Cart is empty

The First Child Effect

Babies, babies, babies! They are the apple of our eyes and the centre of our universe. The first child is always special, but it also brings more extensive changes to the relationship than we could have prepared for as expecting parents.
According to the Institute for Family Studies survey, 30% of couples reported decreased relationship satisfaction after having their first child. In contrast, only 9% of couples reported decreased satisfaction after having their second child.
Many women report being surprised about the resentment they felt towards their partner after the first baby came to their life. It’s important to acknowledge that feeling resentful towards your partner after having a baby is common, and it doesn’t mean you don’t love them or appreciate what they do.
In fact, a study by the University of California found that 70% of new mothers in heterosexual relationships reported feeling resentful towards their partner for not doing enough around the house or with the baby. And according to a survey by Parents magazine, 61% of new fathers reported feeling left out of the parenting process.

So, what’s the deal? Why does the first child have such a big impact on how we feel about our partners?
Well, for starters, there’s the sleep deprivation. Between the baby waking up every two hours (if you are lucky) and the parents trying to soothe them, it’s no wonder that exhaustion sets in. And let’s face it, when you’re sleep-deprived, everything is more frustrating, including your partner.
Then there’s the division of labour. Suddenly, everything that used to be shared between two people now falls on one person’s shoulders. It’s not uncommon for one partner to feel like they’re doing all the work while the other gets to sleep or goes to work without a crying baby in tow.
Interestingly, speaking of the division of tasks, in heterosexual relationships, the division of labour often falls along traditional gender roles. Women take on most of the childcare and household tasks, making them feel overwhelmed, according to Pew Research Center.

On the other hand, in homosexual relationships, the division of labour tends to be more equal. A study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that same-sex parents reported sharing childcare responsibilities more equally and experiencing less conflict and higher relationship satisfaction over parenting roles than heterosexual parents.

But, no matter what relationship you are in, the changes in priorities are going to impact you both. Before the baby, date nights might have been a regular occurrence, but now it feels like a Herculean task just to shower and brush your teeth. And don’t even get me started on the mountains of laundry that seem to multiply by the minute.

So why does it seem to only happen with the arrival of baby no.1?
By the second baby, parents are seasoned pros. They’ve been through the sleepless nights, the nappy changes, and the tantrums. And while there may still be some adjustment period, it’s generally easier the second time around. Plus, parents have learned to divide and conquer, take turns with the kids, work together as a team and, most importantly, communicate and prioritise themselves.
So, what’s the takeaway? The first child may have a big impact on relationships, but it’s not necessarily a bad one. It’s a time of growth, learning, and adjustment. And if you can survive the first one, the second one is a piece of cake.
So, to all the new parents out there, hang in there! It gets easier, and it’s all worth it in the end. And to all the veteran parents out there, kudos to you for continuing to rock parenthood!

If you liked this post and you can relate to the challenges described, here you can read about how some of our team members dealt with those in their relationships.

Waitlist Leave us your email and we will let you know once there is an available spot.