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And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives Paperback – January 22, 2008


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And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives + The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert + The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; Reprint edition (January 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140009738X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400097388
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

JOHN GOTTMAN, PH.D., is a cofounder, and JULIE SCHWARTZ GOTTMAN, PH.D., is the clinical director of the Gottman Institute and the Relationship Research Institute in Seattle, where both are also in private practice. John is the bestselling author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work and The Relationship Cure, and coauthored 10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage with Julie. They are the founders of the Bringing Baby Home Program workshops that improve the quality of life for babies and children by strengthening families. Learn more about the program at bbhonline.org.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1

REALIZE WE'RE ALL IN THE SAME SOUP

Jim wakes up early one morning in an amorous mood. He reaches over and touches his wife's breast. She sits bolt upright and exclaims, "Those are for the baby!" Jim is crushed. He dashes out of bed and jumps in the shower.

Margarita and Carlos are about to make love one night when the baby starts crying. Carlos jokes, "Damn! This baby must have a radar for our lovemaking. He's saying, 'No sibs for me!'" Margarita doesn't laugh. She gets up. Carlos grabs her nightgown, pulls her back, and, a little irritably says, "Stay. He can just calm himself. The trouble is you never give him the chance to." Margarita frowns, once again gets up, and Carlos utters another "Damn!" under his breath. She hears him. When she returns to bed a while later, she expects Carlos to be angry. But surprisingly, Carlos apologizes and says that he understands why she had to go to the baby. He offers to go the next time the baby cries. Now she cries, but in gratitude. Exhausted, both of them feel closer again and cuddle together. They fall asleep in each other's arms, as the baby sleeps through his first night.

Across the street, Debbie comes to breakfast with her baby. Her husband, Harry, sits down to eat, too, but pulls his chair over to the portable TV. Debbie says, "Can't you turn that thing off and spend breakfast with me and the baby?" Harry says, "Shut up and stop nagging! I just want to hear the news before work. Anyway, what do you want me for? You sure as hell don't want me at night. I'm pretty worthless to you, aren't I? What do you care how hard I work, or when I help out around here? You're the one driving me away. All you want is to be with that baby." Debbie yells, "What is it with you men? Can't you get it that when a woman has a baby hanging on her all day, she doesn't want a man hanging on her all night?" Harry gets up and leaves with the portable TV, slamming the door behind him.

A few blocks away, there's a different picture. Jason and his partner, Shanique, play with their six-month-old son, Marcus, who's getting a fresh diaper on the changing table. Marcus is watching his parents with eyes like saucers. Jason sings, "I'm gonna . . . get . . . your . . . belly!" and he gives Marcus a big loud kiss on the belly. Marcus giggles and flashes Jason a gorgeous smile. Jason and Shanique both dive in, tickling and blowing on their baby's tummy. The baby wiggles and squeals with laughter. Shanique and Jason pick him up, fresh and clean, and dance over the living-room floor.

What's the difference between these families? They all have new babies, they all face the same joys and the same stresses, and yet some are so happy, and some are not. In our research, we've discovered that everyone has the best of intentions after their babies are born. But some couples weather the transition beautifully, others stumble but regain their footing, while still others fall . . . and keep falling.

First, though, before we examine what distinguishes one group of couples from another, let's answer a more fundamental question: Who is having babies in this country?

BABIES ARE MOSTLY BORN TO COUPLES

About 4.5 million babies are born each year in the United States. The vast majority are born to married couples, not single moms. But the numbers are changing dramatically. In 1980, the estimate was that 18.4 percent of all babies were born to single moms. By 2003, the figure increased to 34.6 percent--over a third of all babies born in this country. These figures suggest that single motherhood is on the rise. There's a fear that children born to single moms are at greater risk for poverty, neglect, and maltreatment. Some say that if these babies were born to couples committed to staying together, their families would be much better off.

These statistics are highly misleading. A recent study in twenty-one American cities found that unwed mothers are rarely alone. Independent of race and ethnicity, a whopping 82 percent of these moms are romantically involved with the fathers of their babies. Sixty percent of these couples live together and are gallantly struggling to make it. So the overwhelming majority of unwed mothers are partnered already with the dads of their babies. "Single" motherhood, at least in the first year of Baby's life, is largely a myth.

As we travel around the nation conducting our workshops for birth educators, we also see men in every social class and ethnic group wanting to be better fathers and partners. Many men have experienced absentee fathers whom they either have never met or who disappeared early from their families. They don't want to repeat their fathers' mistakes. They want a different life for themselves. Many of them want families even more than friends or careers.

All told, this means that nearly all babies are born to couples, married or not. And couples are showing a profound commitment these days to creating not just babies, but healthy families. That's what this book is all about.

THE SOUP WE'RE ALL IN

There's an old joke about a man who goes to a restaurant, and after his soup arrives he calls the waiter over. He says to the waiter, "Taste the soup." The waiter assures him that this soup has taken weeks to prepare, and that the chef is one of the finest in the city. The man again says to the waiter, "Taste the soup." The waiter offers more assurances. He brings over framed restaurant reviews that all mention the soup. The man nods and smiles and again says to the waiter, "Taste the soup." Finally, exasperated, the waiter says, "All right. I'll taste the soup . . . Where's the spoon?" "Aha!" the man says.

There's no way for us to know how our lives will change after our baby arrives. We think we'll be full of joy. Everyone tells us that there's nothing more exciting than a new baby. Babies are the natural culmination of the love we share. They are the dawning of new hope. Babies delight us with their cuteness and draw us into their peaceful, loving world. They are soft and tender, helpless and small. They need us. They call us to love and nurture them. They are also very nice people. They openly greet us, and they eagerly play with us. They engage us, imitate us, and smile at us. Once we get to know our babies, we think, maybe our species is good and fine after all.

But sometimes we find that we may have cooked up a tasty fantasy. Once the realities of new parenthood set in, the stresses stand out, too, like too much salt in a dish.

Our thirteen-year research study with 130 young families uncovered a startling fact: In the first three years after babies were born, a whopping two-thirds of parents experienced a significant drop in their couple relationship quality. Being with Baby tasted so sweet, but being together as partners turned bitter; increases in conflict and hostility soured family life.

If these research results are representative, we're talking about an overwhelming majority of American families who suffer from relationship distress after children come. We heard many stories like these (the following names and identifying details were changed).

Angelica complained that her husband expects her to do almost all of the housework and child care even though she now works half-time. Robert said that he now works not only full-time but does a lot of overtime as well, and that should count for something.

She sarcastically said, "Thank you, Your Highness. But you can change this diaper right now as part of your overtime at home."

He snickered. "No way. I'll change a wet diaper, but the poop ones are all yours."

She did not laugh. She changed the diaper.

Jonathan and Jenny sat on a couch together during an interview. He said, "Jenny's too involved with the baby. She's got no limits. She doesn't get that we have to save our money now. She'll spend a week's salary just so the baby will look cute when she brings him out to her friends. It's like our baby is Barbie. She's totally impractical."

She said, "You don't understand! Our baby outgrows everything so fast. Besides, I am not impractical. I resent that! You're just a cheapskate who doesn't earn enough money. I had to get that new stroller. The old one wasn't safe."

He shot back, "All I ever hear out of your mouth are zingers, nothing but criticism. What about all the good stuff I do? "

She whipped out, "Whenever you do anything, you don't do it right, so I have to do it all over again." She laughed.

He said, "Another zinger."

The two of them ended up sitting next to each other, not talking, stone-faced and looking straight ahead.

These examples are typical. In our research, we score videotapes of couples discussing problems in detail, second by second. Here's what we see: The couples in trouble are critical, defensive, and disrespectful with each other. They are blind to their partner's point of view, and they can't compromise. They often say things they later regret. Not surprisingly, most of these couples have elevated heart rates during their arguments. Their fights feel like tripping through mine fields. Their partners seem like enemies, not allies. Apparently, their partners don't even like them, let alone respect them. Over time, both partners are haunted by feeling unappreciated, neglected, and lonely.

How does this calamity happen when there should only be joy? The story seems to be this: When a baby arrives, a couple's intimacy deteriorates. Sex, romance, and passion often decline. The relationship shifts its center to the baby. Husbands and wives who were once friends and lovers no longer have time for each other. Dating stops entirely, and long conversations disappear. Both parents get lonely, and can be drawn to others outside the marriage. Most affairs occur after children come. Family time is now battle time.

Worse yet, battles get ...

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Customer Reviews

It was like I was reliving what happened.
E. Petrucelli
It does provide some good insights and helpful tips.
Christy d
I'm rereading this book for a refresher right now.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By E. Petrucelli on May 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a certified labor doula and I bought this book so I could help my doula clients. I didn't realize how helpful it would be to me as well. I wanted to be able to provide my clients with some good information about how things might be after their baby is born. IT's not an easy transition in many ways. Although delightful, the roller coaster of emotions both parents go through can be rough and lead to divorce. I can't tell you how many times I have gone to a postpartum visit only to see my clients sitting separately. The dad not responding to mom's requests and mom not talking to dad but talking AT him. I know them because we met prenatally and seeing the transition is astounding. The once happy couple, who would do anything for each other while pregnant, is now sad. Dad is no longer focused on mom and wanting to make her happy. Mom isn't really doing much to make dad happy. They are two people living in the same home but they are slowly losing each other. Sleep deprivation and an overwhelming sense of responsibility on both parents is splitting them apart. What's worse is, we don't think about how this will affect the baby.

When couples think about how life will change when baby comes, they often think about how it will affect them. They don't think about how these changes will affect their baby; especially in the long run. This book describes those changes and offers suggestions and support on how to get through them. Dad's typically withdraw and I thought it was very normal. It is, however, if dad withdraws from baby and for significant periods, this will have a profound effect on the baby at the present time and in the long run. We must also think about the baby not just us.

I heard an MD speak about Bringing Baby Home last year. My son was almost 3 at the time.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Sara F. on June 10, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I LOVED the book Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Unfortunately, this book is simply a remake of that one. Many of the stories are identical, and not much of the information is new. There are a couple chapters related specifically to having a baby, but you could read them quickly at the library without purchasing the book. If you haven't read the other book, this book would be great -- just don't buy both!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By B. Armstrong-Hoss on November 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My husband and I attended the Bringing Baby Home workshop, developed from this book, and I enjoy the text perhaps even more. Gottman's discussion about the origin of the concept of "spoiling" was fascinating and revealing about our culture and the historical influence behind some prevalent parenting theories. Gottman provides couples the tools, information, and the inpiration to stay bonded to each other and to become bonded to their babies. I found this book valuable and a wife, a pediatric nurse, and a new mother.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By SeattleMomma on March 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book will definitely help couples keep their marriages on track post-baby if both spouses read it, and I'd recommend reading it BEFORE baby arrives and talking about it together. That way, when you're sleep deprived and your life is upside down due to having a new baby in your life and family, you might remember some of the good advice about how to communicate with each other and take care of each other. I really liked the many examples from couples studied, and the research-based nature of the recommendations. You probably won't be surprised at the "no-duh" nature of much of this book, since caring for your spouse and marriage really boils down to communicating well with each other, thinking about the other person, and treating them with respect and love. Kindness begets kindness! Nonetheless, it's helpful to read the data supporting the recommendations and to have these messages reinforced for you and your spouse. Good luck!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brian & Kim French on February 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great for learning about positive communication techniques. Things you may not think of before the baby comes. Dynamics that will change for the good, bad or indifferent, but need addressing. You may find parts dry, as I did, but concepts are there that will make a relationship stronger for having thought and discussed them. I have been a counselor for years and it's funny how easy it is to forget the simplicity in being on the same page as your spouse. Good buy for an a read that will benefit you for many years. Good gift too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must have for every couple about to have a baby...or even for those who already have children. It helps you realize you are not alone and there are very simple things you can do to reconnect and be a "couple" while you are also mommy and daddy.

My husband and I attended the Gottman's Institute couples weekend counseling retreat in Seattle, WA last year for our 7 yr anniversary. We had a 1.5 yr old son and were STILL trying to find a balance with job/chore/life sharing.
The weekend helped us rekindle our romance and go out into the world prepared. The years and years of research, combined with the Gottman's wonderful personalities and life stories, and a few basic techniques to use in the real world, are vital. We arrived tired, cranky, short-answers thrown at each other, and not expecting much. We left holding hands, smiling, telling stories about our life together, and rededicated to each other. I truly believe this retreat not only improved our marriage, it may even have saved it from the downward spiral towards divorce that most couples face at some point in their marriage.
If you can afford to go to this retreat I would HIGHLY encourage it! If you live near Seattle, they were having "baby makes 3" workshops as well.
For the rest of you, READ THIS BOOK! Or get The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work; as another review said, it has a lot of the same information.

We are currently expecting baby #2 (due in July :) and we are still nervous about the changes this will bring to our relationship. No more "you take him, I'll do this"...now we'll have one for each of us and we know the job/chore/life sharing problems are going to come up again. But this time, I think we'll be ready.
I'm rereading this book for a refresher right now. :)
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