Many would agree that having children is one of the greatest joys in life. New parents know that children can change a marriage in unexpected ways.
For example, a new mother may focus on her baby and be surprised at how her body and heart respond to each whimper of the newborn. As for the new father, he may marvel at the bond formed between his wife and the baby, but he may also worry about suddenly being left out.
In fact, the birth of a first child may be a catalyst for a crisis in a marriage. An individual’s emotional insecurities and a couple’s unresolved issues may surface, exposed and magnified by the strains of parenthood.
How can new parents adjust to the hectic first few months when the newborn requires all their attention? What can a couple do to maintain their intimacy? How can they handle any disagreements about parenting?
CHALLENGE: Life suddenly revolves around the child.
A new baby consumes its mother’s time and thoughts. She may feel a deep sense of emotional fulfillment in caring for her baby. Meanwhile, her husband might feel neglected. Manuel, who lives in Brazil, says: “My wife’s shift of focus from me to our baby was the most difficult change for me to accept.
Before, it was just the two of us, and then all of a sudden, it was just my wife and the baby.” How can you cope with the upheaval?
A key to success: Be patient. Love is long-suffering and kind. Love does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked.
A wise husband proves his love for his wife by educating himself about the physical and mental impact childbirth has on a woman.
If he does so, he will realize why his wife may be prone to sudden mood changes. Adam, who lives in France and is the father of an 11-month-old girl, admits: “My wife’s mood changes are sometimes difficult to deal with. But I try to remember that her frustration is not really directed at me personally. Rather, it is a response to the unfamiliar stresses of our new situation.”
Some husbands has resorted into buying stress-relieved drugs on online pharmacy websites accross the internet to help alleviate their worries. This can be very dangerous to say the least.
Does your wife sometimes misunderstand your attempts to help out? If so, do not quickly become offended. Instead, patiently look for her best interests, not your own, and you will avoid getting upset.
On the other hand, a discerning wife will try to encourage her husband in his new role. She will involve him in child care, patiently showing him how to change diapers or prepare feeding bottles—even though he may seem clumsy at first.
Ellen, a 26-year-old mother, recognized that she needed to make some adjustments in the way she treated her husband. “I had to become less possessive of the baby,” she says. “And I had to remind myself not to be too picky when my husband tried to apply my suggestions about caring for the infant.”
TRY THIS: Wives, if your husband performs some child-care task in a different way than you do, resist the urge to criticize him or to redo the job.
Commend him for what he does adequately, and you will build his confidence and encourage him to give you the support you need. Husbands, cut back on nonessential activities so that you will have as much time as possible to help your wife, especially during the first few months after the baby is born.