Deepening Marital Commitments after Childbirth

Parenthood is one of nature’s most beautiful gifts people can encounter. Few feelings in this world equal the joy and passion that being a new parent can bring. A baby can not only shower immense happiness on the parents, but can also bring bliss to the married life of the couple. It has often been said that a baby mends a fragile marriage. However, this is not always true. Sometimes, relationships can also be undone after the baby is born. Though such situations are quite natural, it is in the best interests of the couple that these concerns be explored and remedies found as soon as possible.

The Great Expectations

Right at the onset of pregnancy, the female metabolism starts undergoing a series of changes. At the same time the male psyche also undergoes considerable change. The first skill which is tested both pre and post pregnancy is that of communication. There will be completely new things to discuss for both partners. Issues that were completely oblivious for both a couple of weeks ago will now demand clinical handling.

Modern life is evolving at a tremendous rate and the hands of the clock seem to be in a constant race with one another. In such a scenario, the addition of a living being in the lives of two people might cut short a significant share of their love and affection for each other. This realization might not always sink in. What will be noticed however is the sudden drop in affection. Changes in the relationship are natural during pregnancy, but may be perceived as problems by the couple. From here, anxiety about how we will care for our baby and how we will care for each other may rise.

Coping With the Change

Childbirth changes almost everything about marital life. The baby can bring new ecstasy. At the same time, the birth of the baby can make both partners feel a little lovelorn. The late night strolls by the sea will be gone. The midnight oil will no longer burn to support intimate episodes. Also gone will be all the adventure that a carefree couple can indulge in. Not that anybody will prohibit the couple, but being mature individuals, neither of the two will want to take any risk with their prized asset.

Coping with these changes assumes paramount importance. For one thing, the couple has to have an open discussion in order to measure the road ahead. This is when the real chemistry with one’s spouse is put to the test. Most couples learn new definitions of love and intimacy in this phases of life. Antoine de Saint-Exupery famously stated, “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” This aptly justifies the situation with couples after childbirth. However, learning to refocus your relationship on your child, while still meeting each of the parents needs can be difficult and require learning new skills.

Michael Winters is a Psychologist in Houston focusing on marriage counseling and therapy. Michael received his PhD from the University of Memphis and has been practicing since 1991.