Speaker Spotlight – When 2 Become 3
My husband has been my best friend for just over ten years. We met in college and our friendship grew into more than I expected. We actually started dating right before I graduated in 2005 with a lot of discussion about whether it would harm our friendship. We decided to give it a try and over the years, our relationship has survived long-distance, huge moves, career changes, and going back to school. When he proposed to me in April of 2008, we were excited to plan for married life together. Everyone said the first year of marriage would be the hardest, but we figured if we had already gone through many of the things we endured so far, the first year of marriage would be a piece of cake. And, luckily for us, we were right! Married life was not too much different than dating.
Fast forward to November 7, 2013… our 4-year wedding anniversary. This was also the day we found out I was pregnant and due in July the next year. I remember being nervous, excited, and feeling protectiveness within me over the tiny life I carried in my womb. In the back of my mind, I wondered how much the relationship with my husband would change as we transitioned into parenthood even though we had a solid marriage. We took birthing classes, breastfeeding classes, read books, watched films, and prepared for as much as we could. The big day came and 35 exhausting hours later, I held my son in my arms for the first time. It was all so unreal and wonderful. From that moment on, I would be known as “Mom”.
With the title of “Mom” comes so much responsibility, that there were times I pushed aside “Wife”, “Friend”, and even “Christie”. My whole world shifted so drastically that it was difficult to maintain the life I knew I wanted to have and I often mourned how much my relationship with my husband had changed. Connecting with each other doesn’t come as easily because of the added responsibility of a little one, fewer hours in the day for each other, and the roles we must take on now that we are parents. This first year of parenthood has been so much more difficult than any first year of marriage I could have imagined. However, I’m pleased that we made it and have survived this huge transition together. Without support from friends, family, and each other, some post-partum education, and my own experience working with new parents in my private practice, it would have been so much more challenging.
My passion and mission of my work is to help new parents through this transition and make it to the other side a stronger, more loving, and supportive couple. Being parents also means being engaged and connected with each other and knowing how to maintain your relationship together. It’s so disheartening to know that two thirds of all couples who have children together are unhappy in their relationship after the baby is born. I know it’s been hard for me and my husband and our story is not unique. I’m sure your story may be similar and I urge you to act ahead of your baby’s birth day and begin safeguarding your relationship now.
Christie Sears Thompson, MA, MFT-C is a Child, Couples, and Family Therapist at Trade Winds Therapy, LLC.