Many couples feel a loss of connection once baby arrives, often taking them by surprise. Research has consistently shown that relationship satisfaction decreases after the birth of a child, and may continue to dip for a few months or even a few years. There are many contributing factors, especially for couples who have been together longer and are used to their dynamic being a certain way.
Things to look out for:
Extreme focus on the child-mother dynamic / excluding partners.
Getting caught up in that ‘you don’t know what it’s like for me all day’ cycle of disconnection.
The working partner staying late at work to actively avoid the at-home partner.
Either partner being rigid / critical / overly controlling.
Not allowing the working partner to build confidence in infant caretaking.
Seeing everything as a competition and keeping score.
Things to consider:
Impact of sleep deprivation on both partners.
The all day away from home / missing the baby developmental experience versus being home all day with baby.
Identify shifts for the stay at home partner versus the partner at work.
The partner at home may have a higher level of worry for the baby versus the partner at work.
Putting the relationship with your partner on hold for longer than the first few months.
How to reconnect:
Accept this shift in the relationship as temporary.
Use direct communication to ask for what you need.
Discuss how to negotiate this relationship change in a positive way, ideally before the baby arrives.
Discuss role changes and be flexible with household responsibilities shifts.
Consciously try to imagine what it’s like for the other person all day.
Take time to understand differences in parenting styles.
Spend time together connecting as a couple every day, even if brief.
Find ways to maintain intimacy.
Change is inevitable when you have a new baby. Above everything, remember you have the same shared goal: to be parents together and have this little family.