Most people don't realise it but long term relationships go through stages.
Six weeks ago I entered Becoming Us into a Nonfiction Book Awards competition with some trepidation. Sure I think it’s a great book, it should be – it took me 15 years to research and write it.
And yes, I get great feedback, from both parents and professionals.
But what I get most of all, what most authors get when they send a book out into the world, is silence.
Many authors think of their books like a baby. This is true for me, too. I tended this book with almost the same love, attention and anticipation I did with my other three kids. They would probably say more.
So silence in response to your baby is worrying...
Reviewed by: Dawn Bhat, MA, MS, NCC, LMHC appearing in Somatic Psychotherapy Today | Fall 2014 | Volume 4 Number 2 |Personal Reflection
While I was reading Taylor’s book for this review, my then ten-month-old daughter was climbing all over me and pulling herself up to stand by using my knees for support. I felt Taylor’s words speak to me, as if she were a dear companion on my journey of motherhood from the onset.
Taylor knew all about what I experienced during the newborn phase from breastfeeding to a messy house. What shocked me the most was Taylor seemed to know what this meant for my partnership, as we were experiencing the changes both together as one and separately as individuals.
It is no wonder that Taylor is an expert and well-seasoned clinician whose work focuses on transforming couple’s experiences during the critical period between pregnancy and parenting.
I was lucky that SPT’s editor, Nancy Eichhorn, PhD asked me to review Becoming Us: 8 Steps to Grow a Family that Thrives! I doubt I would have known about it otherwise. I hope you find my review a small representation of how informative and formative Becoming Us: 8 Steps to Grow a Family that Thrives is.
Download a copy of the full review here: Becoming Us in Somatic Psychotherapy Today
You can learn how to purchase your own copy of the book here.
Dawn Bhat, LMHC is in private practice in Hicksville, NY. She holds graduate degrees in General Psychology and Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Dawn is a National Certified Counselor and a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-500). Dawn has been researching somatic psychotherapy under the guidance of Jacqueline A. Carleton, Ph.D. of the USABP since 2010 and has presented scholarly papers and professional workshops regionally, nationally and internationally. Feel free to contact her: www.dawnbhat.com
It’s been a month or so since you had your baby and things have started to settle down. You’re getting into a sort-of routine, the visitors have dried up and bub excelled at their last health check. Now it’s time for another important check-up: how’s your relationship doing?
This may come as a shock, but according to research, 67% of couples report declined relationship satisfaction in their baby’s first few years. So if you’re starting to sense this in your own relationship – don’t panic! You’re normal and you’re not alone! It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you, your partner or your partnership - you have probably both been doing an extra great job of giving your precious newborn all your love, attention, and energy. Now you can relax and start to send some of it your partner’s way again.
So when the washing pile is low enough for you to both to peer over it, you might want to check in and see how your partner is doing. They might be missing you - and how things were between you. Some dads can feel a bit excluded through pregnancy, birth and early parenting. I remember one new dad saying this:
"We've got a baby, but I've lost my wife."
Chances are, when you have time to actually stop and reflect, you’ve been missing your partner too. So now’s the time to turn it around and for you both to re-connect as a couple at the same time you’re both bonding with your baby.
To take that first step back to each other, when you have a quiet time, initiate an open conversation. Acknowledge how things have been for you, and ask your partner how they’re doing. From there, make it a priority for the health of your relationship to spend time together, even just for a few minutes, to catch up with each other.
Just as your baby is doing, you’re both going through some big changes and adjustments - most of them occurring on the inside. Let your partner in and let them know you want to know what’s happening inside them too. Here’s a great resource for you both to read as a starting point.
Then it’s the little things that can make a big difference.
Easy to forget in the blur of sleep deprivation, but a simple “please” and “thankyou” shows your appreciation for each other. Apologising if you say something hurtful mends harm. A hug morning and night lovingly bookends each day. Texting or emailing fond thoughts to each other in between means you can stay connected even if your days are now so different.
Sharing a foot rub or taking a walk together in the evenings are a great way to celebrate your relationship – after all, that’s what created your beautiful bub in the first place.
And, over time, they will thank you for it.