Tips for Baby Proofing your Relationship
Erika Stroh of Parent From the Heart, Inc. is a Parent Coach, Educational Consultant, Relationship Counselor. Her background in education and social work, and own personal experience has led her to support families as they navigate the transition to becoming a family. Personal growth and development is critical to the well-being of relationships with yourself and partner. Families experience a range of emotions before, during and after our baby is born. Navigating these ‘uncharted’ waters can be stressful and overwhelming. Erika works with families to know what to expect and how to cope with the inevitable changes as well as the uncertainties that lie ahead, to empower and encourage new families.
The transition of adding a child to your family can seem overwhelming, preparing your relationship for this addition can seem daunting. Erika urges not to shy away from discussing the “hard conversations” with your partner, but to embrace them and have open and honesty in your communications.
Erika’s tips for “baby proofing” your relationship:
- Start the conversations early about the “hard stuff”. Talk about what kind of parent you want to be, what kind of person you want to be, what kind of partnership you want to have. These conversations can be uncomfortable, but not having them can be worse.
- Have realistic expectations of what having a baby is. Talk to honest friends and family that will open up about their struggles. Having a realistic expectation (NOT the Instagram worthy one) is one of the factors in decreasing the chance of suffering from any postpartum mood disorders.
- Turn the outside noise off. Don’t let negative, unsupportive comments into your space (even from well-meaning older relatives). Keep social media to a minimum, the bombardment of everyone else’s daily highlights only increases the chance that you will doubt your ability to “do it all” and being the “perfect parent”.
- Become self aware. Do some self-analyzation on how you handle change and transition. Once you can recognize how you cope with change, you can put into place some routines/measures to decrease your anxiety once this change happens.
- Be aware of both your childhood and your partner’s childhood experiences. Appreciate the differences, and how they shape how you parent.
- To maintain balance – you need to take it day by day. Don’t look too far into the future to judge whether you have achieved the elusive “balance”. Take it one day at a time.
- Meet your own needs, and the needs of the couple, not just needs of the baby. It is important to maintain yourselves in order to best take care of and nurture your baby.
- Support one another. Being supportive of one another as you navigate this transition will deepen your connection.
- All relationships grow. Your relationship will change, and that’s ok. Keep the conversation open about this change.
No matter where you are in your parenthood journey, pregnancy, early postpartum, toddler years, elementary years – it’s never too late to start working on your relationship. There may be a time (like immediately having a baby) that your relationship is put on the back burner, AND THAT’S OK. Just don’t keep it there forever. Eventually, your baby will be sleeping through the night and you WILL be able to have a coherent conversation with your partner.
To find out more about Erika Stroh – visit www.parentfromtheheart.com
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