Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, welcomed their second child over the weekend, Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor. The excitement got me thinking about the parents I see in my private practice. If I had a nickel for emotional moment in an online therapy session, I would have enough to buy some of the commemorative royal memorabilia that is undoubtedly coming soon.
She’s here! Meghan, Harry welcomed a second child, named afterand Princess Diana. Growing one’s family comes with obvious rewards but also introduces new challenges. While new like they’re drowning in unsolicited parenting advice, my clients, who are part of a couple, often express they have not received any advice about maintaining their relationship during this transition. Whether parents welcome a baby for the first time or grow their family by adding another child – like Harry and Meghan – there are undoubtedly challenges with the change. Below are the most common ones I hear about and tips for coping with each.
Expanding your family can feel bittersweet. The excitement of adding a new also feel nostalgia for the spontaneity and quality time that was previously possible. Expanding one’s family can lead to priorities, lifestyle, and intimacy shifts.is frequently accompanied by grief over losing the necessary space to stay connected. Amid the excitement, couples may
Tip: Try to sneak in some time together (even if only for 10 minutes) for an activity you did before becoming parents. Go for a walk or take a shower together.
New babies are exhausting.
It can be difficult to be romantic, sentimental, or even cordial when exhausted. Just as our partner is the first person to receive a text when our child does something new or adorable, they are also likely on the receivingof our less-than-pleasant spurts of frustration during this dynamic and often sleep-deprived transition.
Tip 1: Practice thanking each other for surviving each day.
Tip 2: Get support (if available). It’s unnecessary to face this phase, and there is nothing wrong with asking family and friends (or hired help, if feasible) to be there for you.
Struggling with the born identity
When a child enters the picture, many parents feel that parenthood can subsume their entire identity. It may become more challenging for parents to carve out time to pursue their interests, find time for work, maintain friendships, and, importantly, preserve a connection with their partner.
If we feel disconnected from former passions and pursuits, it can make us feel disconnected from who we are – or were. And, as a consequence of losing a sense of self outside of parenthood, our partner may find it more difficult to connect with us.
Tip: Take turns to designate short periods of alone time so that each parent has moments of solitude. For example, take 15 minutes to drink a cup of tea alone.
‘Delighted ‘: Kate Middleton andand Meghan on the birth of Lilibet Diana.
Parents often feel guilty.
I frequently hear about parents’ guilt when they cannot dedicate all their time and attention to their children. But my clients also highlight the distress of failing to show up for everyone how they used to – especially their partner. They note the difficulty of finding the time anddesired love language. And let’s not forget the pangs of guilt that for yourself. Parents tend to feel selfish if they’re going to take time for themselves, and they often ignore their own as a result. Doing so inadvertently makes connecting with themselves and their significant other more difficult.