Electing to have a baby or unexpectedly falling pregnant involves changes to all aspects of life. Although some people seek to have a baby on their own (using donor conception), the majority of people choose this next stage of life within the context of a relationship.
When couples embark on the conception journey, they may be surprised at the time it takes to fall pregnant, and may turn to fertility treatment in order to conceive. This can be stressful. Some couples find themselves pregnant before they feel 'ready' to have a baby, or may be at different levels of readiness.
Pregnancy and birth can be stressful, with morning sickness, worries about the health of the baby and mother, or an unexpectedly difficult birth. Other life stressors may occur at the time of pregnancy or when a baby comes along.
If pre-existing relationship issues have not been addressed, the birth of a baby can add further strain to the relationship, and negative spirals of communication can ensue. The couple relationship may also be strained by the relentlessness of caring for an infant, sleep deprivation, differing opinions about parenting, anxiety, stress, depression, income changes, communication difficulties, and differences in roles and responsibilities at this new stage of life.
Physical intimacy may have waned or may be non-existent. This is not a problem unless it is a problem for one or both people in the couple. However, if this also results in a loss of emotional connection it may take a toll on the relationship.
When couples wish to work on their relationship, address hurts, challenges or differences, or negotiate roles and responsibilities, couples therapy can be useful.
Please note that all of our psychologists see couples in the context of perinatal loss and pregnancy decision-making. Specific couples therapy for addressing relationship problems is provided by Anna Costello or by couples therapists suggested by your GP or psychologist.