Let’s face it, when adding a new member into the family, the couple relationship takes a hit. No matter how strong or close your relationship may be as a couple, when you have a baby, things change. Some of those changes are small or short-lived, and we can roll with it. Others feel big and irreversible.
We know that the quality of a couple’s relationship in pregnancy is the strongest predictor of postnatal couple adjustment. Couples who have a strong friendship tend to adjust better than those who don’t. We know that in the first year after birth relationship conflict increases while conversations decrease and revolve around mundane components of daily activity. It’s obvious, but the other changes are that you will have less time together as a couple as well as some changes in your level of intimacy and sexual activity – these may be short-lived or not.
Dr Martein Snellen, a Melbourne-based perinatal psychiatrist has written a book on the subject of sex and intimacy after childbirth, titled Rekindling Your Relationship After Childbirth (Text Publishing, 2010). He explores changes in body image, divergent levels of interest, lack of time and the impact of postnatal depression. Snellen argues that few parents are prepared for the impact parenthood may have on their relationship, including their sexual relationship.
Rekindling offers practical suggestions and uses case illustrations and humour to help get the spark back – for both of you.
I love that a book has been written on this subject. Not only is it a great resource but it also normalises the very common difficulties that couples experience in their transition towards parenthood. I highly recommend it.
This post originally appeared on centreforperinatalpsychology.com.au and it has been published here with permission.