banner image

Bringing Baby Home

The Gottman Institute has provided research stating that within three years after the birth of a child, approximately two thirds of parents will experience a significant drop in their relationship quality. Research demonstrates that the quality of a relationship between a couple has a significant impact on the infant and childhood development of infants and children.


What separates the “masters” of couples transitioning into parenthood from the “disasters?”

Dr. John Gottman’s research found that only 33% of couples were satisfied and 67% of couples became very unsatisfied with one another starting with the birth of the baby and throughout the first three years of their child’s life.


Dr John Gottman and Dr. Julie Gottman conducted sixteen research studies analyzing the quality of the couples’ relationship before and after the birth of their baby. The following is the information that was discovered:

Even though both partners are participating and contributing much harder after the birth of their child, the parents do not feel appreciated and valued. The escalation, frequency and intensity of arguments and conflicts within the couple’s relationship increases significantly within the first year of the birth of the baby. The couple’s sexual desire and intimacy decrease dramatically as the mother’s sexual desire dips low, especially if she is breastfeeding the baby during the first year. As a consequence, the quality, frequency and satisfaction of sexual intimacy drops drastically. 

Mothers become absorbed and involved with being a new mother and taking care of their baby’s needs that they are often emotionally and physically exhausted to provide their partner the attention, emotional and sexual intimacy within their relationship. There are significant identity changes for both partners as they transitioning from being individuals and partners as a couple to becoming parents and partners, having a family, being part of their extended family, friends and their community. 

Partners begin to discover that their individual values change and transition as they identify with becoming parents and their goals as a mother, father and a family. Couples often strive to become better parents for their child and provide a higher quality childhood than their experiences with their own parents. As the partners become parents and their relationship changes, it begins to take on a different meaning in time: “Before Baby” and “After Baby.” The mother often has emotional support when the baby is born, as her tribe of support system of family and friends arrive to help.

Often new fathers may feel isolated, depressed, and excluded from participating. As a result, they often respond by staying away and withdraw from their partner and the baby by working longer hours as they navigate any conflict. If the couple’s relationship is unhappy, and the father is dissatisfied with the mother, then the child tends to withdraw emotionally from a father—a disconnection begins to develop between him and his child. 

Navigating the challenges of parenthood often come with difficulties, stressors and life changes accompanying the birth of their baby. Supporting couples with these normal parenting challenges can provide hope, structure and coping skills for a better quality relationship. 


Maintain the couple’s relationship satisfaction after having a baby and during the challenging toddler years. 

Reduce the incidence or severity of postpartum mood disorders. 

Decrease relationship disconnection and resentment. 

Reignite your sexual intimacy, desire, and passion. 

Promote positive parent-baby interactions and quality involvement.

Increase affection, emotional connection, and closeness. 

Couples therapy can provide support to new parents as they bring their baby home and learn the coping skills and strategies to make a successful transition to parenthood and maintain the satisfaction and quality of their relationship and marriage.