Why Babies Create Conflict in Relationships and How to Fix ItYou’ve celebrated the baby shower and d
You’ve celebrated the baby shower and decorated the room, just the way you think little Henry or Olivia will like it. You’ve been told that you are beautiful and glowing, even though your feet feel like there’s knives on the bottoms, and you run to the bathroom every few seconds. Your partner is equally ecstatic, incredibly loving towards you, and constantly bragging to his work friends about the new baby on its way (they are getting a little tired of it, though they are supportive and excited for him).
Suddenly you are rushed into labor two weeks early. You can’t give a natural birth, and an epidural is out of the question. Your birth plan is out the window. A C-Section it is, you’ve been told. You are stuffed with drugs, crying at the idea that things aren’t going according to plan. Your partner holds your hand and assures you that all that matters is that the baby is healthy. You recognize that truth intellectually, but emotionally, you are frustrated and frightened.
Suddenly the little creature is born. They are healthy and normal, but you suddenly feel detached from him or her. Why? You were so excited for this little person to come into the world, and now you just want to take a nap. But you can’t take a nap, because the baby won’t stop crying. Or eating. They never stop crying or eating.
You go home, exhausted, and suddenly things feel tense. The new room you decorated looks silly considering the enormous stress you are under. Why did you buy all these new clothes anyway? Why not just let the kid wear diapers or onesies like your mom suggested? Your partner lays down and you are instantly angry at him. Why should he get to lay down? You’re the one who just gave birth. The fights begin. Small at first, then larger. You feel a space growing between you; a space created by the baby you wanted so desperately. What in the world is going on? Here’s four reasons why babies create relationship problems, along with some little tricks and tips that can help.
1.High Expectations Meet Reality
We don’t always know what parenthood will bring. Sometimes we get an easy baby; sometimes we get a hard baby. Even the easiest of babies are still difficult. They change your entire life. We have high expectations of how a baby might change a relationship for the better, or bring a family closer together, when a baby may actually create stress. The key is to lower expectations before parenthood begins. A baby is work. A baby is there to love and take care of, but a baby may also create problems or bring stifled problems to the light. A baby is not the answer to every problem you face.
2.Role Changes and Resentments
Regardless of how much we’ve progressed as a society, let’s face it, women still do most of the work when the baby arrives. A lot of that is out of our control – women are the ones who breastfeed. Many women choose to take time off to be the caretaker while the husband remains at work. Regardless, taking care of a baby is a full-time job with no breaks. Open communication with your partner will simmer resentments and help him/her understand your frustrations. You may also feel an identity crisis, as though your “old self” is no longer relevant. This is normal. Your life is changing, but you are still YOU. Don’t forget to take care of what makes you happy; too. Keep working if that’s what you want to do. Take up a hobby. Make some more friends. Get a babysitter and go out to dinner with your partner. Live a life. It may be a quieter, less spontaneous life, but it will still be an enjoyable life.
3.Hormones and Sex Changes
Sex? After giving birth or watching a partner give birth, you may shudder at the idea for a while. Sex may not feel like the last thing on your mind. Hormone changes can bring on the baby blues, and breastfeeding can make you feel unsexual and irritated at anyone’s touch. Bodily changes may make you feel insecure. If you are the one who gave birth, you may be experiencing hormonal changes that are causing post-partum depression, or some mild-baby blues. Talk to a doctor about what you are feeling and consider getting in touch with a counselor who can help you cope with some of the changes going on. Daily exercise and healthy eating can also help improve your self-confidence and produce endorphins, which boost your mood.
4.Different Parenting Styles and Expectations
Before you have a kid, make sure to talk about how you plan to raise the child. Differences in religion, educational standards, and discipline may not seem like a big deal before the kid is born, but they can make or break a relationship afterwards. But if you didn’t talk about these things before having a baby, don’t panic. Sit down while the child is still young and talk about your expectations, desires, and boundaries. See if you can come to some sort of an agreement. If you can’t solve these differences, get in touch with a counselor who can help you do so.
Do you struggle with relationship problems? Are you suffering through post-partum depression? If so, please contact Straight Talk Counseling at 714-828-2000 or visit our website at striaghttalkcounseling.org. One of our professional counselors would be happy to speak with you.