Navigating the Transition to Parenthood as a Team and How The Bringing Baby Home Workshop Can Help

The transition to parenthood is one that comes with profound shifts in identity, roles, and relationships. These shifts inevitably impact parents as individuals and as partners. Renowned psychotherapist and relationship expert, Esther Perel, states that “having a baby is a psychological revelation that changes our relation to almost everything and everyone” (Perel, 2006). These words ring particularly true for the couple’s relationship to one another. Often, couples may enter into parenthood believing that having a child together will strengthen their marriage, when often the impact is quite the opposite. Research shows us that within three years after the birth of a baby, two thirds of couples will experience a dramatic decrease in relationship satisfaction and increase in hostility and conflict (Gottman and Gottman, 2022). Relationship discord within the parental relationship can have a variety of profoundly negative impacts on the children of the couple. This makes this a critical time to focus on strengthening the couple’s relationship.

What is The Bringing Baby Home Workshop?

One way for couples to prevent some of these negative impacts and to enhance their connection is The Bringing Baby Home Workshop. Bringing Baby Home was created to help improve quality of life by strengthening the families of those considering parenthood, parents-to-be, and parents of young children. This workshop was created by The Gottman Institute, which has spent decades conducting clinical research on couples and families. The purpose of the workshop is to equip parents with the skill sets and knowledge needed to navigate the challenges that typically come with the transition to parenthood.

What does the research say about Bringing Baby Home?

This workshop has been studied through clinical research, and demonstrates that couples who participate in the workshop report a significantly lower rate of postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, a decrease in relationship hostility, higher relationship satisfaction, and a decreased likelihood of divorce.

The Gottmans have been researching couples having children since 1985. This workshop began as a small pilot study in 1999 and eventually grew to a full-scale research evaluation (a longitudinal randomized clinical trial) involving 159 families. Some families participated in the workshop and others did not, and all were followed for three years. The research focused on a few specific areas: the quality of the couple’s relationship, the involvement of each parent, and the child’s outcomes. The research studied the following variables: perception of quality of marriage, impact of marital conflict, postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, ability to co-parent, involvement of fathers, infant temperament, infant’s developmental milestones, and overall family dynamics (Gottman and Gottman, 2022). The research demonstrates a multitude of positive impacts–parents who participated in The Bringing Baby Home Program showed enhanced responsiveness and sensitivity to their infants’ signals (particularly true for fathers), and demonstrated stronger co-parenting abilities. Among the families who participated in the workshop, babies expressed more smiling and laughter during play with parents, and multiple indicators of father-infant attachment were rated more positively than in the families who did not participate in the program (Gottman and Gottman, 2022).

Additionally, as far as infant development, there were less language delays in infants whose parents participated in Bringing Baby Home. Fathers who participated in the workshop reported being more involved in parenting and feeling more satisfied with and appreciated for their role. Couples who engaged in this program reported high, stable relationship quality. Those who didn’t participate in the program (the control group) showed a significant decline in relationship quality one year after the baby’s birth. There were also significant mental health impacts: mothers who took this program reported fewer symptoms of postpartum depression, baby blues and anxiety. Additionally, fewer fathers who had taken the workshop showed signs of depression or anxiety (Gottman and Gottman, 2022). Importantly, and ethically, the control group (couples who did not participate in the workshop as a part of the study) were offered the workshop at the conclusion of the study.

What kind of workshop is Bringing Baby Home?

The motto of The Bringing Baby Home Workshop is Small Things Often. The goal of the workshop is not to “fix” or “cure” couples, but to help couples learn tools and techniques to create a sound relationship as they navigate the transition to parenthood. This is a psychoeducational workshop designed to teach tools and skills and is not psychotherapy. The workshop is both didactic and interactive and provides ample opportunity for practicing new skills and tools.

The workshop was built utilizing the Gottmans’ “Sound Relationship House” theory. This is a theory that conceptualizes three primary domains of marital satisfaction: friendship and intimacy, constructive conflict, and shared meaning. During the workshop, participants learn about the meaning of these three domains, and receive guidance around how to maintain these three domains before, during, and after the transition to parenthood (Dingfelder 2011).

Who is appropriate for this offering at Wildflower?

We are so excited to offer The Bringing Baby Home Workshop at Wildflower Center for Emotional Health. This workshop is appropriate for couples (including the LGBTQIA/Queer Communities) who are considering parenthood, on the journey to parenthood, or have a child/children aged three and younger. The workshop will take place virtually on three consecutive Saturdays. Please visit for more information or to register..


Gottman, J., Schwartz & Gottman, J. (2022). Bringing Baby Home, Educator’s Manual.

Dingfelder, S. (2011). American Psychological Association, 42(9), 51.

Perel, E. (2006). “When Three Three Threatens Two: Must Parenthood Bring Down the Curtain on Romance?” Psychotherapy Networker.