Le baby clash, ou quand la naissance de bébé fragilise le couple - Élhée

The baby clash, or when the birth of a baby weakens the couple

It's a fact, the birth of a child is one of the highlights of a life, full of upheavals and emotions of all kinds. Also, what many families describe as an immense joy, perhaps the greatest — the arrival of a baby — can sometimes lead to the deepest distress. This is the baby clash, this period of crisis which can be fatal to the couple. Although many parents find themselves confronted with it, young mothers too often take responsibility for it: extreme fatigue, reduced libido, close mother-child relationship, explosion of mental workload... When the birth of a baby weakens the couple, how to find a new balance?


Baby clash: identifying the first turbulences

What is baby clash ? If “collision” is a possible translation for the word “clash”, the baby clash is the marital crisis that some couples go through when a child arrives , often the first. We can then speak of a real collision between their life before baby, as a couple, and their life after, as a couple.

According to an ELABE study carried out for the WeMoms application with 501 mothers of at least one child under 6 years old, 66% of the women questioned experienced conflicts and tensions with their partner during the birth of their child. 20% of couples even admitted to having been on the verge of separating.

Another study , this time carried out by the IFOP for the site Sleepyz.fr among 1,001 parents of children under 3 years old, reveals in particular that one in two parents has already wanted to break up after the birth of a child. 16% of them actually broke up.

As for how long the baby clash lasts , specialists, doctors and psychologists, speak of a few weeks to a few months . Alyson F. Shapiro (San Diego State University) and John M. Gottman (Relationship Research Institute, Deer Harbor, Washington) have shown, through their work on the evolution in couples' communication during the transition to parenthood , that the most positive results appeared almost a year after the baby's arrival .

Fatigue and lack of intimacy: the main causes of baby clash

The birth of a child, the discovery of parenthood, changes in body and mind… together, these aspects constitute a new dance that your couple, now a family, must recognize and learn to practice.

  • Fatigue, exhaustion and mental load

The birth of a child is a real revolution, especially if it is your first baby. After childbirth, fatigue, added to that of pregnancy, is more than present. If, in normal times, a bad night can lead to waking up grumpy, the combined effect of hormones, physical fatigue and mental fatigue provides fertile ground for arguments and other unpleasant remarks.

  • Lack of privacy after birth

When you return from motherhood, your body has changed, as have your concerns. You are naturally more concerned with your role as a mother than with your role as a woman. For his part, your partner may find this new body more difficult to understand. He may be afraid of hurting you or have difficulty approaching you. Also, it happens that the presence of a baby disrupts your private moments . Feelings and reactions that further complicate your relationship.

  • New organization, new challenges and new responsibilities

From now on, life no longer takes place in pairs, but in threes. Everyone must fulfill new obligations. Three days after the birth of your baby, back home, you have to get up at night when you dream of sleeping, change diapers when you would like to take care of yourself, go to the doctor and pediatrician when that you are both tired and completely review your organization... These obligations, even known and anticipated, can create friction which, if repeated and amplified by fatigue and lack of intimacy, can lead to a baby clash.

Baby clash, sometimes irreversible consequences, on the lives of many couples

a broken cup on a window sill

Many authors, specialists and parents believe that all couples encounter difficulties when a child is born . More or less strong, more or less long, these turbulences require everyone to get in tune. Without this, the consequences of the baby clash can be significant and, in the most difficult cases, irreversible.

  • The couple's communication , exchanges and complicity can become poorer.
  • Unsaid things and resentment risk becoming lasting.
  • Instead of seeing their love strengthened by the birth of their baby, some couples will drift apart .
  • Faced with exhaustion, older wounds can come to the surface.
  • The baby clash leads some new parents to choose to separate .

How to overcome the baby clash and find a new three-way balance?

A crisis that occurs after the birth of a child is not to be taken lightly. If it settles, the entire family bubble risks bursting or, at a minimum, declining. Also, so that baby clash does not rhyme with separation, the couple must move in the same direction .

Draw the strength to find yourself in communication

Most difficulties can be circumvented or overcome through listening and communication . Avoid keeping your feelings to yourself and express them, especially if they concern your relationship. Dialogue with the one who has always been your ally , accept that your life is changing and that everyone must find their new place within what is now a trio, and no longer just a duo.

Strengthen your self-confidence as a young mother

Nothing is better for self-esteem than taking time for yourself. From birth to around 3 months, your baby sleeps between 15 and 20 hours a day, which gives you time to find your rhythm. Forget about chores, cleaning and housekeeping, instead give yourself all the space you need to get through matresence .

Take care of yourself, practice self-massage, make an appointment with the osteopath , the hairdresser, the beauty salon, read, listen to your favorite songs, dance, play video games... Enjoy everything you loved already before deciding to become a parent.

4 tips to help your couple after the birth of a baby

  • BEFORE the birth, take advantage of your pregnancy to find out together about the baby clash , the difficulties that may arise, your fears and your expectations as a future parent.
  • After pregnancy, think about yourself, but also think about your relationship . Take advantage of your baby's naps to chat, to sleep in each other's arms, to watch a good film together (even if it means falling asleep in front of it) and to show kindness .
  • Don't get lost in parenting . You were a couple before your child was born and even before that, you were an individual. If today you are, in addition, a mother, you remain a spouse and a woman as well .
  • Keep time for yourself and time for two by alternating late mornings, hours spent at the gym, outings with friends and even, why not, weekends away from home. If you can, ask your parents or close friends to take over with your child once in a while. Isn't that possible? Maybe you can take a day off during the week to be together? The idea being to find yourself as a lover “like before”, even though you have become parents.

External aid

Despite all your good will, moments or emotions may prove too difficult to manage alone. You probably have friends or family you can count on to talk and take a breather. If that's not enough, talk to your doctor , consult a therapist - alone or as a couple - or attack groups dedicated to baby clash on social networks.

In summary, take care of yourself at all times, including during your pregnancy and even more so during your postpartum period . Find out about the baby clash. Dialogue with your partner and express your emotions without waiting for them to turn into reproaches. Take advantage of your baby's naps to rest and spend time together. Remember that before becoming parents, you were each half of a couple and even before that, independent people. Be kind to each other and as much as you can, let go. Despite these turbulences, everything will be fine, together you can get there.

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