Does your child literally come between you and your partner?According to Dr. John Gottman, two out of three couples experience a serious decline in the happiness of their relationship in the three years after their first baby arrives. Sounds scary, right? Bringing a baby into your relationship should bring you and your partner closer. Don't worry. If you know what experiences to expect in your relationship then you can make a plan to avoid these common pitfalls:
Sleep Deprivation. Sleep deprivation makes daily hassles more intense. In our relationships, we feel more emotionally out of control - we are more reactive, e.g. short fuse. This doesn't mean the relationship is bad. It just means you're tired and going through a tremendous transition. Make a plan in advance for how to get rest and be forgiving when you see your partner is hitting the end of his or her rope.
Intense Focus on Baby's Needs. Birthing moms often tend to take on all responsibility for meeting baby's needs. Non-birthing partner's who do not have the opportunity to frequently touch or hold the newborn miss out on the bonding hormone. They tend to feel left out and respond by withdrawing from their baby and working more. This cycle leaves both parents feeling isolated and alone. Before you bring baby home, plan how both parents will take responsibility and have bonding time with your new buddle.
Decrease in Sex Drives. Many birthing moms experience feelings of guilt and a sense that "something is wrong with me." Non-birthing partners often feel undesired by their mate. In turn, they question their own attractiveness and "turn off" or "turn away" their feelings of desire. For birthing moms, the decrease in sex drive is normal. Just make sure that you communicate to your partner some hope that it will in fact return. Let your partner know how you are feeling and how you are looking forward to having intimacy back. Read More: 14 Signs You're Awful At Sex
Shifting Roles. Partners may be so wrapped up in their own contributions that they do not see or acknowledge their partner's efforts. Even though both parents are working much harder, they both feel unappreciated. To combat drifting apart, start now by making it a point to let your partner know how their actions positively affect you. Do this daily to create a pattern of teamwork that will last when your new arrival comes home. Read More: 4 Non-Annoying Ways To Get Him To Do What You Want
Although nothing can fully prepare you for the transition of bringing a baby home, couples counseling can help. Couples with solid communication and conflict resolution skills weather this transition period more successfully than couples that struggle connecting with one another.
Written by Jennifer Chappell Marsh for YourTango.com.
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