If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard new mums moan about their partners being unsupportive and another for every new dad I’ve heard talk about how they feel left out, I’d be super rich!
We go from looking longingly into each other’s eyes and snuggling up on the sofa chilling, to feeling unsupported and misunderstood. The only thing that’s changed is the arrival of an (often) much-wanted baby!
Why does this happen? Is it that our relationship is no longer working or is there more to this than meets the eye? We often think about us and our relationship, but what affect does all of this have on our baby and their long-term development and what can we do about it?
Why does it happen?
Sadly, no baby I’ve ever seen popped out with a manual! It would be brilliant if they did come with training, mentoring and support, but unfortunately, as of yet we haven’t got that memo! So, for now, having a new baby remains a voyage of discovery and uncertainty!
Uncertainty is a pretty rubbish feeling! Uncertainty makes you second-guess everything you’re doing and makes you feel anxious and a bit of a failure. That then makes you feel like you’re being judged and helps make you feel even more anxious and more of a failure!
Add to that the tiredness. And BOY is having a new baby tiring! It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced before and probably won’t again (until the next baby!!), and of course, when you’re tired, EVERYTHING becomes harder and we become less tolerant and understanding.
Babies are clever things and bring out some of the most wonderful emotions in us. They’re programmed to connect with us, and we’re programmed to connect with them, and like all new relationships, it can become all-consuming, often to the detriment of other relationships… like you as a couple!
Then, there’s the different, very important roles that both parents play in raising the baby. As a mum, our role is about nurturing and caring for the baby’s needs, keeping them fed and alive! Whereas a dad’s role is less obvious, but actually, if you look at the research, just as vital!
There’s also the challenge of the person looking after the baby (often you, the mum) stopping work to care for them. That brings with it a change of identity, insecurity, possibly some resentment, certainly a change of role and of course a change to the family finances.
All of this leads to a heady concoction of emotion (add in a few hormones that just happen to be floating around at this stage), and it becomes a fairly stressed environment!
No wonder we find ourselves in a slightly different place as a couple than those early days of chilling out on the sofa!
How does all this impact on our baby’s development?
Babies learn from the experiences we give them, good and bad, and those experiences are built from the everyday things that we do and the environment that we provide for them.
We know that babies learn best when they feel loved and are surrounded by loving relationships. Of course, one of the most important relationships that they are surrounded by is your relationship with your partner.
We also know that what babies learn from before they are even born, and what you do really matters and makes a massive impact on your baby’s life learning. Knowing what to do to support them can really help you find the first 1000 days of your baby’s life much, much easier, which in turn puts less stress on your relationship with your partner. The Oliiki app is here to support you in building your baby’s learning journey right from the start of your pregnancy through until your baby is two. Parents who have started using the Oliiki app in pregnancy found that they had conversations with their partner that helped once the baby arrived. Those that download it later say it’s given them so much more confidence than they had before. One mum described it as, “being given a ray of sunshine on a rainy day!”
So, what can we do to help ensure that you stay strong as a couple and are able to provide your baby with a loving environment?
First of all, remember that:
You loved each other and got on well before. The only thing that’s changed is that the baby’s arrived.
Remember that this is a time for change for both of you. Both of you are uncertain and underconfident. Neither of you knows “how to do it right”, but both of you are trying.
You are both exhausted!
You are both trying to find out what your new role is. Remember that in this, there IS space for both of you.
Both of you are worried about money!
Both of you, at times are overwhelmed by your love for this tiny person, but you are both equally overwhelmed by the chaos, change and impact that they have also had on your lives!
Both of you feel judged.
Both of you might be depressed or at least a little bit blue.
Both of you are living through the change, but in totally different ways and with different perspectives and opinions.
I will say it again - both of you are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO tired and have no idea what you’re doing!
Listen to each other. Listen what is being said, and what is NOT being said. Often the unsaid stuff is the most powerful. Listen in the way YOU’D like to be listened to. Remember to communicate. Both your opinions matter, though they may differ. Both opinions are valid and important.
Know that both of you are learning (as is your baby). Neither of you has this sorted. You are moving from being a couple to being a family - that process often has a few bumps along the way! Finding help from trusted sources, such as a friend, a professional, or the Oliiki app, can make all the difference in navigating this challenging and wonderful time so that you both emerge stronger and better for the experience of becoming parents and able to do the very best you can to support your baby on their learning journey through life.
Why not try the Oliiki app download it today and take advantage of the 7-day free trail, it starts from conception and goes through until your baby is two years old.