Pressures of Parenthood
Can Break Partners Apart
By Frank Kermit
Our society likes to paint pictures of parenthood as a wonderful world of laughter, solemn moments shared between parents, and between parents and their children. The jokes about all those things that make parenting a frantic experience sometimes seem to be brushed away as just exaggeration designed to elicit laughter. Behind that comedy however, is a terrible truth. It is hard work to be a parent. Couples, who are not capable of handling the pressures that come with new parenthood, can sometimes make the mistake of taking their frustrations out on each other, and seriously jeopardize the future of their family relationships.
Experts claim that the best thing to do is simply get your kids into a routine as early as possible. This is very helpful indeed...however, what happens when your baby is not routine friendly? Some newborns fall in with a steady routine, but there are those that do not. Not every child maintains normal sleep cycles.
New parents may be secretly struggling to function at their jobs, supporting family and friends and being a parent on almost little or no sleep. If both parents are working, that also means that two people are suffering during infancy years, and if daycare calls saying your kid is sick and has to stay home...somebody may to have to deal with an annoyed employer.
If either of the couple has any unresolved issues with their own past childhood, those issue can surely surface in the face of absolute exhaustion and in the process of dealing with a new stage in life, in adopting the mantel of mommy or daddy. Having a child can easily trigger long buried traumas to reemerge, as a person starts to relive their own upbringing, as they attempt to relate to the newness of how a newborn first discovers the world.
If there is one thing I hate to see in my practice, it is young families break up within the first years of a child's life. Ironically, those children where brought into the world from love; a love that may still exist underneath the resentment between partners that has festered in part due to a couples inability to deal with the new pressures of parenthood, and blaming their pain on each other.
There is no point in talking about being prepared before a baby comes into the family. No matter how prepared you are (and it is a good idea to buy as many baby related supplies ahead of time as possible) you will likely not be ready for the sheer exhaustion that awaits new parents. So instead of trying to be ready to be good parents, it might be a good idea to also try remaining a good partner in your relationship. One of the ways to do that is to remember that you are both struggling right now, and the lack of love you might be experiencing is part of a process that could just be temporary, and that in fact, could very well lead to an even deeper kind of love and commitment because your partner and you have your most important interest in common: the best interest of your children.
FRANK KERMIT MA
EXPERT RELATIONSHIP COACH
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