One of my clients recently had a baby, and a few months ago she said something to the effect of, “My husband and I are really trying, but even so, it’s really hard to know what’s going on with each other! How on earth do couples stay connected after having a baby?”
Such a great question! That sense of not really knowing what’s going on with your partner is one of the main things that can drive disconnection in the immediate months and years after a baby enters a family.
Becoming a parent is such a massive life change for each person that it will predictably bring up a flood of new and intense emotions, new types of thoughts, and new desires or wishes — though you certainly cannot predict what this new stream of experiences will be. And if all that new stuff is going on inside, you can bet that both people start acting differently — perhaps strangely — on the outside. This is where the lessons of mindfulness can be helpful.
Having our beloved start to act in ways that we don’t understand tends to trigger negative judgments and reactions in us. If it were a mathematical formula, it would be: Confusion + Lack of sleep + Overwhelm = Judgmental Reactivity. This is definitely not a formula that keeps couples connected and close, which is a shame since this is a time when everyone needs support more than ever.