How a baby changed my relationship with my partner.

How a baby changed my relationship with my partner.

The transition into motherhood is challenging! There is rarely any mention of all the changes that occur after arrival of your baby!

The first year postpartum is the most difficult for marriages and partnerships. There are significant shifts in relationships at home that require understanding and patience. When there is inadequate social support, then postpartum relationship conflict is one of the contributing risk factors of postpartum depression or anxiety.

Common postpartum challenges:

Gender roles become more traditional once baby enters into the relationship. There is an additional 30-50 hours of extra “work” for parents and it is common for mothers to take on more of the responsibilities than their partners…regardless of whether they are employed outside of the home.

There is less uninterrupted couple-time for communicating.

There is a reduction in disposable income due to the “baby expenses.” This may result in fewer leisure activities.

Intimacy and frequency of intercourse changes for weeks or months following baby’s arrival. For mothers, there are common physical discomforts related to childbirth. Most couples are exhausted from changes in their sleep routine. Women who struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety may experience lowered libido.

Having a baby is HARD on a relationship! When postpartum depression and anxiety is added to the transition into parenthood, then maintaining connectedness becomes even harder.

In therapy, we have noticed these common themes:

Mothers are good at hiding their true emotions. Often times, partners are unaware of the mother’s struggles.

Most mothers expect (or want) their partners to know what to do to support them.

Many mothers are hesitant to ask for help.

Mothers will become withdrawn or pull away from their partner or friends when feeling depressed or anxious.

Partners expect mother to be happy, therefore they are confused when mothers become depressed or anxious.

 

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