Can having a baby bring a couple closer, or ruin a marriage? Find out more on this topic, including what Couples Therapist Winifred Ling has to say...
We've all heard of the married couple on the brink of separation who think having a baby will save their marriage. But can having a baby really strengthen a couple's relationship, or drive them to leave each other?
We spoke to Winifred Ling -- the director of W3ave Pte Ltd and Psychologist and Couples Therapist at Promises Pte Ltd -- about the matter.
Following are our questions to Winifred and her answers.
Will having a baby improve one's marriage? How so?
The answer to this question is “it depends”. Depends on what you may ask? Primarily, it depends on the quality and strength of the couple’s relationship before the baby arrives.
Few events stress marriage more than the addition of a new member. No matter how positive the event is, transition to parenthood is accompanied by anxiety and emotional reactivity.
Parenthood is ever evolving and changing and that makes it even more challenging because just as you think you've mastered a stage, the baby decides to change things up and you are back to square one.
Now, what does the research say about this phenomenal transition?
One common thread across different studies that researchers have agreed on is that relationship satisfaction tends to decrease when the couple has their first child.
Many new parents are not prepared for the massive changes that happen during the transition from 2 family members, to 3.
The changes that they experience include increased stress and strains, altered values and goals, shifts in roles, diminished communication due to fatigue and lack of time and increased hostility and resentment.
Physical changes that happen can be equally or more difficult. Some of these, for example, are:
- Increased fatigue;
- Weaker immune system;
- Residual discomfort from pregnancy and childbirth;
- A change in body image;
- Lowered sexual desires; and
- Mood changes such as sadness, anxiety and depression.
Some women are also susceptible to post natal depression that compounds the difficulty in managing the newborn.
More from Winifred on the next page...