How therapy can help keep relationships healthy after a new baby

June 7th, 2022

With a new baby at home, it’s normal that other relationships—like the ones with your spouse, partner, friends and others—have changed. It makes sense. After all, your transformation into a parent is one of the biggest changes you will face in your life.

Your relationship with your partner is also going through a huge transition. Issues like sleep deprivation, financial challenges and more can lead to tension in even the strongest relationship.

“Having a child, whether it be a first child or adding to the family, changes the whole composition of the family,” says psychiatrist Dr. Aron S. Wolf, Senior Mental Health Consultant at Teladoc Health. Finding time as a couple to address shifting needs and worries can help you weather these changes.

One helpful strategy, says Dr. Wolf, is for both partners to take some time to think about what issues are causing the most personal strain. Write your issues down, then take some time to share the lists with one another so your concerns are out in the open. Schedule follow-up time to make sure you are, as a couple, working to ease these concerns.

Besides your relationship with your partner, you may also feel relationships with your peers shifting. “This is a new stage of life for the parents, and thus a new stage of life in how they relate with their friends,” says Dr. Wolf. Some friends, especially the ones who have babies themselves, may feel closer. Other relationships may become more challenging. And timewise, it can just be hard to schedule time for being social.

“A ‘new parent’ is still a person in their own right, and they need to begin to establish this phase of their life,” says Dr. Wolf. Whether it’s time out with friends or time alone, if that’s what you need—it’s important to make sure you have some space apart from the baby. “Having a baby is a total transition in the life of a family,” says Dr. Wolf. It can take some readjustment period to help the “new you” blend with the parts of your life that existed before.

If it feels like you can’t step away from your responsibilities at home, look for those you can lean on for support. Accept help offered by grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends and, of course, your partner.

Your routines have changed, no doubt. But the relationships that have nurtured you in the past are still an important part of your life. Helping those relationships to evolve will benefit you for years to come.

One-on-one emotional support can help you get through the challenges of postpartum life. Teladoc offers online therapy services on your schedule. Talk with experts by phone or video at a time that works best for you. Get support for a wide range of mental health needs like anxiety, stress, depression or just not feeling like yourself.