Maintaining Relationship Health While Transitioning to Parenthood

BY: Julia Ward, Resident in Counseling

newborn baby holding finger

It’s no secret that the transition to parenthood is a challenging one with all the physical, psychological, and relational changes that occur in a relatively short period of time. With many battling some measure of sleep deprivation, many parents experience a shortness in temper or/and a lack of patience.

If you’re a parent, you’re familiar with these challenges. If you’re expecting for the first time, you may be wondering how to navigate this unknown, upcoming transition, how a new baby will impact your lifestyle and relationship, and what kind of parent you will be.  

Drs. John and Julie Gottman, along with The Gottman Institute, have researched relationships for decades. Their research demonstrates that when many couples become parents, there is a significant decrease in their relationship satisfaction. Further research has shown that relationship discord and conflict have a profound negative effect on the couples’ infants and toddlers.  

To help parents and families through the transition to parenthood, the Gottmans and their team developed a psychoeducational program called Bringing Baby Home. This program focuses on maintaining and even improving the quality of the couple’s relationship, which ultimately improves the quality of life for babies and children.  

The main goal of the Bringing Baby Home Program is to empower families to make the transition to parenthood a successful one. In fact, for couples who take the Bringing Baby Home workshop, research has found: 

  • Parental relationship quality increases
  • Relationships between the baby and parents improves
  • The father is more involved
  • There is less hostility between parents
  • Mothers experience lower rates of maternal postpartum depression and baby blues

Bringing Baby Home is a psychoeducational course, taught over 12 hours.  It is not therapy— instead, it is an opportunity for couples to learn together through an interactive class which includes Powerpoints, videos, and in class activities so you can practice skills with your partner.  Babies in arms are welcome.  

As the Gottmans say, “The greatest gift you can give your child is a strong relationship between the two of you.”  Throughout the 12-hour class, you and your partner will learn practical skills that will help you as you move through time together as a family unit. You will learn:

  • How to strengthen and maintain your friendship
  • Tools to handle conflict as it inevitably arises
  • Sound House Relationship Theory
  • Ways to respond to your baby’s bids for attention
  • And more

We are excited to offer in-person Bringing Baby Home workshops in 2023 for new and expecting parents. Let us know if you are interested in more information by contacting Julia Ward at