All mums experience an intense emotional and physical transformation during pregnancy and the first year of a baby’s life, but for a significant proportion of us, this can lead on to full blown depression and anxiety and for a very small number, postnatal psychosis. The Baby Blues are a common expression for what happens to approximately 80% of all mums around the third to tenth day after birth. Because it is so common and temporary, we do not associate the Baby Blues as being a mental illness, but rather a natural state that is sure to pass once we settle into our new role as mothers. Symptoms include exhaustion, tearfulness, mood fluctuations, anxiety and irritability. Baby blues is thought to occur as a result of hormonal changes during pregnancy, the labour, breast feeding and lack of sleep.
Tricia* just realized that her husband, Kent*, doesn't want children, and she does. Emotionally it's hard for her to accept. Doubt start creeping into her mind: should spell the end of the marriage? While they did not have clear plan about having children, but Kent had made some indication that gave her the impression that he wanted children too. Why have he changed his mind?
*Not their real name
The arrival of a child or children marked a new stage in a couple’s journey. Embarking in Parenthood is definitely a huge transition – priorities shift, roles are redefined, and the balance between freedom and responsibility undergoes a massive overhaul. All these are necessary to ensure that the child(ren) received the best care possible. Some couples described this stage as shifting sands where each day present new challenges and they have to decide and redefine.
For some couples, after this initial stage of transition, romance starts working its way back into their lives and they start gravitating towards each other again. However, for others, they slowly wander off onto 2 separate paths of estrangement. This is why many couples identify “having children” as the point when their relationship starts to fall apart when they show up for couple therapy.
Why are some couples able to find their way back to each other while others can’t? Obviously a lot of that have to do with the pre-child(ren) relationship of the couple but let’s look at some of the challenges parenthood brings and what couples need to do to overcome that:
Ms Ho Shee Wai