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Coping After Your Firts Bornbaby

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    After your first baby is born, what’s really going to change? I can answer that question in one word: everything! And the changes start as soon as you either decide you are ready to have children or find out that you are pregnant. Your communication skills will be put to the test in this stage. Your skills will prove essential in your adjustment and continued feelings of closeness and satisfaction. Not only will you have brand-new things to discuss, but you will also have more conflicts to resolve. Work together to openly discuss changing needs, emotional reactions, and newly identified expectations. This will help reduce the conflicts that will likely arise if these things are not discussed. Once the baby arrives, you may ask, “Whatever happened to sleeping in, spontaneity, late-night movies, and holding hands?” Baby happened, that’s what. No matter how much you each wanted this new little bundle of joy, you need to be prepared for rough waters ahead. The changes that occur at the birth of your first child are immeasurable. At some point you will realize that life will never be the same again. This stage includes an emotional roller coaster such as you could never have imagined. You go from the joy of seeing your new creation for the first time to the fear of being inadequate as a parent. You also feel the pride of watching your child develop and learn each new skill to the loneliness of feeling disconnected from your spouse. And on and on the roller coaster goes.


    There are two major threats to the marital bond, and they begin in the first quarter of parenting. What are they? Lack of time and lack of energy. There are feelings of grief at a loss of couple time, and feelings of disconnectedness from your spouse. There are also feelings of jealousy about the amount of time and attention baby is receiving, and the loss of energy all cause a great shift in the intimacy pattern. If the couple does not recognize these threats and deal with them openly, they may begin to feel even more isolated from each other. The most changed aspect of the new parents’ lives is the aspect of time. The time available for sleeping, eating, watching television, talking, sex, and even bathroom time seems to have just disappeared. Eating and napping schedules make parents more aware than ever of the clock. This constant awareness tends to make the new parents feel as though time is always running out. You can no longer take things for granted, and what used to come easily now takes more effort than you feel able to give. On the other hand, dad often develops an increased need to feel he is providing adequately for his new family. The responsibilities of finances and job may increase his need for admiration from his wife for the role he is performing. As these emotional needs change, it is essential that you identify them and then talk to your spouse. I have yet to meet the spouse who is a flawless mind reader. If you want your spouse to know that your needs are changing, then say so.

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