Pregnancy and Childbirth
Sadly, research has shown that the odds of infidelity increase during pregnancy and after childbirth. While these are happy times for most couples, why is it so many people struggle during these times?
When a couple has their first baby, it has a profound effect on their relationship. I have seen the way in which becoming a parent affects each of them as individuals and as a couple depends largely on their culture, beliefs, and values.
Of all the Western industrialized countries, the United States provides the least support for family adjustment and development following the birth of child. Politicians tell us that government puts a high priority on family life, but that is clearly not the case.
The way that a man makes the transition to parenthood and how a baby changes his relationship to his wife is a critical turning point. The stress around this stage of development in the couple’s relationship usually begins during the pregnancy and continues into parenthood. Fortunately, marriage therapy can help with this transition.
How Newborns Affect the Marriage
Once the baby is born, the focus of the new mother’s attention is on the baby. Although this is part of the normal developmental process, it is easy for a man to feel neglected because of the marked decline in attention from his wife. Mothers become preoccupied with the baby’s needs, often to the exclusion of everyone and everything else, including their spouse.
Because most new fathers are completely unaware of this normal maternal preoccupation, they are often surprised and frustrated at how abandoned they feel. Old school psychology neglected to consider that we experience these types of developmental stages throughout our lives.
Help for New Mothers and Fathers
During pregnancy many partners begin to develop a bond with their child. Many share the joy of laying their hands on the mother’s abdomen and talking to the baby. This personal and private communication is very powerful as a prenatal bonding ritual.
Partners also need to ask themselves what kinds of support they think they will need at the birth. Some of the most helpful resources are other partners.
Pregnancy results in some changes in a couple’s sexual relationship. While most physical changes occur in the mother, partners are often known to have sympathy pains, and both partners will experience the need to emotionally adjust to many changes.
Counseling Helps The Transition
Numerous studies have found that a couples’ satisfaction with their marriage declines significantly after the first child is born. Sleepless nights and arguments over whose turn it is to change the diapers can take the romance out of a relationship.
The transition into parenthood seriously tests the bond of many couples. Fortunately, couples counseling can help you safeguard your relationship.
Adjusting to the physical changes resulting from pregnancy can be difficult for both partners. You may find it helpful to join a pregnancy support group or attend couples counseling.