You are all prepared. You’ve got the crib, the diapers, the formula, the wipes, the stroller, the car seat and the other 30-plus items a new baby needs. You and your partner are super excited about your baby. You went on your baby-moon and you are now ready to join over half the world in becoming new parents. Exciting! Or is it?
As a parent to a one-year old, I can definitely promise that the journey IS exciting, loving and a beautiful heart-warming experience. But what they don’t often tell you is that the experience of becoming a new parent can be incredibly overwhelming, daunting and just plain terrifying.
With a new baby a lot of changes happen that allow couples to turn to one other for support, but also as a means to let out stress. Suddenly a beautiful bundle of joy has landed into their laps and the world they once knew has turned upside down. With this bundle of joy comes the painstaking task of changing diapers, cleaning bottles and breast-feeding. In addition to the new tasks, there is the exhaustion that doesn’t ever seem to go away. This puts a lot of strain on the relationships.
What other veteran parents don’t often tell you is that there will be an increase of arguments between you and your partner when you have a new baby. You will fight over the silliest of things. It will become the biggest issue and about five to ten years later, you will look back at the moment and wonder what had happened to you.
Most couples don’t talk about this. They are scared that they will be judged. That there is something wrong with them. Why? Because it is not part of the ‘here comes the baby’ package. It’s not added to the baby registry list. With that said, for all the couples who have become parents, know that arguing is completely normal. That you will get through this. That the relationship can and will survive with a little more effort.
To avoid big blow outs, come up with a plan prior to the birth of the baby. The plan can include:
- Time between you and your partner where you can re-connect with each other.
- Create a fitness plan that can be done at home which will allow you to release stress. Meditation is also great!
- Let go of being ‘perfect’ or feeling like everything has to go right. Your baby loves you just as you are.
- Place reminders around the house that remind you of who you are and the love you have for each other. Your baby is the greatest reminder of the love you have for each other!
- Create a weekly or monthly schedule where each person has time to do something they love to do – even for an hour!
- Show compassion to yourself, each other and the new situation. Know that you are not alone.
Having a baby is the greatest blessing yet sometimes it can feel a bit rocky. Just know that it will pass in time. Try to enjoy the journey with the little one and give yourself space to be yourself. Connect with your partner – it is the best gift you can give to your baby. Communicate to others when things aren’t what they seem. Bonding with other parents on this is the best way to know that you are not alone.
And finally, have fun, as much as you can and when you can.