Having a baby is a major life event. Adding another member to your life creates a time of transition. And transitions tend to be times where we get tossed off of our equilibrium.
Adding a child puts a strain on even the steadiest and most secure relationships.
It's for this reason that makes it important to consider pre-baby marriage counseling. Couples counseling can be a way to strengthen the relational bond in your marriage and prepare for the challenges ahead.
Here are a few other reasons why counseling can be crucial for a healthy relationship before having a baby.
Reason #1 For Couples Counseling Before Having a Baby: Change
Perhaps the greatest reason to participate in couples counseling prior to having a kid is because of the amount of transition that having a baby will force upon your marriage or relationship.
Parenthood is filled with changes. Both physically and emotionally. Counseling can help couples understand how they deal with some of the stress that comes with having a baby.
The transition period after having a child can create a dramatic shift in emotions. One or both members of the couple may experience some or all of the "joys" that comes with parenthood, such as sleep deprivation, increased anxiety, financial stress, and changes in roles and responsibilities. There is often a change to the level of emotional intimacy of the parents, as well as to the sexual relationship.
It is common for emotional dysregulation, conflict, and even resentment to creep into the relationship.
By discussing these issues beforehand, couples can learn how to manage their emotional pain cycles and develop a greater intimacy for the journey of parenthood.
Counseling can also help couples identify any underlying issues in their relationship that may be exacerbated by the stress of having a baby, and work through them before they become bigger problems. Pre-baby counseling can help couples prepare for the challenges of parenthood and develop strategies for coping with stress and changes in their relationship.
Reason #2 For Couples Counseling Before Having a Baby: Address Any Existing Relationship Issues
Everyone comes into a relationship with their own story. Each individual has their own experiences from childhood. Each person has their own history of past relationships — romantic and non-romantic.
We carry these past individual experiences into our committed romantic relationships. The positive and the negative.
And we will often respond to our partner or spouse out of some of the emotional distress or pain from coping behaviors we picked up in earlier years.
This can create a lot of baggage in a relationship and marriage.
It is often a good idea to have an understanding of what types of issues are present in the relationship and work to resolve them prior to injecting more points of potential conflict in the form of a baby. By addressing these issues before the baby arrives, couples can reduce the likelihood of these issues escalating and causing further strain on the relationship.
Reason #3 For Couples Counseling Before Having a Baby: Learn Effective Communication Techniques
I regularly tell couples that I work with that communication requires effort even in the best of times." Even when things are going well, successful communication requires some effort.
Well, being awake at 2am to take care of a crying baby is certainly not "the best of times."
Effective communication is key to a healthy relationship, especially when it comes to parenting.
Pre-baby marriage counseling can help couples learn and practice effective communication techniques, such as active listening, expressing emotions in a non-threatening way, and using "I" statements instead of "you" statements.
These skills can help couples navigate disagreements and conflicts in a constructive way, reducing the likelihood of arguments and misunderstandings. By learning these skills before the baby arrives, couples can establish a strong foundation for effective communication and problem-solving as they navigate the challenges of parenthood together.
Reason #4 For Couples Counseling Before Having a Baby: Discuss Parenting Styles and Expectations
Participating in counseling prior to having a baby provides an opportunity for couples to discuss their parenting styles and expectations. Having guided and open conversations around important topics like discipline, routines, and other aspects of parenting can be so valuable.
Couples can learn how to successfully communicate when reaching a point of conflict by discussing these topics before the baby arrives. And it will benefit the entire family later on.
Additionally, pre-baby marriage counseling can help couples identify any potential areas of disagreement and work together to find solutions that work for both partners. This can help couples feel more confident and prepared as they embark on the journey of parenthood together.
Reason #5 For Couples Counseling Before Having a Baby: Create a Plan for Maintaining Your Relationship After Baby Arrives
Research done back in 2011 revealed that nearly 70% of couples shared a decline in relational satisfaction after adding a child to the family.
That is a startling statistic.
Couples counseling prior to the arrival of a new baby should not just be about preparing for the arrival of a new baby. It also should be about preparing for how the baby’s arrival will impact and change the relationship of the parents.
The greatest gift that a child can have is a set of parents who are satisfied with their relationship.
Couples can discuss the needs of the relationship through relationship counseling. They can be guided through conversations about what they are looking forward to with the addition to their family — as well as what they will miss.
Plans can be made for setting boundaries around date nights, as well as open communication around how the couple’s sex life will be impacted by the baby.
And, yes, there will be a change in the amount of physical and emotional intimacy for the couple when a baby arrives.
But that change does not have to be bad. And you have a say in how much impact the changes have on the relationship.
By prioritizing the relationship and working together, couples can navigate the challenges of parenthood and feel stronger and more emotionally connected than ever before.
Prepare to Keep the Relationship Strong Through Couples Therapy at Wellspace Counseling
You want to have a strong and healthy relationship before bringing a new baby into your family. Jason Wilkinson at Wellspace Counseling can help guide you to having the stable and intimate relationship you crave.
Wellspace Counseling in Tigard, Oregon can provide therapy to individuals and couples in Tigard, Tualatin, Lake Oswego, and Portland. Online therapy can also be used for those who live in other areas throughout the state of Oregon.
OTHER COUNSELING SERVICES
Couples therapy is not the only type of service available at Wellspace Counseling in Tigard, Oregon. Some other services you might be interested in include: