83 percent of couples end up in a relationship crisis after the birth of their first child. I read the news headline out loud to my friend as we sat watching the dining room table eating spinach soup. With a tummy horn, he was a little bored that the baby was still not there. He replied, “Well, that won’t happen to us, we are a team.” ‘In fact, We get this,’ I added. And that was the end of it. There are no conversations about how we’re going to handle it, how we’re going to make time together or what we’re going to do if we notice sleep deprivation is pulling us apart. Oh how naive we were.
Perhaps it was the same with all the other couples in that 83 percent who, after the birth of their first child, were blown off a rosy postpartum cloud. Because once the love for your baby develops after birth, the love for each other can fade during this intense baby time. It turns out that my boyfriend and I are not such a “team” at all and we directly intervened in the so-called relationship crisis from the moment our son was born. In all those years without a baby, we’ve never had as many arguments as in the first year with a baby. We yelled at each other, yelled at each other (“Don’t yell in front of the baby!!”), fought, we didn’t have enough sex, and argued about the fact that we yelled and didn’t “didn’t have enough sex.” I thought it was good timing. For the crisis, just as we had a baby together and thus committed ourselves to each other for the rest of our lives. How many times have I thought: Was having a baby together a good idea? Did we really fit in? Now, almost two years later, it’s still sometimes hard with having a baby An energetic little guy with a mind of his own at home.But the nerves calmed down again, we fell asleep again, the hormones cleared my body and the thunderclouds above our heads disappeared.I got the divorce attorney’s number off my phone again.
Unfortunately, this does not apply to all couples. Just look at the local and foreign celebrities who pulled the plug on their relationship, while getting a little celebrity together. Katya Schurman and Freak Bartels separated while their daughter, Coco Lulu, was less than a year and a half old at the time. Or what about Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik, who ended their relationship a year after Khai was born?
Childhood and time with young children can sometimes have such an impact on your relationship that it simply means the end of a marriage. For example, you may identify with a side of your partner that you don’t like at all. This was also the case with Mirthi (32). “Robin and I had been together for about three years when I was pregnant with our son. We were thrilled when we found out. We wanted to have kids together. After a difficult pregnancy, we were initially very happy when our son was born at the end of 2017. Robin had taken three weeks off From work. It was an amazing time. Our son slept so well, we did everything together and really felt like family. Until (Robin) went back to work.” Our son became a crying baby and wouldn’t sleep. He just wanted to comfort me because I was with him the whole time. He simply did not accept Robin. Because of this, I showed up all night and had to go out literally twelve times a night. I was completely exhausted for several months. Robin became very nervous about the whole situation and reacted with impatience and anger. For example, while I carried a crying baby in the carrier all day, he would get mad at me if I forgot to run an errand. He also did not have patience with our child. It became very insecure. When I went through it all, he never, for example, offered to take a few days off work and help me out. That was not possible for him. Suddenly I saw a very selfish side of him. It was also as if he could no longer give love, as if he no longer knew how to do it. He never hugged or kissed me again, even when I indicated that I needed him. We completely broke up with each other and the love between us completely faded away. My bones became weak and I couldn’t sleep even with sleeping pills. We went to couples therapy together, but it was already too late. I became very unhappy at the thought of having to spend the rest of my life with him. A year and a half after our son was born, I told him I wanted a divorce. He responded very practically. The divorce was finalized within a week.
Divorce rates have been on the rise for years. According to Statistics Netherlands, approximately 40 percent of marriages currently end in divorce. This proportion is expected to rise to 50% among all parents in the future. In 2021, parents of 24,334 children divorced after marriage. Additionally, there are an estimated 20,000 children each year whose parents separate without ever marrying. This is increasingly happening in couples with children under the age of four. According to the American psychologist and researcher John Gottman, a third of young parents break up before the older child is three years old. The Dutch characters do not know about this, but this already indicates that the tropical season with young children puts a real bomb in your relationship.
Suzanne Donders, relationship and family therapist and co-author of Book Have a Baby and Stay Happy Together, Approves. The first time with a baby, but also the first years with young children, is a huge challenge for couples. You both have to make room for a new relationship with your child, but also for a new relationship with each other as parents. As partners, you basically lose out: you’re busier and you also have to adjust more to each other. Lack of sleep for months or even years also makes you a less fun version of yourself: Humor and perspective are the first to come out of the house. This seems very logical, but is it really so bad that a good relationship can go downhill so quickly in such a short period of time? This period requires a lot of mental flexibility. You suddenly get much less attention and love from your partner and this often leads to fights and complaints. Often there is no time for each other to fix this and make up for it or it hardly has any priority. But your past can also play a role in whether you get pregnant together, Donders explains. “These big changes are better for people who have grown up with enough love and trust and who have a positive self-image to trade Of people who have been hurt in important relationships, such as their parents or ex-partners. If you have enough confidence in your relationship, you can put yourself in the shoes of your equally tired partner and you will be less likely to get upset.
single in your relationship
Myriam, 35, still had that confidence in her relationship when things didn’t go well, but unfortunately her ex-husband Sebastian did not. “Sebastian and I were together for three years before our daughter was born, five years ago now,” Myriam says. We laughed a lot together, did interesting things, and communicated very well with each other. In the months since our daughter was born, I still feel pretty good. After that, Sebastian said that he felt lonely in the first six months after giving birth. He thought I paid so much attention to her and kind of forgot about her. But we talked about this at length at the time and it all came back to calm waters. When our daughter was three years old, we deliberately chose a second child and she became pregnant in our son. Unfortunately, at the same time Miriam hears that her mother is very ill. As a kind of survival mechanism, I crawled into my shell and transformed into myself. Every night after I put our daughter to bed, I’d spend the rest of the evening in our bedroom lying on the bed relaxing – he sat downstairs. Besides, I was tired of being pregnant. We also had to really raise our daughter and our different backgrounds and perspectives came to the fore in this. Naturally, this caused conflict. Our relationship increasingly deteriorated during my second pregnancy. After our son was born in early 2018, I also had a hernia, which meant I could barely take care of him. Meanwhile my mother was still seriously ill and Sebastian was beginning to pull me closer and closer. He wanted to help me and was constantly looking for closeness, but above all I needed peace and space and I wasn’t going to let him. I just can’t. Because he couldn’t reach me, he felt helpless and felt even more lonely than after the birth of his first child. We just stopped understanding each other at a certain point. Eleven months after our son was born, he told me he wanted a divorce. It was totally stressful, and so was I. Myriam supports his decision, even though it was not hers. I basically thought: I can’t make such a big decision right now. After all, these are tropical years and who knows, everything will be fine when these years are over. But he couldn’t take it anymore, and I understand that.
past vs now
You could say that the above problems happened as often with our parents and grandparents as they do in today’s society. However, nowadays more (young) parents sign divorce papers than before. Donders: “We have generally become more demanding when it comes to love and relationships. We really want an emotional connection with someone, and that in itself is only positive. In the past, we were more closely related to each other through economic and other dependencies. Among couples with young children, fatigue and insecurity alone lead to more conflicts than at other stages of life. People often come to the “wrong” conclusion very quickly: we don’t get along with each other. But in many cases, it has to do with the temporary stresses that come with having a young child in the house. So, ask yourself what your relationship was like before you had a baby and if you notice that there are times when things are just as usual. Seriously think about it, get help if you can’t break out of the patterns and take the time to decide if it’s really best to break up.
happily ever after
It is no coincidence that in 2015 a number of divorce experts, educators and lawyers wrote a joint urgent letter to Dutch municipalities that prospective parents should take a course to learn what parenthood entails, even before the first child is born. Donders also advocates for better preparation for parenthood: “Not only do you deal with all the purchases, arrangements, and physical preparation for childbirth, but also talk about your expectations about fatherhood and life as a family.” Don’t bother out on social media; It will just be an intense time. If you realize that, get ready for it together and get ready, you can have more fun after your baby is born.
Parenting course? This doesn’t sound like a bad idea even if for the sake of more awareness. relational struggles Those who come to see Parenthood really surprised me and I see it with fellow moms around me too. Fortunately, I now know what to expect with a potential new baby. When my boyfriend and I fight against each other again with sacks below sea level, I use my spell again: it’s fááse.
This article originally appeared in VIVA Mama.
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