After marriage and life as newly married couples, the husband and wife look forward to having a child of their own. Sometimes they plan and prepare for the arrival of the child and sometimes it is all unplanned. However, planned the couples may be but childbirth is an experience that is joyous for some and overwhelming for others.
After childbirth comes parenting which is even more challenging since unexpected situations may pop up for which the couple may not be prepared. And last but not least, the couple, now parents may face parenting issues that affect the relationship and are at a loss as to how to resolve them.
Marriage problems after having a baby:
After the arrival of a baby, the relationship between the parents undergoes a sudden change. The focus is more on the baby and his needs than the interpersonal relationship. The daily routine, sleep, socialization, profession, and hobbies take a backseat.
There is no me time and the parent who is more burdened with childcare feels overloaded and frustrated. When the partner is not understanding and doesn’t lend a helping hand, the patience crosses the limits and there may be an outburst that can bring about cracks in their relationship.
What do statistics say?
According to a Wall Street Journal article, within three years of childbirth, more women file for divorce than men. And within five years after the first childbirth, over 40 percent of the couples part ways. These are the statistics in the USA. In India, there is an indication that the divorce rates are going up and the reasons may be diverse with parenting being one of them.
In fact, there is social pressure on young couples to become parents as early as possible whether they are prepared for the demands or not. The positive aspect is the mother and the baby is supported and taken care of by parents or parents-in-law during and after delivery. But the negative side is too much of forced advise from parents or in-laws may intimidate the new parents.
Reasons why parental burnout takes place:
Parental burnout can happen when there is a lack of balance between you and your partner’s lives after childbirth. Parental burnout can be one of the reasons in the breakdown of husband/wife’s relationship. The burnout may happen due to the following reasons-
1. No time out:
When parenting becomes a twenty-four-hour job except when the baby is asleep and the parent feels that her personal time, rest, hobbies, socialization, etc., are hijacked. And when this happens day on a day-to-day basis without any sight of the end, burnout happens.
2. A child with special needs:
When a child with special needs related to conditions such as Down’s Syndrome, Autism, chronic illness, physical or mental challenges have to be taken care, there is an additional responsibility and one of the reasons for burnout in the parents.
3. Peer support:
Parenting like any other job requires support, guidance, and advice from peers to deal with issues. When such peer support is lacking there are chances of burnout.
4. Chore overload:
Parenting as a job or responsibility should be shared fifty-fifty by both the parents. When this does not happen, one of the parents, mostly mother is overloaded with chores. In addition to the daily housekeeping chores, she has to parent her child. And when the husband shows no inclination of help, their relationship tumbles down.
5. Parenting styles:
Every adult is influenced by the parenting style his / her parents have adopted when bringing him/her up. Also, they may have their own ideas added on parenting style they have adopted. When there is a clash of parenting style between the husband and wife with no mutual agreement or understanding, the relationship gets affected.
6. Sex life:
Often after childbirth and parenting, sex life is one of the first casualties between the parents. One of the parents may be so engrossed in parenting that the other parent may feel neglected. Sometimes parenting takes a toll on energy levels, time, etc so much so that all the parent wants is some time to rest.
7. Couple time:
If its a nuclear family, the couple time exists only when the child is asleep or is in a daycare center or playschool. Again if the parents are working couple, only weekends can be assigned for couple time but this too is lost as the kid will be around.
In joint families either the couple, time is entirely lost with so many family members around or salvaged when a family member takes the responsibility to care for the child allowing the parents to plan for an outing or my time.
8. The grandparents:
The grandparents often extend a helping hand in parenting. But this does not mean that they have the right to overstep their boundaries and interfere in parenting issues causing a rift in the couple relationship.
Money is an important issue when it comes to parenting a child. The father may like to save money and the mother may want to splurge on the child. On important occasions, related to the child, such as naming ceremony, birthdays, christening, etc. careful financial planning needs to be done. If not differences may crop up in relationships.
How to solve relationship problems after having a baby:
After marriage, couples look forward to parenthood with excitement and anticipation. But then parenthood has its own challenges that may affect the marriage if not tackled in time. These are some ideas to tackle marriage and relationship issues when parenting.
1. Give importance to intimate moments:
Couple time and intimacy take a back seat with the arrival of the child that may affect the marriage. Effort should be made to have more time together, more date nights and active sex life. Hiring a baby sitter when the couple plan romantic dinner is one option. Putting aside baby related conversations and focussing on topics related to each other can create intimacy.
2. Where parenting style is an issue:
Differences in parenting style can lead to clashes and disagreements that in turn can affect the marital life. Discussing, accepting and agreeing upon a common parenting style will help maintain the harmony between the couples.
3. Sharing household chores:
When the burden of household chores fall on one parent, it can affect the couple relationship and their marriage. Sharing the chores and responsibilities and once in a while switching the responsibilities to avoid monotony is a sure way to avoid potential clashes in marriage.
4. Learn to stay unaffected:
Tackle people however close to you so that their comments, unwanted advise or interference with your parenting styles does not create discord between you and your spouse.
5. Marriage problems after the second baby:
Most parents are stressed out after the birth of the second baby. They have to take care of the baby and the first child who may be a toddler. The cracks in the marriage that usually appear after the first baby, have chances to broaden up after the second baby. But then many parents recoup after a few hectic months and bounce back as a happy foursome family.
Parenting is a challenging phase of our lives when we have to take care of our baby from childbirth to until he/she is an independent adult. With parenting, we have to be also aware that our husband/wife relationship remains intact.