In my teens, Mills and Boon novels were regularly “borrowed” from older sisters, passed furtively between friends, and secreted in school bags. Romances sustained me during bleak times in my teenage years after my parents divorced. I was still immersed in romance novels when I met my husband; I was 17.
I was well prepared for parenthood, or so I thought. I read everything I could get my hands on, did prenatal yoga, and searched out private antenatal classes, and it all paid off: the birth was wondrous. Our midwife showed my husband how to stand with his hands on my hips and do “birth circles” in early labor; it felt like we were dancing. She demonstrated acupressure for him, and when the pains became intense I felt grateful for his touch and comfort. She suggested to him that he stand behind me so I could lean into his arms, and I gave birth, literally and figuratively, supported by him; he had my back.
We had our first argument as new parents in the hospital parking lot and our second driving home. We didn’t normally argue, so I was shocked. Over the next few weeks and months, the conflict increased. I sought solace in my budding relationship with my son, and my husband worked harder in his two jobs. A new sense of “us” was emerging.
At the same time I studied psychology and then, pregnant with our second child, trained and began my employment as a relationship counsellor, working with couples, who like us, were on the front lines in the trenches of early parenthood. Over the years, I took history after history of their relationship journey – hundreds of them – finding that we all had the same twists and turns: things change, in life and in love, after two become three, and that these changes inevitably have effects on a couple’s relationship. What I was also learning, both personally and professionally, was that how a couple manages the changes determines the future of their relationship. I remember thinking someone should write a book about all this stuff. I didn’t think it would be me.
Read the full published article in Somatic Psychotherapy Today | Winter 2015 | Volume 5 Number 1