Are New Parents At Risk of Intimacy-Ruining 'Baby Quake?'

By Julia Lynn Rubin, Parent Herald May 29, 01:17 pm

New parents who recently welcomed a newborn into their family may suffer from a phenomenon known as "baby quake," which leads couples to shun intimacy and can ultimately drive their relationship apart, the Telegraph reports.

A recent study by the relationship charity OnePlusOne revealed that 40 percent of new mothers expressed worries that they would no longer be sexually active with their partners after giving birth. As for the fathers, more than a quarter were worried their partner would stop wanting to have sex, and just over a quarter of couples longed for time alone instead of constantly caring for their infant.

"Becoming a parent can put a relationship under extreme pressure as each partner tries to adjust to their new role," OnePlusOne's charity director, Penny Mansfield, said to the Daily Mail. "For some, it can be almost like a mini-earthquake."

Thus the name given to the phenomenon: "baby quake."

Researchers studied more than 1,400 mothers and fathers of newborns, and according to the Daily Mail, nearly a quarter of couples split up from their partner with whom they had their first child with. Of those parents, two-fifths split during pregnancy or before the child has reached three years.

"Often one becomes a stay-at-home parent and this can be very isolating," Wakefield said. "If they feel the partner out at work does not appreciate them, it can lead to arguments."  

Parents may be so concerned about their new roles, whether it be staying at home or the breadwinner, they may neglect one another and effectively stop regarding each other as romantic partners. 

The study also found that new parents face daily struggles with deciding how to divide housework such as cooking and cleaning, in addition to grappling with a new sense of identity after having a baby. 

According to OnePlusOne, the strong bond between parent and child may threaten a relationship, as roughly six months after the birth, men and women "show the big differences in how important they see the 'partnership' side of their lives," often resulting in the mother taking over the parent role more quickly than the father. In addition, the charity says that mothers may feel left out once the baby grows older and her bond with her child is not as intense and close.

As for taking the pressure off, the charity advises talking to your partner about your priorities in life, keeping communication open not only between each other but with other people willing to listen. In addition, they remind parents that childcare becomes less demanding as children grow older.

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