When Partners Become Parents
Being a first-time parent is a very rewarding, yet challenging journey. Couples may think they are ready to welcome a child into their family, but may not be prepared to deal with the changes that impact different aspects of their individual and family lives. People do not usually consider all of those changes in advance, which can involve disconnection and conflict. Consequently, they may need to work with a couples counselor, like a couples counselor in Palatine, IL, to get advice on how to deal with the new issues and challenges and help them navigate the changes.
Having a Baby and Caring for Children
To many, the thought of having a baby provokes a sense of connectedness with their partner. Some couples think that childbirth is a phase of their relationship that brings lots of joy and excitement. However, some of their expectations may be unrealistic. Research shows that a majority of couples become dissatisfied with their relationship within a few years of having a child.
The reality is, partners wake up one day and recognize that their lives have changed significantly. Parenting can be a tremendously challenging job. Therefore, the transition to parenthood can mean lots of incoming changes, bringing a lot of stress into their lives. The couple will have to learn how to create a new identity. Everything in their family lives changes including their roles within the partnership, day-to-day activities, expression of and time for intimacy, and financial challenges.
As the family grows, couples need to learn to take time and discuss significant matters and find ways to support each other. If partners transitioning into parents can overcome their differences and work collaboratively, they will more likely respond to the challenges of raising a child and provide a nurturing atmosphere favorably.
Navigating the Changing Family Dynamics
Children need an ever-increasing amount of high-quality attention and care. This can lead parents to become stressed and weary, especially if they lack significant experience in child-rearing. Many parents do not fully understand the amount of time and attention a child needs, particularly at the beginning of life. If a couple fails to communicate with one another about chore division and who does what, the stress of managing the situation may only increase, resulting in conflict and partners feeling unsupported and misunderstood.
Men often express concerns about:
- Providing the family with adequate financial support
- Lack of sleep and exhaustion
- Increased housework and chores
- Loss of free time for social activities and alone time
- Intrusive in-laws
- Decline in their spouse’s sexual interest and intimacy
- Disagreements regarding roles
Women have some of the same concerns, and their own, as well. Some of these may include:
- Exhaustion and lack of sleep
- Increased housework and chores
- Changes in body and figure
- Unpredictable changes in anxiety and mood
- Feeling insecure about competent parenting
- Individual stress about responsibilities and roles
- Changes in work situations
What parents sometimes forget is that they are still important as individuals. Self-care is essential, as is meeting the needs of the marital relationship and family. It can be a substantial juggling act, so professional help may come in handy. For more information and to get help navigating the partners to parents transition, schedule a session with a knowledgeable and experienced couples counselor.
Thanks to Lotus Wellness Center for their insight into common changes in a relationship when partners become parents.