According to The Gottman Institute, 69% of couples experience conflict and disappointment during the transition to parenthood. This tender time of sleep deprivation and system-shock expectedly stresses even the most rock-solid relationship foundations and places couples on a startling learning curve. That's not to say new parenthood is never peppered with delirious joy, maybe even a few glowy-parenting-magazine moments, only that it's realistic to expect (and attempt to prepare to cope with) challenges along this complex journey. Thus, it's compelling to consider the possibility of reduced suffering and improved outcomes if we are able to invest resources in relationship care during parenthood transitions. Bringing Baby Home, a program for new parents out of The Gottman Institute, has found in couples who participate in the program: better coparenting capabilities, improved quality of father-baby interactions, reduced hostility, and positive impacts on infant development and temperament (look here for comprehensive research findings). They also report a reduction in maternal depression and the baby blues among program participants.
Bringing Baby Home is available to folks in a few states throughout the country--if a workshop isn't accessible to you, try the Gottmans' book And Baby Makes Three. In Portland, this innovative two-day program is offered quarterly (the next class is set for January 2014--here's the schedule and Bringing Baby Home Portland website). For couples expecting a child, who have recently had a child (their first, third, sixth...), or those who continue to struggle with adjustment issues in parenthood years after baby, Bringing Baby Home uses scientific research and public education to improve the quality of life for couples and their families. Skillfully and compassionately led by expert practitioners Beth Bassett, LPC and Karlaina Brooke, PsyD, couples will learn parenting and relationship skills that strengthen friendship, improve intimacy and reduce adjustment stress. Bringing Baby Home is a powerful tool that appropriately encourages us to focus on emotional wellness, relationship health and the impact these issues have on child, parent, and family development.