Relationship Changes After Having A Baby Are Very Common
Becoming a parent is a big deal and it usually changes people, often in ways they don’t expect.
We’re all used to having various roles in life from son/daughter, brother/sister to friend or colleague. However, when you become a parent, your sense of identity shifts, and new goals and values often come along with that.
You might feel differently about work, money, or family, and you’ll almost certainly feel differently about time with a lot less of it to yourself.
You might be struggling with your mental health since becoming a parent. Maybe you’re feeling touched out. You might be finding it difficult to make time for intimacy, or have got into a cycle of rejection. It’s also very common to struggle with the impact of stress on your relationship.
If you want to stay connected to your partner, you need to go through the changes together.
It can be a bit of a shock how much parenthood changes us. It’s one of the big milestones in the course of a shared life, but it’s not the only one of course. People change an enormous amount throughout their lives.
That might feel a bit overwhelming when you first fall in love with and make a commitment to a partner.
But think about it: would you want them to be the same person at 50 that they were at 30? What about when life changes you? That might be tough on your partner sometimes too, but you need room to grow, right?
Most of us want to be in relationships where there is space for both of us to evolve.
So how do you make a relationship work when you’re both going through such personal change?
It might help to think of the commitment that you made as being to the relationship between you, rather than to the person that your partner was when you got married or decided to make a life together. This shift in mindset can make it easier to cope when your partner inevitably changes over time.
Robin Sharma says, “All change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.”
So true, isn’t it? (Although that gorgeous feeling might sometimes just be a relief that things finally seem to have settled down a bit!)
When you’re going through a big change, it might help to remind yourself that it’s normal to find it hard, normal to struggle with the unknown, feeling out of control, and the messiness of it. But hang in there – change can be uncomfortable and disorienting, but the alternative is stagnation – and no one wants that, for themselves or their relationships.
So change is good, but some changes can be really tough.
Craig Ferguson sums it up well when he says, “When you become a parent you go from being a star in the movie of your own life to the supporting player in the movie of someone else’s.”
One minute you’re the lead in a romcom, the next minute you’re wondering… what film are we even in?!
Relationship Struggle Is Common
Babies are hard work, and most couples worry about the state of their relationship as they adjust. That’s why I started speaking publicly about relationships after kids, and why I think we all need to talk about them more openly.
Because if you’re struggling, and everyone else seems to be gazing lovingly at each other, it’s easy to conclude that it’s your relationship that’s the problem. But that’s not necessarily the case!
All of this is very common as couples adjust to life as parents:
- Talking less than you did before
- Finding the conversations you do have more stressful
- Feeling uncomfortable with the roles you seem to be slipping into
- Arguing more
- Having less sex – or none at all
If this sounds like your relationship, try not to panic. These changes are completely normal – in the short term – and don’t necessarily mean that your relationship is in trouble.
If you’re still struggling months or years down the line, have a look at my one-off relationships after kids coaching calls. I can support you to inject positivity back into your relationship, resolve resentments, improve communication and feel closer again.
Here are a few tips to help stay connected with your partner (and please bear in mind that it’s never too late to catch up if you didn’t do this stuff as a new parent):
- Talk to your partner about your thoughts and feelings about the change
- Tell them what it’s like for you to adjust to your lives becoming more intertwined than ever
- Ask them open-ended questions about what the experience is like for them
- Share in your love of your new baby
- Remember to look into each other’s eyes as well as your baby’s or children’s!
Talking to your partner about your worries can be very connecting, as can talking with friends and family. It might just be a great comfort to someone else who is equally having a hard time to hear that they’re not the only one.
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