A staggering 67% of all couples experiencing the transition to parenthood will see the first signs of relationship unhappiness at the 6-month stage of bringing a baby home for women, and the 9-month stage for men! This is so hard to comprehend, when that time of your life should be filled with wonder, happiness & hope – not conflict, despair & disintegration!
But luckily for us, Dr John Gottman from the Gottman Institute has studied countless couples from the inception of their relationship, through to conception of their first baby, & continued through the entire transition to parenthood, & what he found was not only the clear markers for this relationship decline, but more importantly, some clear solutions.
Using the strategies in this ‘Bringing Baby Home’ video program, you will have a positive outlook to reversing the above trends, and not only fall in love – but STAY in love with your partner.
Here is a quick overview of 5 common stumbling blocks that you may be likely to experience when you have your first baby & beyond & their prospective solutions:
- Letting health & wellbeing slip slide away – along with intimacy!
Let me just touch on this subject here, with the promise to go into much more detail in the workshop. Not only does having a baby contribute to an immense psychological shift in both mum & dad, but bringing a new baby home also reeks total havoc on the physical well-being of you both! And that goes double for mum!!! Not only are you contending with the mental & physical exhaustion of your new experience together, your diet may also be feeling the effects of this whole new world. Weight gain is commonly noticed. And if that wasn’t enough, mums also contend with the physical changes birthing has on your body such as breast feeding, tummy changes, vaginal changes, period changes … in fact … EVERYTHING seems to change! Let’s face it, when you don’t feel good about the way you feel – you certainly don’t want anyone else feeling you!!!! Case closed.
Solution – Sleep, exercise, food & intimacy! Firstly, you need to realise that sleep is not a choice, it’s a necessity. We help you to work out a plan so you BOTH get enough sleep – CONSISTENTLY. You will learn to discuss strategies that protect one another from the lack of sleep that will plague your mental & physical well-being. Do not overlook the importance of this contingency. It is VITAL to the total health of both your body & your relationship! Next is exercise, or should I say – movement! This is something you can do together. Fresh air & sunshine is just as important as the endorphins that moving releases, and it’s these endorphins that boost your mood & can fight off the symptoms of depression. WINNER! And we are not talking about training for the Boston Marathon here. A half hour walk is all that is needed to get the blood flowing. Our 3rd solution is diet. Keep it real. Fresh foods that are nutrient dense that not only feed the body but feed the soul. Food is our fuel, & when we fill up on easy, ready-made, time saving dinners, we find that many of them are also high in sugars, sodium, preservatives, trans fats & empty calories. So, while they are convenient time wise, they are a bad fuel in your healing bodies. Good nutrition balances your EVERYTHING! And finally – intimacy. This is everyone’s favourite chapter. And by intimacy, I don’t only mean SEX! I mean it is IMPERITIVE to maintain a sense of emotional, spiritual & conversational intimacy with one another as a couple while you are on this new journey together. When intimacy withdraws from your relationship, your relationship withdraws from connectivity. You will learn different ways to stay close & connected.
- Navigating the enormity of how a baby changes your individual identities!
It is often said that when you have a baby – you become a family! Truth be told, as a couple, you were already a family, however, becoming a parent creates a whole new dimension on the way you think, feel & what you give your attention to. Your entire belief system changes along with your values & this is the first indication of you guys falling into more traditional roles than you have probably been used to as a couple. So many couples do not realise that this first transition can be cataclysmic to your future relationship. You got together as a couple under the guise of one set of values, & now they appear to be changing right in front of your very eyes, & sometimes your duel paths seem to go not only go in different directions – but entirely opposite directions.
Solution – We teach you how to chat, converse, discuss & disclose with each other what being a ‘family’ means to you. How you are feeling about your change in values & your new roles as parents. We talk about how your own parents have had an influence on these values & what behaviours you would like to emulate from your own childhood, & which ones you don’t want duplicated into your own family. We also show you how to appreciate your partners’ views, even though they may be entirely different to yours, & how you can compromise to honour each other’s belief system!
- Ignoring the tensions your new baby is causing by not talking about how you are feeling!
Having a baby will see you lose 700 hours of sleep in the first year alone. And sleep deprivation can have a profound effect on your brain & your total cognitive function as a human being! Not only that, but it is one of the leading causes of clinical & psychological depression in otherwise normal, healthy individuals! When you are tired, you often lack the basic self-care that used to be your priority before baby! And on top of this lack of sleep, lets add the inevitable decline in intimacy (as mentioned in point 1), a massive change in spending habits of both time together as a couple AND money. You may become hypersensitive towards all the new choices you now must make. Breast feeding vs bottle feeding? Cloth nappies vs disposable? Which car seats have the Standards Safety rating? The list of new stressors is endless, but so many couples let these worries mount up without finding a way to talk about the insecurities they may have faced for the day. You know the old saying – sometimes the bucket just overflows!
Solution –We give you real solutions to download & discuss your stresses with each other, how to understand what your partner is feeling, their concerns, & then provide some amazing strategies to empathise with them without always trying to offer a solution to ‘fix’ the problem. Sometimes we just want to be heard! And the big focus here is to also understand that what you are going through is just a phase – not the permanent new normal! Just a temporary episode that too – shall pass!
- Dads withdrawing from the baby & the family unit!
Ah – the secret society of women & their best intentions. Whilst the support network women offer each other can be admirable to say the least, this mummy-culture can see first time dads unintentionally sidelined from the game and often are sent to sit on the bench completely. Sometimes this can lead to the dads feeling incapable & unappreciated. So, with nowhere to turn & no one to talk to, dads will voluntarily withdraw even further to regain a sense of control from being unceremoniously evicted from their own family. Often dad will throw his unrequited energy into more work, which adds a further resentment on the relationship & also a lack of bonding with your baby. Either way, father withdrawal can initiate a detrimental cycle of events that will lead to a breakdown of your relationship & even more so, a breakdown in the essential connection that dad needs to make with his baby to fuel his development!
Solution –Dads don’t need to be reminded on how to support the baby’s head EVERYTIME he picks him up. Dad has a pretty good handle on the basic care of his baby & trust me, he isn’t going to do anything to hurt him! Dads also do not babysit. A dad co-parents! And he can do so quite effectively without mum having to go into a sheer panic when she leaves the 2 of them at home while she ducks up the street to get a few things. We will implement some strategies & initiate conversation that will help you both define your roles. And speaking of these gender specific roles, it is so normal for mums & dads to parent in completely different ways. AND YOUR BABY NEEDS THESE DIFFERENCES for his mental & physical development. Mums style of play is more educational & emotional, while dads offer a more tactile sense of play that is VITAL to baby’s needs. We have an amazing chapter on playing with your baby, and how this conditions his development, as well as another chapter of the importance of fathers & the role they play on your baby’s personality growth.
- Baby Blues & Post-Partum Depression.
News flash! Dads can get the baby blues too. In fact, approx. 85% of new mums and 30% of new dads experience this hormonal phenomenon. Team this up with lack of good food, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, increased stress & shock – it is any wonder your system goes into a bit of overdrive & this can occur anytime between 3 days & 3 weeks after baby is born. Common symptoms are feeling teary, tired, emotional & anxious & none of these are conducive to a positive first month home with your baby.
Solution – We focus on some wonderful strategies that help you BOTH through this inevitable time and more importantly, help to reduce any risk of the blues turning into post-partum depression. We even go into details on how research has discovered what effects depression in a parent can have on your baby with some truly surprising results. Research also tells us that the statistics of new mums developing the baby blues reduce from 67% to 23% when undertaking this exact course.
Nora Ephron once said that having a baby is like a grenade going off in your marriage – once the dust settles – nothing is ever the same. And it won’t be for you either. However, you can make a choice to protect your relationship right now. Don’t play Russian Roulette with your marriage by ‘hoping’ that your initial love will be enough to survive this transition in front of you. Remember nearly 70% of couples are affected negatively when baby comes home. 7 in 10! Go to www.relationshipafterbaby.com to find out the solution to being one of the 3 in 10 that STRIVE!!!