The psychotherapist’s advice to try to achieve better balance and greater understanding between partners after the birth of a child
How to turn your children’s father into your best ally
There birth of a child, as we all know, causes turmoil in the life of a couple and is often a source of friction. The cliché, sometimes even a bit caricatured, is that the woman finds herself next to an awkward if not downright uncooperative partner with regard to the new needs of the family. Never Pope do they really want to escape their responsibilities? And which dynamics are detrimental to their contribution to family life? The psychotherapist Ivana Castoldi, author of the book “The reasons of men. What every woman needs to know to make her partner her best ally” (ed. Feltrinelli, 2019), offers her companions and mothers her advice to no longer perceive the partner as an obstacle, but as a precious resource by virtue of its diversity.
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The child must be a choice of both
It seems trivial, but it is not at all: the precondition for there to be maximum collaboration between the partners is that the choice to have a child is really shared from both. «It still happens very often – warns the expert – that at the origin of the decision there is some pressure regarding the desire for maternity or paternity that is not fully shared by the other. If there is no comparable motivation between the two, this creates an imbalance. Choosing together is tiring, it means not only listening to one’s own needs; but a choice imposed on the partner will inevitably backfire. “
Be prepared for changes
In any case, the birth of a child always creates an imbalance: «In family relationships a new element is added: a child, even if wanted and a source of positivity, is always a problematic factor. It is one thing to make a project, it is another thing to collide with concrete everyday life: therefore, get ready for the impact in your lives. At the beginning the load is more feminine, but immediately the father can and must come into play ».
Damn the role of the grandmother
In the first years of a child’s life, the grandmother often comes into play as an element of help and support for the couple: “It is understandable that the woman asks her mother for help and this is a favorable element, but it often happens that she tends to lean on too much to it. In these cases the risk is that the father is put in the background, because it even goes into the third floor. There is perhaps the idea that fathers may take over a little later in the baby’s life, because neonatal needs are more difficult for men to manage. In fact, in the early days, dads can become good substitutes. Many, however, tend to retreat too much, partly out of shyness – and should instead be more enterprising – partly because other figures take up too much space ».
Don’t get absorbed in the role of mother
Another trend especially on the part of new mothers is to get completely absorbed by their new maternal functions: “It is normal to have some worries about this role, but remember to do not cancel yourself for the child and keep some space and time to dedicate to yourself. First of all because it is good for you, but then because in doing so it will be more natural for you to ask for the support of your father. Totally dedicating yourself to the baby can still be sustainable if the first periods go smoothly, but if the baby is just a little bit difficult on nutrition, sleep or health, you really risk motherhood turning into an exhausting and frustrating task ».
Feed your life as a couple
Having a more balanced attitude means above all remembering life as a couple and give you space: «Sometimes there is not full awareness on the part of women who are withdrawing into their maternal dimension. A “trick” to not lose your balance is do not remove the father from the marital bed. Many women do it for convenience because they have to get up very often at night, but this is very harmful for the couple. Rather try to take turns, but not sleeping together anymore opens up unspoken questions that drag on for years and then it becomes difficult to recover on the level of intimacy. Beginning to move away even physically promotes the loss of desire. Know that the vast majority of conflicts in the course of a marriage are played on children and sex. “
You mothers don’t do everything
If mothers tend to give little space to fathers in the first years of life, the risk is that it will continue even when the child grows up: “This, far from being a justification for fathers, however, risks serving as an alibi for not actively participate in the education of children. Often mothers are naturally inclined to want to do everything, even to allay control anxiety and nurture attachment to the child. Instead, leave room for your partners to make certain decisions, establish some rules regarding the child’s life (always having first agreed a line together): such as managing the degree of autonomy of children, schedules to be respected, free time, holidays , the sport to choose. Giving trust breeds trust and will allow you to delegate more serenely ».
Enhance and differentiate the roles of father and mother