While a blessing, a baby will also change the dynamics of a marital relationship, explains Willard F. Harley, a licensed clinical psychologist. The newborn brings couples closer but also adds stress. A woman experiences hormonal changes during and after pregnancy that heighten her emotional response and may cause her to respond to her husband in different ways.
Finances and Work
Finances are a common reason couples fight after the child is born. This is common when a wife who formerly worked chooses to stay home with her baby. Even if the family has enough money to cover expenses, the new expenses of child, along with the reduction in income, can strain a marriage and mean changes in the couple’s lifestyle and spending habits.
After giving birth, a couple’s level of physical and emotional intimacy may change. Not only does a woman experience physical and hormonal changes, the couple’s schedule and relationship dynamics shift. In many cases, the wife may place more focus on her new child than on her husband, which may lead to feelings of loneliness, loss or resentment. Further, the couple may find they are too busy caring for the newborn to nurture their relationship and communicate as effectively as before.
Overall changes in the daily household routine may lead to arguments. For example, husbands and wives may disagree about late-night diaper changes and feedings. Additionally, grandparents may become more involved in family life. If one spouse is uncomfortable with this, it may lead to serious arguments.
Couples can avoid arguments by discussing issues such as chores, parenting choices and the role of extended family prior to the baby’s birth. New parents may want to plan how they will meet physical and emotional needs. Schedule a date night and let extended family or a friend watch the newborn.
Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.
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