If it feels like you’re having more difficulties with your partner these days, this is normal. In fact most divorces/splits happen within the first year after the baby is born. Instead of alarming you, you can use this information to empower yourself. You can acknowledge that this is a difficult time for your relationship.
Being aware that there are likely going to be very tense and challenging moments in that first year can help you both manage your relationship with care.
There are many, many reasons this happens. One is that sleep deprivation prevents the amygdala (a part of your brain) from regulating emotions with neutrality. Being sleep deprived just makes you angrier.
It’s our tricky brains at play again -- it’s not your fault or your partner’s fault. But it is something to be aware of, so we can catch ourselves or our partners when we notice we’re being less kind to each other.
A new mom may also experience strong feelings of protectiveness and react in extreme ways to potential threats. Even our partners may feel like a potential threat to us, whether they actually are or not. This can put a lot of strain on a relationship, which is also important to be aware of.
Finally, you and your partner may both be struggling during this time. About 10% of partners experience postpartum depression, and there is also little support in place for them.
Things that can help:
Sharing what you’re learning in these sessions with your partner -- or better yet, ask your partner to do the sessions with you. Learning some of the techniques from the course may help you feel better and become stronger communicators.
Knowing that sleep deprivation can affect how we experience things, try not to react in the moment, and instead raise issues when you are both feeling calm. You can explain this to your partner, and ask them to do the same.
When you encounter a problem, rather than being on different sides, try to put the problem in front of you as something you can solve together. You can both listen to the sessions on communication for ideas on how to do this.
Try to remain open to the possibility that you may be perceiving the same event very differently.
Remember the important thing is not whether or not there are challenges, but how we respond to them.