How a New Baby Can Affect the Parents' Relationship

Image for new baby article Bringing home your new bundle of joy can be an exciting time, but it is also the beginning of a changed dynamic in the household. The transition from couple to family can challenge even the strongest relationship—what can you do to weather this transformation? Here are some questions, answers, and topics for discussion to help you plan for this remarkable change.

What Unique Feelings Might a New Mom Experience?

It’s important to remember that giving birth is a physically strenuous and emotionally charged experience. Take someone who’s been through this kind of exhilarating-yet-exhausting experience, throw in some postpartum pain, hand her a fragile new life that she must now learn to take care of on very little sleep, and then wallop her with a major hormone shift—and you’ve got a new mother.

What Unique Feelings Might a New Dad Experience?

Although the physical and hormonal aspects of having given birth are not part of the equation for the new dad, the emotional aspects can be very powerful. He, too, must adjust to new responsibility. He’s probably also just witnessed the baby’s birth, and watched his partner bear great pain in her efforts to deliver their child.Fathers may see how difficult it can be to watch the woman they love experience the pain and work of childbirth, with little ability to relieve her pain or help share the extraordinary effort of labor and delivery. Furthermore, mothers often become understandably wrapped up in the tiny being they’ve been carrying for the previous 40 weeks, leaving the father to feel like the proverbial “third wheel,” jealous of the baby’s demands on the mother’s attention.

How Will Life Be Different?

More accurately—how won’t it be different? Caring for a new baby means 24-hour vigilance to the needs of a tiny but vocal being. Even if you have had a demanding job in the past, you probably didn’t have to be on-call for your boss 24-7, literally. With a new baby in the house, you are on duty around the clock. This can be truly exhausting, both physically and emotionally.Some couples quickly find a way to tag-team each other, taking turns with night shifts, and helping each other find times to nap when possible during the day. Unfortunately, other couples find themselves in competition with each other for “time-off.”

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