Have you just had a baby and are having trouble getting together with your partner? Please note that this phase is completely normal and can last… for a while. Explanations.
This is a subject that is often avoided, as it is so feared by young parents. How long does it actually take them to “find themselves”? Science has decided…
Birth increases the feeling of dissatisfaction
For this study, 500 new fathers and 106 fathers who had already experienced parenthood before the birth of their last child were observed by German researchers from the Dresden University of Technology.
The candidates were notably questioned about their level of marital satisfaction at different periods after the birth of their child (2 months before his birth, 8 weeks after his arrival, 14 weeks after, and finally, 2 years after).
Result ? “81% of parents of young children have already argued about parental duties, 50% have wanted to break up with their partner after the birth of their last born and 75% of parents have already given up on making love for a reason related to their child“, reveals a survey conducted by the IFOP.
A return to “normal” after 2 years…
Among young dads, the lack of satisfaction is quite glaring: it is only falling. This decline continues up to 14 months after delivery.
However, it is only from this period that the level of satisfaction (re)starts to stabilize – The satisfaction rate then gradually rises until the child is 2 years old; until returning to its initial pre-delivery level.
According to this study, young parents must wait almost two years before returning to a relationship as fulfilling as before.
Good news nevertheless: from the second child, the level of satisfaction, although low, would increase. Indeed, second-time parents seem less traumatized by the experience of parenthood.
“The transition to parenthood can negatively affect fathers’ relationship satisfaction, more so for new fathers than for second-time parents, but this can improve over time (…) Preparation and anticipation can play“, specifies the research team.
A variable delay depending on the couple
For our expert psychologist, everything is not as simple as scientists claim: the time it takes for new parents to find a fulfilling relationship varies from one couple to another.
“It also varies depending on whether it is a first child or a subsequent one. There is no real standard duration, but it is clear that the arrival of a new kid in the family equation necessarily disrupts the balance and dynamics. It’s going to take a little time to put this all back together. On average, I would still say that it often takes several months at least to adjust to the new reality of parenthood. Perhaps by the time the child sleeps through the night, the mother emerges from the state of fusion built up since pregnancy to make room for the paternal third… and the father takes his place!“, assures Améli Boukhobza.
It will also take even more time if the couple “was already disturbed before pregnancy“, she specifies. The right attitude?
“Talk to each other a lot, support each other, share family activities so that everyone finds their place, and above all, don’t forget to carve out time together, even if short, to encourage the renewal of the marital bond. Obviously, patience, understanding and adaptation are the keys to navigating this new phase of family life.” concludes the expert.