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Relationship Changes After Baby: How Relationship Therapy Can Help


Parents with young baby

Change is Hard, Relationship Therapy Can Help


Having a baby comes with many life changes, including within your relationship. When parents are tasked with caring for a newborn, they may feel overwhelmed and disconnected from one another. Moms and dads often put their own needs aside to care for their little one. This can make it challenging to carve out time to spend with each other. At times resentment may build as each member of the family learns their new role. Parents must negotiate and learn to work together to care for the family and household.

 

Relationship therapy can support couples in learning to communicate effectively with each other so they can move forward with confidence. Growing a family is a major change that impacts every area of a relationship. It offers an opportunity for couples to increase emotional intimacy and work toward common goals. It is normal and expected to experience some turbulence along the way. The key is getting the right type of support.

 

What Causes Relationship Changes After Having a Baby

 

One of the major contributors to couples having difficulty in their relationship after having a baby is sleep deprivation and exhaustion. Caring for a baby requires parents to be available around the clock. Tension and stress are likely to build when parents are not getting enough sleep. Sleep is a basic need that greatly impacts mental health and overall wellbeing. Not being able to rest and have down time can lead to loneliness and isolation.


In addition to sleep challenges, many parents find it difficult to equally distribute the mental load that comes with family life. If the balance is off, this typically leads to resentment and breakdown of communication. The good news is, there are strategies that can help couples discuss the mental load and work toward sharing it.

 

How To Improve Your Relationship After Baby

 

Reconnecting with your partner may feel like an impossible feat after having a baby, but it is possible. Working with a relationship therapist can help you and your partner learn new strategies to increase connection. Many parents who access relationship therapy work on communication skills, boundary setting, increasing emotional intimacy, conflict resolution, and more. A relationship therapist can help both parents communicate their needs to one another, so each person feels seen.

 

It is important to recognize the major life change that has occurred for both parents. The changes may not look the same for moms and dads, but they are significant. Maintaining a relationship during change requires intentionality. By prioritizing your relationship in this difficult season, you are prioritizing your whole family. It may take time to rebuild connection, but the result is well worth the wait. Sharing household duties, child rearing responsibilities, and asking for help from others are some strategies you can use to share the mental load with your partner. Things are not the same as they used to be, but together you can settle into a new routine and find each other again.



Rochelle Kaikai, MSW, RSW, PMH-C


Serving KW & Ontario

 

 

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