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Bringing baby home: Navigating new parenthood with your partner



Photo: Darren Johnson/Flickr

 

Your relationship with your partner will stay exactly as it was before baby, right? Sure, that's possible. But the truth is that a new baby puts pressure on even the best relationship. Pure exhaustion and constant worry about all the responsibilities of parenting take their toll — in fact, according to renowned Seattle-based relationship researcher Dr. John Gottman, 69 percent of couples experience profound stress, conflict and a decline in marital satisfaction during the first years of parenting.

What's the best thing you can do to buck the trend? First, be ready to cut your co-parent a lot of slack and remember that you are the best parents your baby ever had. Second, prepare yourself. You and your partner (and your baby) need each other to get through this early parenting phase with your sanity intact. Well before baby comes, read books that offer a realistic look at the impacts of new parenting on a couple. Sign up to attend local workshops focused on nurturing your relationship through what can be a very trying time. Make a plan with your partner about how you will deal with common concerns and pitfalls when they occur, write it down and refer to it when things come up.

One place to start is with Gottman’s research-based Bringing Baby Home workshop: Walk through the many challenges of new parenting while providing useful constructs for understanding your partner's experience. The workshop also offers tools for mitigating the difficult spots and keeping intimacy and romance alive. All workshops are led by Gottman-trained facilitators. For a class near you, go to gottman.com.

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