You may have heard that the research shows that for the majority of couples, the quality of marriage goes down after having a baby. Sometimes simply knowing this can be helpful in navigating the transition to parenthood. It is okay to miss what you used to have, but at the same time you can discover your new normal together and continue to invest in one another and your marriage.
Here are four ideas to keep in mind:
Talk through your expectations. Much of your experiences are riding on the expectations (whether conscious and unconscious) you have for them and whether or not they are met. It is not uncommon for couples to have unrealistic expectations for what caring for a baby is really like. Oftentimes it is their first real experience bathing, feeding, diapering, and soothing a newborn. Lots of time is spent preparing for the labor and delivery, but there is very little emphasis on practical parenting skills. This can leave couples feeling overwhelmed, surprised, angry, or like they are failing when they experience what it is really like to bring baby home. So talk (and keep talking) about your expectations around divisions of household labor, tending to the baby’s needs day and night, who’s going to shop and cook as you adjust to a new baby in the house.