Pregnancy and parenting a newborn are challenging for couples of all kinds, and that’s a fact. You may feel you and your partner have the strongest bond imaginable. That this wonderful baby you’ve made together is an expression of your beautiful love and, with this type of partnership, you’re sure to avoid the relationship woes that you’ve heard about others having.
Although there are exceptions to every rule, it’s almost a guarantee that, no matter how solid your relationship is, you and your partner will have issues as you move through 9 months of pregnancy and become new parents.
For some it begins as soon as the pregnancy test is positive. For others, it’s the first few months of living with a newborn that are the most challenging. However it comes about, your relationship will be challenged. It simply has to.
And it’s not just first time parents either. Each new baby creates change within the family unit, and relationships must transform and adjust as a result.
To help you prepare for the challenges a new baby can bring, here are 4 helpful tips from parents and relationship experts.
1. Understand that men and women adjust to pregnancy and parenting in different ways.
As Stacie Cockrell, coauthor of Babyproofing Your Marriage shares, “Men bond with baby on a different timetable than women. For moms, it starts in pregnancy, and for men, it’s usually later, so tensions can start brewing even before baby comes.”
But, this difference is natural, so don’t get upset with your partner. Talk about it openly so you can see where the other is coming from.
2. Be open to your new lives as parents.
Your new baby will change your life, and your partner’s. It is also going to change the way you interact as a couple. Stacie Cockrell writes “Understand and talk about the fact that you’re going to have less time for yourselves once baby arrives. Plan on giving each other breaks so you both have a chance to recharge.” When you’re supporting each other, the transition to your new lives as parents will be easier.
3. Get away together.
As this article recommends, “Plan a romantic getaway (or two) before baby makes a trip for two a lot trickier”. It doesn’t have to be fancy, or romantic (or it can be!). It just needs to be a place for the two of you, away from work, family, and friends where you can reconnect before the baby arrives.
4. Hire a Doula.
If you’re able, hiring a Doula for pregnancy as well after the birth of your baby can provide much needed help and advice to both parents. Research shows “Parents who receive post partum support feel more secure and cared for, Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics….have greater self-confidence” and more.
In addition to all of these great tips, overall, the way to weather the stress associated with welcoming a new baby, or any other stress that affects your relationship, is clear communication. When you and your partner know how one another is feeling, and can listen openly to each other, you can feel more like a team. Then you’ll be ready to conquer the many challenges of pregnancy and welcoming a new baby head on, together.