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Relationship problems after childbirth: How to make it work!

The baby is the culmination of love. However, when you have a child, numerous potential relationship killers move into your partnership and young family. 

Usually, it's the first year after birth that puts parents to the test, and it can even lead to divorce.

Pregnancy and childbirth change the relationship between couples. We get to the bottom of things and give you tips on how to survive this difficult time with your partner.

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How to Make It Through the First Year After Birth

The first year with a newborn is the toughest. It is still influenced by the "side effects" of pregnancy, and with birth comes the most significant change: from a relationship to a family.

The foundation for the relationship problem with a child was laid in the past, but the difficulties in the partnership usually begin when exhaustion, hormone levels, and fragile nerves collide in the baby's first year.

If it’s your first baby, this comprehensive guide can help you recognize typical crisis triggers and make suggestions on how to deal with each other when the new family life becomes difficult. Consider how to develop a "thick skin" and how to behave when your nerves are frayed and there are disputes.


The First Year with a Baby: Relationship Problems

The first weeks and months of a baby's life can lead to disagreements in most couples' relationships. What was initially taken lightly becomes entrenched in many households.

Often the state of the relationship is obvious to outsiders and even before the partners themselves realize that there are problems in their relationship. New parents often receive well-intentioned but rarely useful suggestions, such as:

  • You will get used to it!
  • Everything will fall into place!

When it comes to relationship difficulties, the rule is: Slow, unnoticed onset of problems in a relationship leads to parents drifting further apart over the course of the relationship.

Tip: It is essential to not only perceive each other as parents but also to nurture the relationship as a couple and not solely focus on the child and family. Yes, the child is a priority, but parenthood does not mean giving up your entire life. Only those who are satisfied with their own lives can be good parents.

Parents often experience relationship crises!

Most parents who find themselves in this situation are those who are having their first child. Before the pregnancy, the couple usually led a different lifestyle and lived in a completely different environment. Both parents now know more about their baby, not always to the delight of their partner.

The first changes occur as soon as the woman becomes pregnant, although the extent and consequences are hardly noticeable. Problems gradually creep into the relationship as the pregnancy progresses and often lead to conflicts.

Missing acceptance that everything is different now

You are now parents. You come home exhausted from work, but instead of relaxing, the whole family is eagerly waiting for your return. As nice as it is, there are hardly any moments for quiet togetherness or even time for yourself. Nerves are on edge. In one minute, one of you is in a good mood, in the next, the person is on the verge of an outburst because the coffee machine isn't working.

Tip: The pregnancy and early postpartum period are an exceptional state for both of you. Be patient with each other and be aware that you are in a special situation and it's okay if it stresses you out. Regular communication helps. Find understanding words for yourself and your partner. After all, you are together in this new situation and as a team, you are stronger.

Fear of the future as a reason for relationship problems

When you are pregnant and your child is born, you undoubtedly worry if you will be able to handle everything. Being good parents to your child, always having enough money for the family, and staying healthy and active for a long time are just some of the challenges that new parents face. There are almost a thousand thoughts that can go through your head. However, at some point, you should stop thinking about them.

Excessive fear is one of the most harmful forms of relationship stress. It is even more harmful when combined with blame. Always remember that all parents have similar worries and concerns.

Tip: Accept and understand that while you can plan ahead, fate is unpredictable. Things happen when they are meant to happen. Develop a healthy belief in your ability to work together when needed. Enjoy the time with your partner and your child while it lasts.

Emotional Changes

The baby becomes the center of your life. You grow into the enormous task of being parents, and suddenly you have a tiny person who needs all your love and protection. Many other things become less important. Often, it is the mother who now focuses all her attention on the child. This is partly due to biology, as the infant requires a lot of attention. However, your partner should not give up being a woman who is "just" a mother.

Tip: If you are unhappy, it's time to speak up. This also applies if you think your relationship is no longer important to him/her. Let him/her know in friendly words that there is also a "we," the center of your family. Your "we" would not exist if it weren't for your family. Criticism is not a good idea. Instead, talk to your partner about how he/she feels, what he/she wants, or what changes he/she has noticed in himself/herself.

Overwhelm as a common reason

Changing diapers, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, feeding solids, teething, housework, cleaning, cooking, and tackling mountains of laundry are all time-consuming tasks that need to be done. Maybe your baby is fussy most of the time or is very demanding. When you quickly reach your limits, the relationship problem is not far away.

A tiny thing, a poorly chosen word, or a sideways glance can overwhelm you when you are tired. Always be on guard. If you can sleep, go to bed. This will relax your nerves. If you have to get up early but can't sleep at night because the baby is crying all the time, take a trip with your partner's consent and leave the house for a while.

Tip: Sleep in the living room or at your parents' place, if possible. Give your partner one or two nights without baby crying and diaper changing on the weekend. Find ways to take the pressure off both of you.

Don't fight, but support each other and acknowledge each other's achievements. Fathers and mothers are two difficult jobs that demand a lot from you, but they make you strong when you stick together and have the same goal in mind: to be a family. Then you are on the best path and have the greatest chances of actually turning the relationship crisis child into family happiness.

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Heike Kraft


All too often couples break up not because they are not compatible in general, but because they do not have the right 'tools' to resolve their conflicts. As the founder of LoveLane, I want to help couples love more consciously and value themselves more. In recent years, I have built a variety of digital products for companies, including a self-coaching app. Through my training as an integral coach and personal experiences, interpersonal relationships have become even more important to me. I am excited to be able to bring these two areas of expertise together at LoveLane.