Becoming a parent changes your relationship with your spouse. The changes often begin before the baby arrives. All marriages will change to some degree. Some of the changes may be good and others not so good.
You may find that your husband becomes more concerned about your well being. He may express concern about pregnancy symptoms, your general health or the well being of the baby. Some men become very protective of their wives when they are carrying a baby.
Most couples find that their conversations change when they are expecting a baby. Maybe your conversations used to be about politics, movies and current events. Increasingly, they will be about birth, buying baby gear, names for the baby and even how you will raise your child. This change will get even more pronounced after the baby arrives.
The conversations may not all be pleasant. Since you are both thinking individuals, it is likely that you will disagree on a variety of topics related to parenting. If you spend some of your time during pregnancy reading and discussing your parenting philosophy, you may find you have very different ideas about how to raise your little one.
Initially these disagreements may be about the birth of the baby. You may want a home birth but your husband fears for the safety of you and the baby and wants you to go to a hospital. Other early disagreements couples sometimes have to navigate center around feeding and sleeping, since this is what newborns do most of the time. Breastfeeding vs. bottle or sleeping in your room vs. the baby’s own room are common topics that can cause disharmony.
This is a good time to practice discussing disagreements in a respectful way. Talking to each other with respect and attempting to find common ground is good for your marriage and will set the tone for how you parent your child together. There is a tendency for mothers to feel they are the main caregiver, so they should make the rules. However, if you approach disagreements with respect, it will prevent power struggles that can damage your relationship.
It is easy to get wrapped up in the pregnancy and the baby after the birth. However, it is important to make time for each other as well. This is not always easy, especially in the early months but it is important. Make a date and ask Grandma to come watch the baby. Most are thrilled to have a bit of time with the baby. If this is not possible, make time for a mini date at night after the baby is asleep.
Taking the time to nurture your marriage now will benefit your baby later. Researchers at the Administration for Children and Families found several benefits for children when mom and dad have a healthy marriage. The kids of married parents in the research study tend to be more successful in school and are more likely to attend college. The kids had a lower rate of teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol use, delinquency and had fewer behavioral problems. These trends held true for children with parents in a healthy marriage. Check out more information here: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/healthymarriage/benefits/index.html