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Becoming a parent - And Baby Makes Three!

Tags: Becoming a parent, new baby, understanding children, expectations, parenthood, relationship advice & support, happiness

Having a baby is usually a happy event but inevitably it changes things between you as a couple. Each of you may feel tested to the limit and have problems adjusting to your new life together. And while you may be overjoyed at having your new baby, you could find all the new demands put an enormous strain on your relationship. 

Research shows that many couples feel less satisfied with their relationship after a baby, at least in the short-term. This isn't surprising, since both of you are probably tired, anxious and emotional. You may be worried about not having enough money, the baby’s health, returning to work. Becoming a parent can also trigger memories, some of which can be upsetting. It often helps to try and understand both your own background experiences and your partner’s so you know what you can expect of each other.

Understanding each other’s feelings and expectations can help you to be more realistic and prepared for the ups and downs of parenthood.

A new baby means extra work and less time for each other. It can be difficult to find time alone to just talk and support each other, or to go out as a couple. Sometimes one of you (often the father) may feel left out; the strong bond between a mother and her baby can feel like a threat to the relationship. The 'partner' role is squeezed out to make room for the 'parent' role much faster for women than for men and this can lead to feelings of jealousy.

However mothers may also feel left out once the baby is a little older and the mother-baby relationship is not so intense.

A baby will undoubtedly bring a lot of happiness to your lives - but there are changes to be made, and your relationship is never quite the same again. Lack of sleep can make mountains out of molehills and major difficulties can seem impossible to resolve. When couples are permanently tired it's easy to react badly to each other or the baby. Feeling drained or physically under the weather is bound to make you feel vulnerable and emotional. However talking honestly to each other about feelings helps – it is often just about making time to give each other a bit of support and affection. If you both understand that this is only temporary, it will be much easier to cope.

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