Parenting...is it a bundle of joy?
Marriage is a challenge in itself, as you learn to share your life with another person.
Then along comes baby and life as you know is forever different. With baby comes a whole range of interesting behavioural changes and attitude adjustments required by both you as a new mum and dad.
Talking about some of these issues prior to having a child can help. The problem is that many of the challenges couples face don’t become evident until after the baby has arrived.
By then reality has really taken hold of your life as new parents and you begin to fully appreciate what may lie ahead.
"For many couples the upheaval is dramatic."
What is the main issue to cope with?
While the reasons for this are varied, the main culprit is the loss of intimacy in the months following baby’s arrival.
Intimacy that you once enjoyed as a couple is now "put on the back burner", becoming lost, or a distant memory, even forgotten about altogether. It is almost entirely due to that huge load of responsibility that we commonly refer to as 'parenting’.
There are many factors that affect a marriage which come into play once a baby has arrived and each one by itself can have a huge impact on the level of intimacy between new parents.
For new Mums;
- Women have to struggle with
- Changes to the body that childbirth has caused.
- Financial stress brought about by the loss of one income, or
- Lack of support
- Interference by well meaning family members
- Living condition may not be able to accommodate another person.
For New Dads;
- Typically feels the responsibility of becoming the main 'provider’
- Begins to work longer hours to earn more money
- Work harder to ensure security of employment.
New parents can become disconnected.
New parents often feel stripped back to their bare selves and they question what really is important in life, who they are and where are they going in their lives.
The impact on new parent’s lives brought about by the new baby are typically absorbed by they couple as they become caught up with the 'treadmill of life’.
Couples often don’t talk about how they are being affected because they feel little can be done to change their circumstances... so they simply 'suck it up’.
Parenting seems to have a natural way of causing each person to begin to live in separate worlds to each other, and for all the right reasons. Ultimately, this is where the problems begin to get a hold in the marriage as neither person talks about the matters they are grappling with.
Their worlds begin to create separateness between them and it can feel impossible to prevent it from happening.
How to prevent the disconnection?
Working on communication skills is the best way to ensure issues don’t become major problems. Communication helps reduce disconnection.
- Making sure each person feels valued and listened to. This will create a positive environment for the future.
- Couples need to talk about the changes that are occurring to them. Such as the emotional and physical problems they are experiencing, about their environmental concerns such as housing, extended family and finances.
- A strong recommendation is for both partners to always, always, always be reading books or articles on relationships and or personal development combined with discussing the points of interest with each other.
This provides an exposure to knowledge, words and stories about other couples experiences that will help to talk more openly about their challenges.
- An important action would be to attend marriage education classes as a couple or attend marriage counselling in order to gain knowledge and skills necessary to sustain a loving marriage and family.
Copyright Humaneed 2013