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A Therapist's Take on The Tough Transition to Parenthood

2 min read

First things first: why is this transition to parenthood so freaking hard for couples to navigate smoothly? It's jarring, especially because most of us were expecting to feel connected and loved postpartum. So what leads us down this path we don't want to be on?:

1. Changing the family system. Before your partner and you have a baby, you have a system. There are ways that you operate in relationship that are established and easy... you know who is responsible for what, when, and how you communicate with each other. Babies change these rhythms, and the opportunities for miscommunication are endless. Disruptions to the family system are almost always painful, but eventually, the systems does adjust and form new rhythms.

2. It brings up family of origin baggage that may not be conscious. You weren't around each other's families when your partner was a child, and you don't know what your partner might consider normal, or have come to expect, without vocalizing it. It's pretty common for couples to default to what was modeled for them when they were kids, and it can surprise partners who have never seen that side of each other.

3. Sleep deprivation leads to short tempers. Put bluntly, you may not have the patience you usually have when you're sleeping inconsistently and unpredictably.

So, the odds are admittedly stacked against you on several fronts. But, rest assured, it's possible to avoid this postpartum relationship speed bump... remember the 67% of couples that were unsatisfied postpartum? 33% of couples experienced intimacy and connection postpartum, and there are simple, effective things you can do to land in the latter group.

- Kylie Hempy

About the author: Kylie Hempy is an MFT Trainee, with a specialization in Perinatal Therapy. Connect with Kylie on Frame here. Follow her @kyliehempy