3 feeling like a crowd?
Feeling like three’s a crowd now your baby is here? Here are some tips to help
Before you had a baby both of you might have thought little would change emotionally between the two of you when your little one comes along. But the truth is that a baby is a person, and you’ve now gone from a one-on-one couple where ‘two is company’ to ‘three’s a crowd’. Ok so it’s not a romantic context but how do you stop each other feeling like a gooseberry?
Imagine if it was an adult moving in. What if your partner arrived home one day to announce “I love you so much I’ve decided to take another spouse! They’re a bit younger than you so you’ll have to help them learn the ropes. In fact, until they’ve really bedded in I’ll be spending most of my time with them. And I’ll be telling all my friends and relatives how marvellous they are. I probably won’t have much time for you…” Sounds ridiculous but that is how some parents find themselves feeling. You’ll need to make special efforts to make sure your three-person family feels loving, supportive and inclusive for all of you.
Triangles are usually bad news in relationships. Any counsellor will tell you, couples usually stand side by side and support each other, but put another person into the equation and someone is likely to feel left out. It’s natural for everyone involved to play the game of siding with one, then the other. Look around and you’ll see many sad examples of mothers making their child the only person they love, or fathers, or a couple being distant to a child because their relationship is the only one they prize. Sadly, research shows disagreements, arguments and even domestic violence is more common when a baby comes along.
This is especially so if all the focus is on the mother – if relatives and friends talk about her being pregnant and concentrate their congratulations and care on the mother alone.
So, what can you do?
Firstly, make a point of telling everyone it’s not that I or She who has become a mum, but You as in both of you. You as a unit, two of you, are the ones who share your baby. That goes if you are a couple with a surrogate mother carrying the baby, or a couple when one of you is bearing a child unrelated to the other; this is your child…both of yours.
Keep paying each other attention, as two individuals as well as prospective parents. You’re still lovers, still important to each other and the baby is joining you, not ousting one of you.
Talk. Keep communicating with each other. If you feel in any way put in the corner, don’t complain – whinging is never attractive nor effective. Simply put yourself back in the picture in a positive way.
Plan. Come up with ideas of the things you will do together, the things you will go on doing as a loving couple and discuss ways of getting yourself R&R around being caring, sharing parents.
Bounty “Sex & Relationship” articles are written by expert Suzie Hayman. Suzie is agony aunt for Woman magazine, a Relate trained counsellor, and an accredited TripleP (Positive Parenting Programme) parenting educator. She makes frequent appearances on TV and radio and as well as writing 31 books, Suzie writes features on parenting, relationships, sex and couples counselling, for a wide range of national magazines and newspapers