Don’t tell me you haven’t heard the cliché; two’s company three’s crowd.
The transition to parenthood is a thrilling experience with a roller coaster of emotions. The cute baby purchases, setting up the nursery, shopping for baby bag essentials are all in the past now; instead what you have in front of you is a tiny bundle of joy (as people call it so) who’s demanding attention round the clock.
No amount of guides, tutorials, or parenting books can ease the turmoil because this is something you have to experience to learn. Instead of whining about them, sit back, relax, and think about what you can do to bring about a positive change in your life.
The bad news
This can at times be too overwhelming and exhausting for the two of you. Maintaining your sanity post-baby is pandemonium in the first place; battling all the issues surrounding the pandemonium is yet another façade of the battle field you have to cross (just like a chasm).
The good news
Working together to stay together pays off in the end. The amount of energy and effort you put in saving your relationship makes you eligible for a pat on your back.
So let’s sum up some of the major issues that boggle new parents and what they can do to save themselves from running into hot waters.
Issue 1. Sleep deprivation post-baby
You remember the times when you had the whole night ahead of you; waking up on time with ample energy to fuel your day. Now, every morning you wake up like a zombie; ruining your whole day due to uncontrolled mood swings stemming from your disturbed regimen.
Attempt to train yourself before the baby arrives. If still you find the new sleep cycle a bit too crushing, try scheduling the sleeping chore on an alternate basis with your spouse. At least both of you can manage to have a sound sleep while the other looks after the baby.
Issue 2. Domestic duties post-baby
Everything around your home has changed for good now. Dishes, laundry, cleaning could all be postponed before but these chores can no longer be procrastinated; you got to do them with the swiftness of a superhuman.
The mantra is simple; do it before the baby cries. You can alternate the duties schedule with your spouse weekly. This will keep the wheels moving while also making the significant other realize the stipulations of parenthood.
Issue 3. An unbalanced influx of in-laws
Observing your partner transfer into a parent is a beautiful feeling to cherish life long, but witnessing your in-laws transferring into grandparents is something you don’t want to overburden yourself with. They may want to spend more time with their new grandchild now, but you don’t want to give up your dwindling space!
You can sort it out by addressing them politely that you need space with the new baby. Or they can come up some other time.
Issue 4. Dwindling finances
Life was merrier when it was just the two of you, but it is never going to be the same equation as before. The extra expenses from milk supplies, diapers, wipes, medicines all have to be addressed regularly.
In the most idyllic situation, mothers would want to take annual leave and rest at home with their baby; certainly, that’s a luxury for many.
Both parents can work this out by using up one salary and saving another for at least a year. This will surely have its implications, but you will have a meager amount by the end of the year for any unusual expenses lurking at your face.
Issue 5. No me-time
This is one of the heftiest price tags that accompany your tiny bundle of joy. Well, parenting is a mutual effort giving off mutual elation. Give your spouse the space he/she needs. Spend some extra time with the baby while the other can take time off; be it going out with their friends, catching up on sleep, or some quality time alone.
It’s crucial for you and for everyone out there to have a comfort circle outside of the family, which can turn into a rock when you need it that way.
Issue 6. Lack of intimacy
Juggling your life with a newborn is an exhilarating experience; which can be quite arduous at times. Your entire life is upside down and you can’t find a way out. The best way to comfort yourself and your spouse are to comfort their physical needs too.
Take time out for those nights together, as you did before marriage. It will not be the same; rather it’s safe to say it will never be the same.
Plan a date night; involve grandparents to babysit, or ask a trusted friend to look after your tiny tot while you can indulge in some tender moments with your spouse. Whatever seems feasible, away from the commotion in your home and relive those good old times. Even if you are running errands, try to sit for a cup of coffee, where you two can take a breather.
Issue 7. Different parenting styles
Before the child's birth, couples feel that they have similar parenting styles. But after the baby's arrival, you realize the differences, but worry not. Since both of you have come from separate families with separate upbringings, this disparity is inevitable.
Understand the child’s psyche and try to work on common grounds for the benefit of your baby. It's not a win-lose situation. Couples need to figure out the best interest of their baby.
Issue 8. Lack of affection/attention
It is very likely that love birds of the past; now don’t have the time, (energy) to even smile back at a joke thrown by the other. Some have strong nerves that can let them sail safely through the waters while some hardly manage to stay afloat. This is very likely.
Whatever the situation, learn to accept the fact that you now have a tiny buddy to look after, and caring for him is indeed a daunting task. If one parent isn’t finding it easy, allow them to relax as much as they can. Don t overburden them with your expectations, rather, make the journey easy for them, as much as you can.
Issue 9. Absence of communication
The first few weeks into parenting many couples also feel that they aren’t even communicating with each other besides the diaper, feeder, and doctor lingo. The bare minimums chat as we can call it.
Communication is the key to all relationships, don’t ignore it. Capitalize on the time when your baby is sleeping or in silent mode and talk to your partner; about any random thing. Don’t blame or argue about things bothering you. Rather stay calm and enjoy each other's company.
Issue 10. Depression
Baby blues is a term well known. Most couples experience them and if not properly handled, can even result in a grave loss for the baby and the parent.
The emotions felt during this time are overpowering. The most common ones are: lack of appetite, little to no sexual desire, feeling of worthlessness, withdrawal from the newborn, chronic insomnia, melancholy, uncontrolled tearfulness, and many more.
Couples should seek immediate help from a couple therapist if the situation persists. Family and friends can also offer help in this regard.
Parenthood is not easy. To enjoy the perks, you will have to pay the price initially; in the form of all the sacrifices that you and your spouse make. It’s that contented smile on your child’s face that gives you the energy to face these endeavors over and over again.
At our couples therapy in London, we understand that maintaining a healthy and fulfilling relationship is not always easy. Whether you're struggling with communication, intimacy, trust, or any other issues that arise in any relationship, we're here to help. Our experienced therapists use evidence-based techniques to help couples overcome their challenges and build a stronger, more meaningful connection. If you're ready to work on your relationship, book a session with us today and take the first step towards a happier future.