The Family Business News
  • From Couple to Parents
  • Kelley Shields
  • family lifemilestonesparentingtransitions
From Couple to Parents

The transition from being a couple to becoming parents--and a family--can be as daunting as it is rewarding. Some obvious but gigantic shifts have to do with basic personal time, like the care of your own body, which quickly becomes a thing of your distant past--ha ha!

All kidding aside, with a new baby (or babies) around you will likely find yourself caring for their physical and emotional needs first which will leave you--and your relationship--standing in line, waiting for your turn, feeling like there is no imminent change on the horizon. 

But don't despair! It does get easier. Adjustments that come over time pave the way for the new relationships--to each other as a couple, to yourselves as individuals and to your child--to reveal themselves. A terrific article I recently read from Psychology Today by Dr. Shauna Springer titled, Marital Happiness and the Transition to Parenthood examines this topic, postulating that the strength of the pre-existing marriage or partnership will determine the texture of the adjustment experience.

I will say straight off though, if family or friends that you trust know their stuff ever offer to come by and watch the baby for a bit so you can rest, shower or go out, say YES! Stepping back from the helm for awhile will do wonders for your stamina and emotional presence.

Brian and I had ten years to ourselves before we started our family. Those years were often wonderful and sometimes challenging, not unlike most relationships I imagine. The years before becoming parents naturally afforded us quite a bit of time and space to ourselves and I admit the change was abrupt as it is not something one can imagine really, how all encompassing both the love and the commitment to another being will feel.

With our first child I remember 0-12 months as being fairly blissful. She was born with perfect health and had a wonderful appetite so she thrived without issue. I was breastfeeding her so there was not too much hassle with the preparation of formula or washing of bottles. Keeping me well-fed and hydrated was something Brian took very seriously. His attention to my health, as I was sustaining hers, was a big part of the new relationship that existed between both he and I as a couple and between the three of us as a family.

Once children begin walking a new set of adjustments regarding their safety presents and I remember this transition being particularly taxing. There are more things within your home or apartment that a child can pull down on themselves or get into than you'd have thought, so for me, life took on a texture other than entirely blissful once this milestone was reached. But like the shift from couple to family, having a toddler on my hands just took some getting used to.

Eventually my anxieties shifted and were replaced by an even more expansive relationship with our daughter, seeing things at her eye level, crouched down beside and behind her as she began to navigate her world.

  • Kelley Shields
  • family lifemilestonesparentingtransitions

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