You can be a great parent and have a great relationship. And you and your partner will learn to support each other, even on the hardest days.
Parenthood is one of the most profound changes that anyone can experience in their lifetime. Your priorities have now shifted from taking care of yourself and your partner, to taking care of your new baby.
You want to be the best parent possible to your child. And you want to be able to lean on your partner, and vice versa. You each have the same new priorities, so you might expect your new addition to bring you closer together.
But in practice, it’s likely that you and your partner will have some challenging times ahead. Being a new parent is a huge adjustment. Even the strongest relationship can falter under that much change.
Problems for new parents
You may have days where you miss your old life, and how your relationship used to be. Before having a baby, your life had likely been relatively consistent. But now your work, social life, and relationship are all affected. And part of you wishes you could go back to your old normal.
You compare yourself to other parents, as well as your partner. Especially in the age of social media, it’s all too easy to scroll through beautiful pictures of other parents and find yourself lacking.
And depending on your circumstances, one partner may end taking care of the baby more often. This can lead to comparing yourselves as parents. If you’re around more, you may feel like you’re doing all the work. And if you’re gone more, you may wish you were able to do more, like your partner does.
Part of that is also dependent on how your work lives will change. Odds are that at least one of you will have to take time away from working, or work from home. This is a significant shift, and can lead to those feelings of one partner taking care of the baby more.
And on top of those adjustments, your relationship may be suffering romantically or sexually, if not both. Adapting to your new normal means that your free time is basically nonexistent. You miss being able to have date nights, talking with each other about things besides the baby, and not being so exhausted all the time.
New parent counseling
You may be experiencing these problems currently, or be worrying about them before giving birth. Either way, couples counseling is a great tool for new parents or soon to be parents.
In the process leading up to parenthood, couples counseling will allow you and your partner to unpack your expectations. You can talk with us about what changes await you. And you will receive tools to combat any negative impacts of those changes.
Or maybe you want to be a parent, but are experiencing fertility issues. This puts a painful strain on any relationship. You might feel like you and your partner are drifting apart, even when you need each other’s support. Infertility counseling will help you go over all of your options as a couple, and bring you closer together.
And if you are new parents, counseling can help you address all the changes that come with that. It’s easy to become consumed by a desire to be the best parent possible. But working towards that goal depends on you maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner. Open communication and making as much time for each other as possible are both key.
The very act of seeking couples counseling shows that you value your relationship. You may miss how it used to be, or wish things were different. But with support, you and your partner can thrive in your new normal, and make the most of parenthood together.