Episode 14: Mine, Yours, Ours: Thriving In The First Year After Baby

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In this episode of The Family couch with Catherine O’Brien, LMFT we discuss how to thrive as a family at home with baby in the first year. This incredibly high stress months can be overwhelming for a new mother and the entire family. Catherine and I chat about the importance of communication during these months and what actions new parents can take that will shape the upcoming years. Additionally, Catherine shares how her own experience of becoming a parent shaped her decision to frame her therapy practice toward new parents in their first years of parenting.

We dive right into a hard topic – communication – most new couples report feeling that they are not on the same page. New parents often state that they individually feel they are taking on more work than their spouse and in turn, feel resentment. In fact, the research shows that our perception of who is doing more is not accurate. We are so sleep deprived in the first year that it shakes our reality. We discuss how to move past these beliefs, which can be as simple as just identifying what the beliefs are.

Next, we dive into real life techniques on how to effectively communicate in the first year of parenting which will help each person open up. Catherine shares examples of what questions are good to ask each other, why it is important to do this daily and how it will impact your relationship and the baby’s life.

Erika shares her “postpartum plan,” which she says will help guide you down this next step in your relationship. We talk about why this is important – kids are a moment in your relationship and understanding how your partner feels during this new period is important to maintain a healthy dynamic.  She breaks it down to three questions. First, do you know know what you are doing to take better can of yourself? Second, what are you doing to bond with the baby? She explains how important this one is for the partner – this allows the partner to have a role where they make decisions. Third, when are you doing to connect? This decreases the chance of anxiety and allows for a deeper emotional connection between you and your partner.

Lastly, We discuss the “mommy wars” and different techniques on how to move past the competition that exists within the mommy groups, the information that is shared, and what one should do to parent in a way where you are comfortable. Catherine shares that to be the best parent we have to be comfortable in knowing who our child is, who we are as a parent and choose to parent individually. Secondly, dad (or the partner parent) can support through communication check ins to make sure we understand what is important and what we can do to help each other.



Catherine is a Certified Gottman Educator, qualified to facilitate their Bringing Home Baby program, and have Postpartum Support International’s (PSI) Perinatal Mood Disorders Certification. She has a background as a credentialed school psychologist working with children and adolescents with learning disorders which helps her understand the developmental milestones that children need to meet.

Catherine enjoys working with new parents and new moms, so that they can be Happy With Baby. I love helping them with this transition to parenthood because so many new parents are struggling to manage their relationships now that baby is here. New moms are often struggling with anxiety and depression and feel it is taboo to talk about. She gives them the tools and resources they need to help them feel better as their family changes.



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