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Crissy Hammerman, MSMFT • February 20, 2010

The transition to parenthood can be an exciting time for couples, full of anticipation and hope for the future. In preparing to become parents, couples often focus on childbirth and child-rearing. Hospitals, bookstores, and the Internet offer extensive resources on childbirth, breastfeeding, and infant care. However, less attention is given to the couple’s relationship, and the considerable changes it will experience when a child enters the family.

References & Citations

Belsky, J. & Kelly, J. (1994). The transition to parenthood: How a first child changes a marriage: Why some couples grow closer and others apart. New York: Dell.

Cowan, C. P. & Cowan, P. A. (1995). Interventions to ease the transition to parenthood: Why they are needed and what they can do. Family Relations: Journal of Applied Family and Child Studies, 44(4), 412-423.

Cowan, C. P. & Cowan, P. A. (2000). When parents become partners: The big life change for couples. New Jersey: Erlbaum.

Cowan, P.A & Cowan, C. P. (2003). Normative family transitions, normal family processes, and healthy child development. In Walsh, F (Eds.), Normal Family Processes, (pp. 424-459). New York: Guilford.

Gottman, J. (1999). The seven principles for making marriage work. New York: Three Rivers Press.

Gottman, J. M., Gottman, J. S., Pirak, C., Parthemer, J. & the Relationship Research Institute (2008). Bringing baby home: A program for new parents experiencing the transition to parenthood (Instructors’ manual). Seattle, WA: Relationship Research Institute.

Shapiro, S., Gottman, J. & Carrere, S. (2000). The baby and the marriage: Identifying factors that buffer against decline in marital satisfaction after the first baby arrives. Journal of Family Psychology, 14(1), 59-70.

Shapiro, S. & Gottman, J. (2005). Effects on marriage of a psychocommunicative-educational intervention with couples undergoing the transition to parenthood: Evaluation at 1-year post intervention. Journal of Family Communication, 5(1), 1-24.