Paste your Google Webmaster Tools verification code here

The Cycle of Love

The most amazing book a couple who are transitioning to parenthood should read is Becoming Us – The Essential Relationship Guide for Parents by Elly Taylor.  So often we hear new mums and dads relationship struggles in the early stages of their new family that even by understanding where they sit on the cycle of love, would bring more peace and harmony to their relationship as they move to the next chapter of their life.

Elly breaks down the cycle of love into three parts:

  • Coming together
  • Growing apart
  • Growing together.

Coming Together is when couples come together for the first time.  There is excitement in the air.  We show the other person the best parts of ourselves and during this time we are attentive, caring, agreeable, available and we spend a lot of time together.

Growing Apart is when couple may sense that they are drifting apart as they start to re-establish some independence that we once had before we met.  We start to re-engage with friends and activities instead of spending all our time together.  It also shows other sides about the other person which can develop a deeper relationship with the other person.  Most couples would see this as a sign that the other person may simply not be into them (I know as that is pretty much how I felt in all my relationships lol) but it can be a good stage in the relationship.  We get to see the person for who they really are and we can embrace these differences as this is simply another part of them (I never thought I would be immersed in the world of Ironman Triathlons until I met my husband).  This stage is a ‘continual development revealing and sharing of ourselves that keeps a long term relationship fresh, interesting and exciting’.

If a couple have a baby it bring even more difference.  Becoming a parent challenges us to become even more of ourselves and this may mean that there needs to be some negotiation with our partner.  How we handle these differences will have a major impact for our family’s future.  These differences won’t necessarily be a bad thing if we love our partner for their uniqueness but because parenthood brings about a fuller person it is here that it can create conflict.

Growing Apart can feel threatening, anxiety provoking and uncomfortable. But it is a normal, healthy stage in the life cycle of love and serves a very important function.’  This stage is a great stage where couples can become great friends.  Couples get to know each other, accept and admire each other for who they are and get to know those quirky and annoying habits.  Relationship and parenting issues can only be resolved through openness, honesty, empathy and understanding.  We need to grow new roots for the stability of the family.  If both members of the family are able to spread their roots, the relationship will be stable.  If one member only spreads their roots, then most likely the relationship will topple.    These roots will be continually tested as our children grow up into adults.

Nevertheless, it is important that couples make the effort to stay bonded.  All relationships need work so it is important to keep building our friendship.

Growing Together stage ‘we realise our mutual responsibility to our relationship, our interdependence.  We begin to recognise that when we give to our relationship, it bears fruit that can be enjoyed by both of us.’  We feel comfortable in coming together and equally comfortable in spending tome apart.

The mastery of the Growing Together stage is being able to balance personal and relationship growth to develop our own family – us.  Each of us will be a better parent if we are supported by the other.  The relationship we co-create acts as a security blanket for our child – it gives them a sense of safety, trust and warmth.  Becoming a mother or a father isn’t just a commitment to our child.  It’s also a recommitment to our partnership.

 

Pass On A Hug To Struggling Mums!

Pass on a hug2

Does Your Relationship Matter After Having a Baby?

It is quite common once a child is born for couples to focus solely on the new child.  The go from being a couple to instantly becoming a parent.  There is no transition in life that is greater than becoming a parent.  But what happens to the couple?

John Gottman explains in his program Bringing Baby Home Program that the parent-child relationship becomes the family focus and the couple’s relationship is not a priority and it puts stress onto the relationship.  Nevertheless, more and more research is being completed emphasising that the parents need to work on their own relationship whilst transitioning into parenthood.  If parent’s feel that their relationship as a couple is becoming strained it will naturally take a toll on each person’s physical and mental well being.

If a couple worked on their relationship to keep it strong the couple will have:

  • higher self-esteem
  • Greater social success
  • Increased desire to be social, involved
  • High flexibility, willingness to change
  • Increased commitment
  • Better physical health
  • Ability to love

If a couple did not work on their relationship it would lead to:

  • Increased stress levels
  • Impulsiveness, poor decision making
  • Anger and hostility
  • Decreased creativity
  • Difficulty problem-solving
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Self-consciousness (Gottman, 2007, Bringing Baby Home program – Children and Parents: A Delicate Relationship, p.21)

Therefore it is extremely important for couples to foster their relationship and keep building on it in order to have a strong family relationship.  Below is a list of strategies you could implement on a daily basis to strengthen your relationship:

  • Say I love you
  • Send an I love you text
  • Sit down and watch tv together
  • Talk about each other’s day
  • Acknowledge that things are stressful and simply listen to each other.
  • Acknowledge that your partner is doing a good job.
  • Organise a date every month
  • Remember why you love your partner
  • Eat dinner together
  • Make sure you laugh!

Congratulations Prince William and Princess Catherine

Coaching for Lifetime Change would like to congratulate Kate and Will on the arrival of their little boy.  It has been definitely a media circus leading up to the birth.  What was amazing was the dazzling smile they both had showing the new member of the family to the world. But there was also that look that all new mums and dads have with what do we do next.

But just like any new parent, they too will go through all the joys and struggles all parents have. I am sure they are working out how much little one is feeding, how do you change a nappy, how do you breast feed, sleep routine and simply getting to know this new little person in their lives.  Family of origin will definitely play a major part for Prince William and Princess Kate as not only did both come from different family lives but they have to work together on how to raise their new son.  I am sure that there is a sense of grief especially for Prince William as he will not have the chance to share it with his mum.  I remember feeling sad after the birth of my girls knowing that my dad was not there to share this wonderful moment.

The media needs to respect their need for time together as a family as from reports they want to shelter their new child from the media eye as much as possible.  They will also need to be firm with family and friends if they do not want visitors all the time and I do suggest a sign on the gate to let people know that the new family is resting.

I do hope they are hands on with the child and by media reports they will be and not relying solely on nannies to raise the child.  I wish you both all the best and feel free to contact me if you need any guidance 🙂

 

The Massive Changes That Parenthood Brings to the Family Unit

“A woman can get married and her life does change. And a man can get married and his life changes. But nothing changes life as dramatically as having a child………….In this country, it is a particular experience, a rite of passage, if you will, that is unsupported for the most part, and rather ignored.  Somebody will send you a couple of presents for the baby, but people do not acknowledge the massive experience to the parents involved” ~ Dana Raphael.

I still believe this above quote which was made around 1970 is still very true today.  Mums and dads are not prepared for the massive change that the transition to parenthood makes.  We are prepared very well for the birth but what about for everything else.

If mums and dads were prepared more for the changes that parenthood brings before or just after the baby is born would we see a reduction of postnatal depression, struggling parents and maybe even the divorce rate?

Whilst in the hospital we are well taken care for and with this support we feel slightly confident.  But what happens when you exit the hospital doors?  I remember with bringing Grace home, I was thinking all the way home what do I do now? I remember how scared I was of what happens when we step foot in the door.  We had to figure it all out as a family and it was like being in a field of rabbit holes and trying not to fall in them.  Everywhere I turned I felt like I was falling into a hole as I struggled with breastfeeding, Grace would not sleep, how long do I let her sleep for and what happens if she slept through a feed.  The good thing is that more and more people are talking about places to turn to so women are getting more help.  But I truly believe more needs to be done. I am not going to rest until this is all changed and families stop having so many challenges.

I do believe that better preparation is needed for all parents so that they can meet these challenges head on with confidence and as a team.  The overall philosophy of Coaching For Lifetime Change is to help as many parents as possible to help them enjoy build the family unit that they have always dreamed of.

Change and What It Means To You

When you see the word CHANGE: what did you feel?

 Do you see change as something positive or something negative?

What emotions does it bring up for you?

Change is inevitable, yet we fear it.  People may tell you that ” you have changed” and you could be left wondering if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  If you “change your mind” it can also be seen as a weakness.  Every single person always have the opportunity to change the paths we are on no matter how good or bad things in out life can be.

We make constant changes in our lives when having a hair cut, changing our diet, moving out of home, going to university, getting married, changing jobs…………………..the list is endless.

As a new mum and dad,  we prepared fully for the changes that a new life brings to us.  We dream about having children and we can envision what our family unit will look like. But when little one comes along are we ready to embrace the change this will bring?  A natural part of us will grieve the things we have lost for instance being able to do anything we want, going out etc etc etc.  But if we fear change already then it makes it even harder to adjust to the new changes.

With change bring uncertainty which is one of our 4 basic human needs (Tony Robbins).  If we fear uncertainty and prefer to only have certainty in our lives then the uncertainty that a child can bring into our lives will be a very daunting experience until routine and the budding developing of a realtionship between parent and child is built.

Life itself is chnage.  It you want to engage in life fully we need to find ways to create and cope with change on all levels of our lives. But if we feel that changing your mind is a weakness then how are we going to make the necessary changes to live life with vitality and healthy?

A roman philosopher called Seneca said “that what will surprise you in not that you must learn how to live but that you must learn to die”.  He is not talking about death when he said it.  He was talking about letting parts of us die.  Attitudes, prejudices and ways of thinking must be surrendered and by doing this we need to allow them to die.

The best example I can think of at the moment I am creating a healthier and happier life style.  I need to let die the unhealthy attitudes, eating so that I can fully embrace my new life of healthy eating and exercising.  If I break my attitudes towards this journey and fully embrace it, then the change in lifestyle will not be a struggle.

What are things you would like to change in your life?

The “Pros and Cons” About Becoming a Parent

I can hear people right now stomping their feet to my front door and coming with pitch forks screaming “You are lucky to be able to have children”, “You chose to have children” and all the rest of it.  I am hoping that some of you might actually read the rest of this article and may find this activity really beneficial.

Once you have little one in your arms, have you ever told your partner what you love about being a parent and what you do not look about becoming a parent?

Research shows that simply acknowledging the good and bad things about becoming a parent is actually a very healthy activity for parent’s to do.  By being able to talk about our thoughts in a constructive and safe environment, mums and dads can feel that they are being heard in regards to their thoughts of becoming a parent.

I remember thinking I was prepared for the change and that I will not be able to simply go out and catch up with friends and accepting the new journey I was about to embark on.  But honestly and I would love to hear from other mums and dads if they were truly prepared as much as you thought you were.  But be acknowledging the differences can be extremely therapeutic as you can let it out of your head and also let it go.

Is it a crime to do this?  Hell no.  If every parent did this activity, we might see a trend of people transitioning to parenthood a lot easier than what a lot of parent’s are at this stage.

I did not do this activity until I did volunteer training at PANDA and it really stuck with me that it is OK to say what we love and may be what we are still learning to adjust to. On my list were:

What I love:

  • That they were created out of love
  • Their little hands and toes
  • That we got through the birth process
  • Their little noises

What I Did Not Like:

  • PND (Postnatal depression)
  • My older child’s constant crying (boy does she have a set of lungs)
  • Breastfeeding (I had trouble with supply but was not confident who to call for help and Grace never attached)
  • Not being able to work
  • Not catching up with people as much as I used to.

Maybe my next post should be a follow up to the pros and cons and see how much things have changed.  I have attached below a sheet that mums and dads can use to do this activity at home.  Do not judge or analyse what people put on their list as it needs to be done in a safe environment so those thoughts can be acknowledged and then put aside.

Good and Bad stuff chart (Printable)

 

 

Who Will Listen?

Picture in your mind when you were working and all the stressful things that occurred whilst at work.  If you were not working imagine a situation that has been stressful to you.  Could you talk to someone and get some empathy?  Most likely.  Everyone knows how stressful work situations can be with tasks needing to be done yesterday, reviews, conflicts with other staff and that is seen as normal.  Plus you also get training etc to teach you about how to get these tasks done etc etc etc.

But how much training do you get about raising a child?  There are birth classes which only teach you about how to give birth. There are plenty of books out there but may not assist your situation.  You have a health professionals who can be great whilst others can be judgemental. You have nine months to prepare for a child but the percentage of that is materialistic preparation.  You prepare a nursery, bed etc but does that help prepare you?  No it does not.

Listening.2For a parent, the changes happen over night.  One minute you are still just partners entering into the world of parenthood.  Then all of a sudden there is a child in your arms with their own personality and needs.  Can you receive the training needed to work out everything you need to do like in work situations?  No you can’t.

But who are you doing to talk to about these changes.  People without children may be wishing that you stop complaining because you may have the family they still want.  You may turn to other people with children and they just tell you welcome to parenthood and get on with it.

In the title the key word is LISTEN. Listening is simply being present in the conversation, not thinking about what you have to do and simply listening to what the other person is saying.  Majority of the time the person is just wanting to get something off their chest and just needs to be listened to.  Try it next time someone wants to talk to you.

//