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Navigating Relationships

Our relationships play an important role in our health and wellbeing. This includes relationships with a partner, with parents, with friends and family members, as well as our relationship with ourselves. In this section, you can learn more about how the women in our research experienced changes in their relationships after becoming a parent. You can also find resources and exercises for supporting relationships during parenthood. 

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The video below shares findings from our research on relationships during motherhood.

The Importance of Relationships

Positive relationships relate to the support we give and receive from others and how we nurture that support in our lives. They play an important role during pregnancy and after becoming a parent. 

Learn more about positive relationships during motherhood in the video below. 

Relationship with your partner

This video talks about ways you can connect with your partner during motherhood. 


This video talks about ways you can build and maintain friendships during motherhood. 

Asking for Support

Asking for support during motherhood is important for your wellbeing. Watch the below video to learn about the importance of asking for and getting the support you need.

Social Support during the Perinatal Period

Social support is important for wellbeing throughout motherhood. Learn more about social support and how to build it in this video.  

Ways to ask for support

Watch this video to learn about some practical ways you can ask for support during motherhood.

Ways to give support

In this video, learn some practical ways you can offer and provide support to a new mother in your life. 

Your Relationship with Yourself

Your relationship with yourself is one of the most important relationships you have. Learn more about how to connect with yourself during motherhood in this video. 

Grab a notebook and pen, or the notebook on your phone and go take a look at these exercises on sleep. This workbook section is from the HSE Postpartum Workbook.

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Additional Resources and Reading

Relationships and Support

Bost, K. K., Cox, M. J., Burchinal, M. R., & Payne, C. (2002). Structural and supportive changes in couples' family and friendship networks across the transition to parenthood. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64(2), 517-531.

Curry, O. S., Rowland, L. A., Van Lissa, C. J., Zlotowitz, S., McAlaney, J., & Whitehouse, H. (2018). Happy to help? A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of performing acts of kindness on the well-being of the actor. Journal of Expesrimental Social Psychology, 76, 320–329.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11(4), 227–268.

Emmanuel, E., St John, W., & Sun, J. (2012). Relationship between social support and quality of life in childbearing women during the perinatal period. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, 41(6), E62-E70.


Milgrom, J., Hirshler, Y., Reece, J., Holt, C., & Gemmill, A. W. (2019). Social support—a protective factor for depressed perinatal women?. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(8), 1426.

WHO (2016). Strengthening Social support. Report title: problem management plus: Individual psychological help for adults impaired by distress in communities exposed to adversity.

Zhao, X., & Epley, N. (2022). Surprisingly happy to have helped: Underestimating prosociality creates a misplaced barrier to asking for help. Psychological Science, 33(10), 1708-1731.

Reconnecting with Yourself

Heppner, W. L., Kernis, M. H., Nezlek, J. B., Foster, J., Lakey, C. E., & Goldman, B. M. (2008). Within-person relationships among daily self-esteem, need satisfaction, and authenticity. Psychological Science, 19(11), 1140-1145.

Klussman, K., Nichols, A. L., Curtin, N., Langer, J., & Orehek, E. (2022). Self‐connection and well‐being: Development and validation of a self‐connection scale. European Journal of Social Psychology, 52(1), 18-45.

Klussman, K., Curtin, N., Langer, J., & Nichols, A. L. (2022). The importance of awareness, acceptance, and alignment with the self: A framework for understanding self-connection. Europe's Journal of Psychology, 18(1), 120.

Mooney, J. T., Webb, J. B., Armstrong, L. M., & Dahl, A. A. (2023). Caring for myself while I’m growing somebody else: Mindful self-care buffers between pregnancy body disconnection and distress. Body Image, 45, 296-306.

How to get back in touch with your postpartum body. Calm.

Psychology Today. Reconnecting with Yourself after Change.

PsychCentral. How to Reconnect to Yourself.

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