Becoming parents and how it can impact your relationship
Expectant parents can spend months preparing for the arrival of their baby. Often lots of energy is given to the birth and how it might go.
By the time you have brought your little baby home you may have read all the books, bought all the baby clothes and taken lots of pre-natal classes but even with all this preparation the reality of caring for a baby can be overwhelming.
When your family changes from two to three, your relationship with your partner is bound to change, you are now parents as well as a couple.
Being a new parent is wonderful, but it can also be really challenging and stressful, too. This can bring up different feelings. It's common for new parents to feel guilty when they're not enjoying every second of being a new parent. But it's important to remember that it's really ok to want to take a break from the baby every once in a while.
It’s very normal to experience a sense of grief when you become new parents suddenly your world can feel strange and un-familiar. This new life isn’t perhaps what you might have imagined, it can be a very challenging, exhausting time.
It’s very normal for your relationship with your partner to be tested, you have less time to spend with each other, and it’s not as easy to get out of the house. You may long for the life you had before and you may experience a sense of guilt for feeling this way, its completely normal to have these feelings.
Life has changed dramatically so acknowledge that and be kind to yourself
Loss of Freedom
The demands of having a new baby to look after can feel overwhelming. New parents can struggle to get out and enjoy their own interests. And to find any time for themselves, this can leave parents feeling trapped or suffocated not being able to come and go as they please.
A new baby is an exciting positive life event and many couple’s expect they should be really happy during this time and it can often come as a big shock to the couple when you are not getting on. Remember parenthood can be one of the most difficult transitions we will make
As a couple and as individuals you may experience the longing to have that connection and closeness again with your partner, but something significant has changed, its normal for things to take time to settle down.
It’s very difficult to describe the sense of responsibility you may experience when you are handed your baby, or bringing your baby home for the first time. As a couple you may worry about how to care for this baby, from changing nappies to sleeping and feeding its normal to feel overwhelmed.
Exhaustion comes with being new parents, remember that ‘sleep deprivation’ is used as a form of torture. During this time it’s normal to be irritated with each other.
We often take things out on the people we are close to.
Exhaustion can lead to less interest in intimacy. These are all normal feelings and experiences.
When we become parents it can stir up feelings we least expect, some fathers may experience a sense of jealousy towards there new child, as all of Mums time can be spent caring for the new addition to the family.
Or he may feel jealous that he doesn’t get to spend as much time with the baby, these feelings are completely normal
Some women struggle with how their body has changed from pregnancy and birth. It can be a very vulnerable time. Dark circles under the eyes from night feeds some women may experience feeling less attractive to their partners.
Some women experience that they are no longer their partners equal, they may struggle with their new role as a mother. These feelings are all normal.
During this transition its normal to disagree, it can bring up many feelings for both parents. The stay at home carer may have resentment towards their partner when they go to work as they get out of the house and meet people and for the person caring for the baby at home it can feel isolating.
House hold chores may not get done like they did before, less time and tiredness make it difficult to get anything done and this can lead to arguments
Remember the transition into parenthood is one of the most challenging transitions we will make. It’s normal for couples to feel a level of stress and challenge at times during this life change.
UPDATED 03/11/2016: Stellar.ie article added.
When we experience the loss of a parent it can feel like we have been shaken to our very core. Whether the loss is expected or not, or if we haven’t had a very close relationship with that parent, suddenly our life can feel very unsafe.
We can experience being sucked into a space within ourselves where we can begin to question ourselves as a person, our own mortality, and the relationship we had with our parent. Perhaps missing the opportunities to create a closer relationship or perhaps to mend a fragile or broken relationship.
Everybody has a unique response to such a life changing event such as being silent, to openly weep, panic or simply despair. Some people may busy themselves by making arrangements. There is no right or wrong way to react, be how you need to be and during this time be kind and gentle to yourself.
It’s not just the physical loss of the person, it can be the support you may have received. Was your parent the person you went to for guidance? Perhaps your parent supported you financially. It may feel like a large empty space has suddenly taken up residence inside of you.
We can perhaps feel angry and alone in life. Angry at our belief system if we have one, or at people for moving on with their lives and at society for expecting you to be over it or moving on with life. Sadly often society wants us to be "better". You are expected to return to work as normal, take care of family or children, when something quite enormous has happened to you.
At times you may desperately want to experience life again as it was before the loss, a desperate longing for things to revert, an ache in your body for that person to be with you again. You may also experience anger towards your parent for dying, for how they were as a parent or for how your relationship with them was. You may experience relief if your parent was ill. There is no right or wrong way to feel.
Perhaps you feel anxious and fearful having being present when your parent died, witnessing such a life event can often be traumatic. You may have had to nurse or watch your parent suffer, these situations can often have lasting effects and stay with us.
If your loss was a sudden and an unexpected loss, within a moment your life is changed. You may experience being flooded with a sense of wanting to tell that person everything you want them to know or suddenly have lots of questions you need answering or simply want the chance to say good bye.
Anniversaries, birthdays and life events may be difficult to cope with, perhaps feeling stirred up in the upcoming weeks or months to them. You may experience the second or following years more difficult than the first, you could be silently sitting and get a smell or hear a song which can bring you right back into your grief.
You may feel like you are a new member to the club where you can now understand and relate to friends or family that have experienced a loss, whilst other people you know may not yet have experienced loss and retain the veil of mortality and may not understand what you’re going through.
You are not alone. Grief is a Journey
Stages of grief
There is no time frame on grief and each stage can come in any order and many times
What you may experience
- Shock and Disbelief
- Physical Symptoms
When to seek help
- If you feel like life isn’t worth living
- If you wish that you had died with your love one
- If you blame yourself for the loss or failing to prevent the loss
- If you feel numb or disconnected from others for extended period of time
- If you are unable to perform your normal daily activities
- If you just need to talk to share your story and get some support
- If you find your thoughts are often full with the events of the death for an extended period of time
How can Psychotherapy / Counselling Help
Psychotherapy can provide a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space where you can explore your thoughts feelings and emotions. Through therapy you can get support and space to explore your individual responses to your loss and through this gain insight into how to move forward in life after loss.
As a therapist, my mission is to
Mindwellness Psychotherapy • 1 Merville Ave, Fairview, Dublin 3 • Tel: (087) 451 8508 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org