Confessions of a Marriage Therapist
There is so much we do to prepare for our sweet baby's delivery. But what have you done to prepare for after baby comes home? Watch the video as I share our poor planning for our first child. FYI, it doesn't have to be that way. (Don't have time to watch a video...read the transcript below!)
It's been six years since that fateful day; the day that I think really changed so much for me and the way I look at things and the way I do things. I'm Catherine O'Brien. I'm a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist at HappyWithBaby.com.
Six years ago I was on my way to work. I work with couples that are struggling in their relationships. And I was a complete wreck. I was crying, and I was emotional and upset because I had just gotten into yet another fight with my husband. My sweet husband that we had always seemed to be able to solve any issues that we were having or any disagreements. I had always felt really supported by him.
But what was different this time is that we actually had a three month old baby boy at home and we were both tired and we were both exhausted. And we were functioning on empty. Empty in our own self care, but then definitely empty in our relationship together.
So, I promptly called my girlfriend on the way to work (and she also happens to be a therapist and has kids that are a few years older than my kids. So, perfect, right?) And her first question to me was, "When was the last time you were on a date?" I would have probably started laughing if I wasn't crying because I thought,
"Who is she kidding? How do you go on a date when you have a little baby at home?"
But let me tell you, we promptly took her advice. (Thank goodness we had my mom visiting us.)
Spending that time together made such a huge difference. I'm sharing my story here, because as a therapist with a Masters degree in Psychology, let me tell you that this stuff isn't talked about. Because we were talking about disorders and we were talking about problems, but we weren't really talking about what we could do to prevent it or respond before there was actually a "crisis", right?
My experience tells me that I wasn't alone, that there are lots and lots of couples that end up in the same place. I know, I know from my personal and my professional experience that bringing home a baby is hard. And I know whether you thought it wouldn't affect your relationship, or maybe you didn't even consider it because you both really wanted this baby so much. But bringing home a baby does.
Unfortunately, up to 92% of couples report dissatisfaction in their relationship that first year.
And it doesn't automatically get better at their first birthday party. Believe me. I wish it did.
You actually have to work on it. You have to work on it hard.
I"m guessing you did a lot of research, right? To figure out how to prepare for this baby.
For example, you wanted to find out what was the best car seat. What's going to keep them safest, what's going to be the most comfortable. And you made decisions based on that. Like, you probably picked a Britax over some generic brand, right? Because of what was going to be best for your child.
So, I'm asking you, why is it that we don't invest the same time in our relationship? Doing research and talking to our friends to find out, what are some of the biggest challenges?
Because research does show that when we have a strong relationship, when we are connected with each other, it impacts us really positively in a lot of ways.
Couples that have a strong, healthy relationship and are connected have a less chance of getting mood and anxiety disorder after baby.
Our relationship and our children's relationships really depend on this! On us working together, on us investing in each other.
I bet you've done or maybe you're even getting ready to do some labor and delivery classes, some lactation classes, CPR classes, but I know very few couples actually take classes to plan for after baby, plan their postpartum plan. Right?
What are you going to do the days, the months and years after you bring your baby home?
So, I urge you to find a class, do some research. We actually have a class here in Sacramento, CA for moms and dads about bringing their new baby home. And if you're in the area, we'd love for you to join us. But if not, contact me and I will help you find something in your area too.
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