When a couple decides to take the next steps in their relationship and have children it can be extremely exciting. Some people practice first by owning a pet together before taking the leap to have kids together. Think about it, having a puppy is a lot of work! You have to housebreak them, walk them daily, feed them and of course love them. In a funny way, this is a great introduction to what it’s like to have a child.
Infants need a lot of attention. They cry because they are hungry, lonely or tired. It can be challenging for a parent to figure out which of those needs to satisfy. As parents we try our best to give our babies what they need and when we can’t figure out what that is, we can get frustrated.
Ideally, a couple works together on raising their baby. Being partners in this process of co-parenting is extremely important. Your baby needs to feel loved by both parents. Sometimes it can be hard to balance your parenting duties and obligations. One parent might feel like they are doing more than the other one. If a mother is nursing, for example, this can be exhausting for her when the baby is an infant. She is up every 2-3 hours feeding her newborn. She might feel resentful if her partner isn’t fulfilling their share of the parenting responsibilities since she is so exhausted from hers. Even though her partner isn’t feeding their baby, they can still do other important things like changing nappies, playing with the baby, and allowing mum to nap, which is extremely needed!
When the parenting responsibilities are imbalanced and one parent feels they are doing the majority of the work, this can create resentment within the relationship. One action the couple can take is to openly discuss these resentful feelings. Getting them out in the open is essential to fostering a healthy relationship with parents and people in a long-term romantic partnership.
Sometimes even when you’re trying to hash out your problems, it can still feel overwhelming and even scary at times. Many couples that have a baby together wonder if their relationship will fall apart due to the stress of caring for their newborn. A baby is a lot of responsibility and it can take a toll on even the healthiest of marriage or partnerships.
It’s okay to seek help when you are struggling with your relationship. One way to do this is to go to couples therapy. Whether that therapist is in an office or you see an online counsellor, it’s useful for a couple to talk out their problems in the presence of a licensed mental health professional who can mediate the difficulties between them. There are times when you might not even know what’s “wrong” in your relationship. Those are the best times for you to seek the guidance of a couple’s counsellor.
Remember that having a baby is difficult in and of itself, but it doesn’t have to ruin your romantic relationship. Take it one step at a time and talk out your problems with your partner. Be open about what you need from them and seek help if you need to.