The Shock and Awe of New Parenthood

lani-2By Lani Sheldon
Published: Oct. 20, 2013

 

They tell you it will be love at first sight, that you and your partner will spend those first few weeks in awe of this beautiful creature, your baby. This happy exhaustion will only bring you closer together as a family, and as a couple. 

Or not. We thought we had prepared ourselves for our baby: we attended prenatal classes, had amazing midwives, read numerous books and prepared the nursery.

We arranged for my husband to have two weeks off work once baby arrived.  By all accounts we had our parental act together.  We were WRONG.

There were tears, the majority of them from me.  Breastfeeding was excruciatingly difficult.  Sleep was non-existent. My husband slept in another room so that he didn’t look like Voldemort in the morning. In my fragile emotional state I felt abandoned and alone. 

I knew that I needed help with baby, but couldn’t let go of control enough to accept assistance, even from my own husband.

In the eye of the storm I was allowing my husband to do so little that he became completely and unequivocally bored; so much so that he went back to work early.

We had no idea how to allocate our parenting duties between us.  It had never occurred to us that we should discuss this beforehand. 

How would we split up the workload and ensure that we both were allowed some independent child-free time to take a breather?  What little things could we do to make sure we were not at each other’s throats?  When was I going to get to take an uninterrupted shower???

It is no wonder that 69 per cent of new parents experience conflict, disappointment or hurt feelings.  Postpartum hormones are only the start of it.  I now know why Britney Spears went a little loopy and shaved her head…she had kids

Enter the Bringing Baby Home workshop series.  Provided for FREE by the United Way and Putting Children First Initiative, this innovative course developed by Drs. John and Julie Gottman teaches new and expectant couples how to connect with their partners and strengthen their relationship during this challenging (and sometimes traumatic) time in their lives.

Facilitated by Public Health Nurse Julia Wayatt Attridge, this course helps couples learn how to deal with conflict and keep both parents involved.

Who knows, things may have turned out differently had Britney and K-Fed taken the Bringing Baby Home workshop.

The 2-day Bringing Baby Home workshop is being offered in Squamish (Oct 26/27 and Dec 7/8), Whistler (Jan 11/12) and Pemberton (Nov 23/24).  For more information and to pre-register, email bbh.squamish@gmail.com.