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Advice For New Parents

Updated: May 30, 2023

Let’s take a quick look into the areas of your life that may have taken a hard hit after the arrival of your precious little love.

Income/financials, sex life, motivation, friendships, sporting commitments, fitness, career, family, alone time, hobbies/passions, social events, self-esteem, and studies, just to name a few.

Under any normal circumstances, if those things had come to a seemingly abrupt end, all at once, our entire life as we knew it would be dishevelled and that could bring great trauma.

Loss of identity

Did you know it isn’t uncommon for most of us to experience a significant feeling of loss in one or many of those areas when we become parents? Many of those things awarded us connection, certainty, growth, significance, contribution, achievement, and the feeling of oneself.

Self-love check-in

Guess what a key ingredient to a successful relationship is – our relationship with ourselves! It’s no wonder that when you remove (even temporarily) the key things that gave a man or woman a feeling of self, this may impact the partnership. Feelings of resentment, regret, unfairness and rebellion are typically expressed throughout my work with families. When we look at the loss of self, it’s no wonder these feelings may surface.

Expert tips for navigating parenthood

Balancing joy and loss in parenthood

Parenting is FULL on, you will experience both the greatest GIFT but, with that may also come a sense of loss, especially for those who don’t feel that automatic bond with their baby.

Understand that you may feel more fulfilled than ever but may still feel like your identity has taken a significant shift. It may take you and your partner some time to recognise one another again.

Coping with the demands of early parenting

Young babies are physically, emotionally and mentally draining. Their naps will lessen, you will get to stay for dinners once more, and you will find your feet and have time to re-engage in the activities that made you, YOU! For now, don’t compare to how you or your partner used to be.

Connecting with your partner after becoming parents

Find new things to appreciate in one another. You must keep your eyes open for the small things, the small gestures and I encourage you both to commit to making one or two small gestures weekly. Then I encourage the receiver to notice it. One note, cup of tea, text, chore, and night off cooking.

The date night drowned when the village collapsed, and we need to be real of the limited amount of resources parents have these days. Find other ways to appreciate and connect with one another.

Losing the 'spark' in parenthood

Losing the “spark” doesn’t mean you chose the wrong person. It means shit got real and let me tell you something comforting. 99% of other parents are wondering where it went also. The spark is a chemical reaction and no matter who you chose at some point it usually turns into a teeny tiny little light at the end of a tunnel called life. It typically stops lighting up the whole room and simply turns into a choice you make each day to get through the tunnel together. Can you do things to keep it? Of course. Will you have the energy, time and motivation to do that in the early parenting years? Possibly not.

So my advice here is to team up together instead. Change what you are looking for, for a while, and instead of romance, look for comradery, for example. Know that the early years are taxing. Of course, it’s not to say as they get older, they won't face hardship, but the energy physically and emotionally required, paired with a new identity in self during the early years, is quite the journey.

Words of encouragement for fathers

Here’s one for primarily the Mums (of course not always but I’ve worked with thousands of families to date, so I feel that my generalisation is warranted). Sorry ladies, I do have a great love for you, but this has to be said, even though it might hurt!

Based on my experience, I have found that fathers who are eager to do the right thing often stop trying or become disengaged due to a loss of confidence or lack of encouragement to keep going. Each time they “do it wrong”, especially when it comes to the baby, or each time you take over, their confidence and enthusiasm take a hit.

Listen, I GET IT, but even if I had to learn to let go, most of the time you might be presently surprised at how just letting go and giving over some of the care brings ease to the entire family. Please give your partner space to try and contribute. I will leave that there but I had to say it because it’s a biggie.

P.S I am well aware there are many times this may not be the case.

Relationship advice for new parents

  • Don’t over-schedule…. I’ll say it again – do not overschedule!

  • Prepare some meals in advance if you have the time so that once Bub is asleep you may actually get some time together.

  • Small things. Don’t wait to finally, get a night out once every three months, do small things for one another and please do small things for yourself too.

  • Create little elements of routine that bring you connection and certainty this may be as simple as visiting the same coffee shop or the same park.

  • Engage when and where you can in something that helps you feel like yourself again.

  • Encourage one another and make it easier for one another to get to an old sport or activity once a week.

  • Be aware of one another’s love language and remember them for your small gestures.

  • Schedule time together with friends, even if it's once a month. Lock it in and go. Even when you can’t be bothered, you will more than likely be glad you went.

  • Be kind to one another, be empathetic and know the change in your life is so large that of course aftershocks will occur, find your friendship and ride it out together.

You do not get a medal for not accepting help, and only you are worried about what other people may think if you do.

PLEASE I implore you to get sleep sorted! It changes the entire experience, relationally, emotionally and physically. I have worked with too many couples that regretted the depths of despair they had been in.

I have worked with too many couples that regretted the depths of despair they had been in. I have worked with too many individuals who attribute sleep deprivation to the undoing of their marriage. It is NOT worth it.

Talk about how you feel both women and men and if that can’t be with your partner then do your best to find someone. We lost the village, and it’s OK for both dads and mums to feel the effects of that too.
 Interlock your fingers with one another and imagine this, your relationship is significantly important because when your babies are young your hands make the cradle that carries them, when they grow still joined together they make the roof that houses them.

Be that in a relationship or not, know that just as all you want for your little loves is happiness, that too is what they want for you.

Never underestimate the power of taking care of yourself and your relationship when it comes to great outcomes for your little ones too.

As I mentioned earlier this is just based on observation and years of working with incredible families.

Article written by Parents You've Got This Paediatric Nurse Expert Tara Mitchell, The Gentle Sleep Specialist. Tara teaches everything you need to know to set-up your nursery and what to expect in the early days at our Baby Basics Masterclasses.

New parents navigating parenthood while connecting in their relationship


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