Juli Auclair talks with an expert about how you can keep your marriage going strong after you bring home your new baby.
Julie: There is a lot to do when you're getting ready for the arrival of your new baby. Childbirth classes, decorating the nursery, buying baby supplies and the list goes on. But sometimes couples forget one of the most important things preparing for how the birth will affect their relationship. Well joining us now is Tracy Cirebon author of 101 Questions for Expectant Parents to explain some of the changes that happen in relationships that couples don’t expect and how you can prepare for them. It's so good to have you here. Tracy: Thank you Julie. Julie: Thank you for coming in. Now, you decided to write this book after you had your baby Zack and realized that your relationship, your marriage to Jeff was changing. Tracy: Yes. Well you know, I've worked his family for over 15 years. So I've been working further down the line when there is lot of baggage in the relationship. Children are filling that baggage. And after I had my son, I had thought we talked about everything before our baby was born since— That’s my specialty but yet since we came home, I realize all the changes and all the different topics we didn’t cover which were causing conflicts and misunderstanding in our relationship. Ad I felt like if this was causing conflicts in our relationship and this is what I do for a living, there’s got to be a whole lot of parents out there who need this information as well. Julie: And they’re definitely are. So, you wrote the book 101 Questions for Expectant Parents. Tell me how it works because I know inside there are a lot of questions that couples should be asking before the baby comes, asking each other and discussing. Tracy: Yes, I created it really as a talking tool because I really wanted to get the dialogue and communication going. I know there are so many parenting books out there where parents are learning all about labor and delivery, how to gear up for bringing the baby into their lives, how to take care of the baby, but very few are talking about the relationship aspects how your relationship is going to change, the transition and how to work as a couple now instead of just being two individuals which is huge. Julie: So let’s go back for a second, you bring the baby home and this is not you but everyone. Everything is fine. It's wonderful. You're happy and then suddenly reality sets in and things start to change. Let’s talk about some of the biggest changes that happened for a couple that they’re not expecting starting with what you just mentioned that you need to go from being two individuals in a marriage to a couple, a team. What does mean exactly? Tracy: Well, that’s huge because to say for one example, when my husband and I brought the baby home, I used to doing one thing. My husband was used to doing another. Now, I've got to count on him and we have to arrange our schedules for who’s picking up the baby. You know they’re going to the sitter. If I've been home all day with the baby say for the first three months, when I took some time off from work and I'm exhausted by the end of the day. Is he going to automatically come home, take care of the baby, give me a break, let me do some laundry, maybe start easing my way back into my career, checking emails and stuff. You’ve got to learn how to work together timing wise, checking over responsibilities because now a baby is 24/7. So, how do you fit a 24/7 full time responsibility into your lives that are already full time? Julie: It's so difficult. Tracy: Yes. Julie: And it takes a lot of back and forth and figuring that out, sleep deprivation can turn your life upside down and your marriage too. Tracy: Yes, sleep deprivation you know everybody hears about that and everybody understands that that’s a component of being a new parent but they don’t really realize the impact of sleep deprivation. And the biggest impact I found for us was that I was so tired and as you’re now hitting conflicts and misunderstandings because you are so caught up with taking care of the baby, maybe you're having breakdowns in communications with your spouse. That sleep deprivation affects that to where you maybe snipping at each other. You’re maybe yelling at each other when you don’t mean to. One person maybe hearing something wrong and that whole sleep deprivation plays into whether you're having a smooth relationship or whether you're having a bumpy relationship. Julie: So you want to talk about it first. Make sure you understand what’s going to happen and what changes you're going to come. This is something a lot of couples don’t want to talk about but it's so important. Intimacy, because you know things are not going to be the same right away. It's going to change. Tracy: Well and you figure that before the baby comes, a lot of times couples aren’t being intimate like the last few weeks. And then obviously, the mom has to go through a period of six to eight weeks where her body is healing. Julie: So now, you’ve got almost a couple of months, three months maybe where you're not being intimate. So, the husband is all ready to jump in to have that connection with his wife and she may not even be ready for it physically or emotionally or mentally. Tracy: So if you’ve spoken about it before, it will make it a lot easier when it actually comes up. Well and you need to talk about the fact that you know what we’re not going to have this time together but could we cuddle, can we hold each other, can we do other things that can maybe keep that connection without it being a total breakdown for that period of time. Julie: And there are so many other changes that a new baby brings including financial. We don’t have time to talk about it right now, but that’s in the book. It's a huge factor and so many others in the book. So, you got to go out and get a copy. Tracy: Yes. Julie: Tracy, thank you so much for coming in raising a lot of important issues and for more information about Tracy’s book, you can go to our website. There you'll find links to her blog and her web radio show. Thanks so much for watching everybody. This is Parents TV and we will see you next time.