The arrival of children can be a big challenge, impacting relationships as it introduces significant changes into your day-to-day emotional and physical life.  

Each partner has their own expectations and assumptions about the impact a child will have and how it will affect them during the early stages of parenthood.

Keeping up communication

Expectant parents benefit from communicating these feelings and expectations during their pregnancy and start the transformation from partnership to parenting. 

Commitment to your relationship is important. Understanding feelings and sharing them with your partner is crucial for the health of relationships. Being sensitive to each other’s emotions and feelings is key to understanding each other. 

Most fathers have very clear picture of their roles and responsibility as a provider, protector and lover. A new role, involving paying close attention to your partner’s emotions, will allow you to respond with empathy.  

If you understand each other’s emotions it will be much easier to learn new skills about being parents. Together, it is easier to be aware of and solve some of the more complex issues that can arise like anxiety and post-natal depression.

Maternal emotional and physical changes during pregnancy and following child birth impacts the nature of intimacy and relationships. Both parents’ awareness and openness to discuss the topic will reduce the parental stresses in these important early stages. 

Things to remember

  • Keep communication open and work together to develop a new pattern of time together. 
  • Both parents need to take care of themselves while the family’s focus is on caring for their baby. Planning is important for taking time out for yourself or with your partner.  
  • New parents need to have space to welcome their baby into their lives and an opportunity to establish the healthy dynamics in their relationship.  
  • Enjoy the support of grandparents and extended family. 

Want to know more?

Pregnancy, birth and baby – Post natal depression 

Partners to parents  

The Raising Children Network – Grown ups 

Beyond Blue – Pregnancy and new parents 

Relationship services