Second Pitfall: Sleep deprivation

Everyone knows that having a baby is exhausting. Many parents report disturbed sleep in the postpartum period and it is known to have implications for a range of individual functions, including parental competence (Gay, Lee, & Lee, 2004). According to Marter, “the chronic and cumulative nature of sleep deprivation during the newborn phase is perhaps one of the most commonly underestimated challenges of new parenthood.”

Sleep deprivation sinks your mood, makes it harder to cope effectively with stress and exacerbates mood swings and anxiety. And that’s just what it does to each person. Lack of sleep strains the relationship in various ways: Couples may fight about who’s doing more and sleeping less. Because couples are extra agitated and stressed, they might squabble more in general. And the primary caregiver may feel unsupported and alone and eventually resent their spouse, Marter said.