This morning, Good Morning America featured Bringing Baby Home, a program Swellbeing is proud to offer as part of our parent workshops. The piece titled, “Baby Makes Three: Dealing with Children in Your Relationship” focused on the emotional toll welcoming a baby into the family may take on mothers and fathers and, subsequently, the marriage.
“Thirty percent of fathers have postpartum depression symptoms,” said Relationship Research Institute executive director John Gottman. “Fifty [percent] to 80 percent of moms have symptoms of postpartum depression.”
I must clarify that having symptoms of post partum depression and meeting the criteria are not the same thing. Experts generally agree that the incidence of PPD is between 10%-15%. Postpartum blues (“baby blues”) is the phenomenon whereby 50% or more of moms meet some criteria for depression, however those symptoms tend to lift within days to a few weeks. When those symptoms persist and worsen, they can lead to the more severe postpartum depression. If you or someone you know is experiencing some of the symptoms of PPD (lack of interest in anything, sadness or irritability, thought of harming self or baby, change in appetite or sleep), please contact a helping professional immediately.
During pregnancy a great deal of attention is paid to preparing for labor and delivery, and preparing the nursery, but very little, if any, attention is given to the most important building block of all: the parenting relationship. John and Julie Gottman have done extensive longitudinal research on relationships to understand and identify what makes a relationship successful. They have used their findings as the pillars of the Bringing Baby Home Workshop designed to prepare expecting couples and new parents alike for the changes that occur once the baby arrives. The goal of the workshop is to teach couples how to care for one another as well as the baby. The results for couples who attend these workshops are impressive: a drop in post partum depression rates from 67% to 23%.
Programs such as Zero to Three have illuminated the critical importance of those first few years in a child’s life developmentally. Unfortunately for most couples, these early years of family life are wrought with sleepless nights, marital tension and a lack of harmony.
“About two-thirds of couples had serious problems in the first three years of the baby’s life, where their happiness with one another went down,” said Gottman, who has researched relationships for 30 years. “Their hostility increased.”
Swellbeing is delighted to be staffed by Certified Gottman Educators. We are offering Bringing Baby Home workshops this September. Contact us for more information or to register: firstname.lastname@example.org