New responsibilities, new rhythms, new life ... The birth of a child inevitably upsets the life of the family, and that of the couple. Too destabilized by this upheaval, weakened by previous conflicts, some parents separate even before the child has blown his first candle. This is what experts call the baby-clash. Bernard Geberowicz, psychiatrist and author of Baby-clash, the child-proofed couple (Albin Michel), tells us more about the reasons for such a crisis.
Do we know what is the proportion of couples who separate after the birth of a child?
Bernard Geberowicz: There are no statistics to tell. Simply because it is very difficult to make a direct link between the arrival of the child and the separation of the couple. When a couple separates, one can not attribute responsibility to a single factor. Nevertheless, I usually answer that 100% of couples go through turbulence at the birth of the first baby. Moreover, we know that about 20% of couples separate in the first 4-5 years of life together, whether they are parents or not.
Why is the arrival of the first child particularly destabilizing?
Bernard Geberowicz: The reshuffle that takes place when a first baby arrives is very important because it takes place on many levels. On the one hand at the level of each of the partners, individually. On the other hand at the level of the couple, even inside it, but also between the couple and the families of origin, and finally between the couple and the rest of the social world (friends, work). This birth is a period of crisis which, like any crisis, separates two moments of equilibrium: that prior to birth, and, a priori, a new equilibrium that will take place after, sometimes only a few months later.
The individual reshuffle you are talking about, what is it concretely?
Bernard Geberowicz: First, it's a reshuffle that is not quite synchronous, and not located on the same register, for the mother and for the father. The woman, becoming a mother, can relive traumas of her own childhood, of her own relationship with her mother. It goes through the depressive period of the baby blues, which lasts only a few days, but is no less disturbing. She lives very close to her baby, and in parallel, some form of distance with her male partner.
The man can be troubled at other levels. He often develops a feeling of responsibility in the full sense of the term that he has not always developed until then.Like something passed down from generation to generation around the head of the family. With the change of the generation order, he is also becoming aware of his mortal quality, which can be very destabilizing. Learning fatherhood really materializes this phase of maturity, where the man says to himself "I must stop bullshit, that I pay attention, I no longer have the right to die."