stock up on contacts of lactation consultants and massage therapists. Plan how to organize yourself the opportunity to recover and at the same time be with the child. “This is a time when a woman has one big task – adjusting to the child. It is good if her partner can take a vacation in the first month after childbirth to get used to the new rhythms for two. Emotional recovery is directly related to the opportunity to share all of her experiences with family and friends or get their support in time.”
– The fourth tip is to be tolerant of your partner. The fact is that in a state of “unbearable” we address this feeling to the person who causes it. We shift the responsibility for our condition to them, although it arises simply because, at some point, our own fears and feelings are realized. “But it is necessary to understand the difference between “tolerate” and “be tolerant.” When a person is in pain, if he or she closes the eyes, it will become easier for a moment. But if the source of pain does not disappear, the body perishes.
The main key to keeping the family together is to strive for a balance between parenthood and marriage.
Finally, the key to keeping the family together is to strive for a balance between parenthood and marriage. “Despite the fact that you have become a father and mother, we must not forget that you are also spouses, friends, lovers, just close people. This is a separate and important task – to give each other time and emotion. Make it a tradition to leave a child with a grandmother or nanny once a week and spend at least a couple of hours together.
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