Parenthood: Tips for Maintaining Relationship Health During an Exciting but Stressful Time

You are about to become a parent or have recently become one. Naturally you want to experience all of the joys that arrive with parenthood and are expected to do so by society. You may also be experiencing an enormous amount of stress, which comes with the great adjustment to life that parenthood requires. This stress may be taking a toll on your relationship with your partner. You are not alone. This is a common and normal experience. But what can you do about it?

1. Talk About It!

A common problem in relationships during pregnancy and for some time after can be a feeling of isolation between partners as the focus is on the child. Simply talking about these experiences can make each person feel less alone in the relationship. Each person may feel that their emotions are validated by the other, and may eliminate the belief of being the "only weirdo" who feels "this way."

2. Implement Date Night.

It is easy to forget to make a simple plan for a night out. It may seem like no big deal, but maintaining a separate romantic life within the new family system is crucial. There is the family as a whole, but within that there is the couple as a unit which requires just as much nurturance as the family whole.

3. Take Time for Yourself.

Within the family whole there is the couple unit but there are also individuals who in order to be able to maintain their roles in the family whole, need to take good care of themselves. If you feel so overloaded and pressured, you will not have time or energy to share anything with your partner. If you feel like you have had a moment to yourself, you are much more likely to be willing to spend some time with your partner in a meaningful way.

4. Keep Having Sex.

Unless your doctor has instructed you not to, it is important to engage with your partner sexually. An active and regular sex life can help partners feel emotionally connected and less alone.

5. Ask Your Partner How You Can Be Of Help.

Showing basic acknowledgment of your partner's needs can go a long way! This communicates that you are in this together.  

If adapting some of these tips into your relationship seems impossible or if you have tried and it has been unsuccessful, then it is likely the time to seek out professional help. Although many relationships struggle to adjust to parenthood, oftentimes once properly managed, relationships are strengthened and grow.