Your new baby most probably has you smiling at every glance. But how about your partner? If you’re arguing more with them right now, you’re actually not alone.
It might not be the first postnatal chat you have with your mates, but nine out of 10 first-time parents argue more than before their child was born.
Parents tell us that being a young family can be really hard on a relationship. The pulls, distractions and responsibilities. And yet, it’s still rare for us to discuss relationship problems with our nearest and dearest.
“Whenever I got together with a mate for the first year of my kid’s life, they’d always ask me how it was going. ‘Perfectly brilliant’ I’d answer, with maybe a joke about lack of sleep thrown in. But I’d never say that me and his mum were constantly at each others’ throats, even though we’d openly discussed leaving each other. It was too embarrassing and I didn’t want to put a downer on my mate.” Anton, dad to Bobby, two years.
Search for relationships and babies on the internet and you’ll see how many of us face challenges and problems when adjusting to a new normal. We analysed what people were searching for across the major search engines in relation to relationships.
The top themes to emerge? Not ‘what spontaneous act of kindness can I do for my partner?’ but more along the lines of ‘get them away from me!’
Nine out of 10 first-time parents argue more than before their child was born
Here’s a few of the main search terms people are craving answers to:
We found it’s not uncommon for new parents to feel unsupported by, disconnected from, distant to or even resentful towards their partner. You can check out the reasons we argue when we become parents, which are likely to be experienced by most of us.
The important thing to remember is that you’re not the only one having these feelings. And that might provide you with some relief.
“When a good friend of mine told me she was close to leaving her husband for the first two years of her daughter’s life, it made me feel relieved.
“We were discussing it in a jokey way, but when she described how they had started to find a way back, it gave me faith that this phase won’t last forever between us.” Anaya, mum to Arjun, 14 months.
Some parents do split before or after the birth of a child – read our article on single parenting. But having negative feelings at this point in your life doesn’t automatically mean the end of a relationship.
A good place to start is to talk about how you feel, either with friends, family or if possible with your partner. Check out our article on how to talk and listen to each other.
“When I finally confessed to my best and oldest friend I was scared I hated my husband, it was a huge weight off my shoulders.
“All my fears of not being understood vanished as soon as she told me she felt similar. She felt like he never pulled his weight, understood things from her side or showed he cared. Even though we didn’t have any answers, just getting it out there was amazingly cathartic.” Naija, mum to Ada, six months and Zane, 20 months.
Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700.
Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area for support and friendship by seeing what NCT activities are happening nearby.
You might find attending one of NCT’s Early Days groups helpful as they give you the opportunity to explore different approaches to important parenting issues with a qualified group leader and other new parents in your area.
Read further articles on relationships in our dedicated section here.
Relate is a charity providing relationship support throughout the United Kingdom. Services include counselling for couples, families, young people and individuals, sex therapy, mediation and training courses.