Study reminds us that having a baby is hard on a marriage

As reported in NY1 News Doctors John and Julie Gottman are co-authors of a new book, “And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance.” John Gottman has been a respected family therapist and author for many years, whose work continually influences the academic and clinical arenas.

Their 13-year study (300 couples) showed that more than two thirds of all couples “hit a bump in the road after the baby comes home.”

Their research also indicated that postpartum depression in mothers occurred 66 percent of the time, (!) a much higher number than is usually reported.

Their advice? Couples should:

Keep lines of communication open
State their personal needs clearly
Try not to criticize
Make time for intimacy

All of these recommendations are easier said than done, to be sure. Taking care of the marriage is difficult enough when couples are sleep deprived and generally cranky at best. But when depression is part of the picture, taking care of the marriage can feel impossible. This research reminds us how important it is. If a couple is struggling and the mother is being treated for postpartum depression (and/or if the father is being treated for depression) it can be extremely helpful for the couple to come into a therapy session together (or two or three or more) for tune ups and a perspective that can keep them on a positive track.

“The Gottmans’ research also shows the stronger the connection between the parents, the healthier the child can grown both emotionally and intellectually.”

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