Dialog Box

11 May 2018

From couple to family

Thirteen years ago CatholicCare created a workshop for new and expectant parents to guide them into the transition to parenthood, called Bringing Baby Home (BBH). Rhyannon Elliott, Acting Manager of Marriage and Relationship Education, is also one of our BBH facilitators and with Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, we asked Rhyannon to share her insights into the program.

Bringing Baby Home is a one-day workshop which helps couples to strengthen their connection by reflecting on their relationship, and by learning how they can improve communication, maintain intimacy, and manage conflict with one another.

“The program is based on the work of renowned relationship expert John Gottman,” says Rhyannon. “Clinical trials of his program run in the United States have shown that couples who attend the program maintain relationship satisfaction, have reduced hostility during conflict and increased affection. Moreover, the couples report increased positive parent-baby interactions, increased father involvement and father satisfaction, and a reduction in postpartum mood difficulties.”

Relationships understandably change after the birth of a couple’s first baby, so preparing for these challenges is important to ensure that relationships remain strong and healthy for the future. Research shows that after the birth of the first baby, conflict between parents increases eightfold. Rhyannon commented that when conflict is managed well, parents have an increased understanding and deeper connection to each other, are more open to influence from each other, have improved co-parenting and are better able to manage stress. “Their children benefit also with increased attachment to parents, decreased stress, decreased risk of physical and mental illness, greater emotional connection and better performance at school.”

“The greatest gift you can give your child is a strong relationship between the two of you” – John Gottman, relationship expert.


“Every couple having a baby should do this program,” states Kathy, who recently participated in the BBH program. “It was a breath of fresh air and so positive about how to look after ourselves so that we can be good parents.”

John, another BBH participant, said “it’s been so helpful to learn how we can strengthen our relationship before the birth of our child. It’s one less challenge we’ll have to face for the future!” CatholicCare’s BBH workshop also welcomes parents with a new baby, providing extra excitement and knowledge to the other participants in the room.

With Mother’s Day coming up, Rhyannon also offered some advice for parents and expectant couples:

“My advice to couples, and it might seem strange, is to resist the temptation to read your partner’s mind! Mindreading is very hard to do and, more often than not, leads you down the wrong path. Instead, talk about what’s on your mind, set your expectations together and respectfully ask for what you need. For new parents, cut each other some slack and celebrate each other’s different styles. Parenthood is tough and we can, as human beings, focus on the struggle rather than the success. Mother’s Day is a great reminder to switch our brains to success mode and take pride in our creations.”

If you are interested in participating in a relationship course or undergoing training to become a workshop facilitator like Rhyannon, visit our Relationship Courses page or contact us on 9287 5555.

All workshop dates can be found on our Events page.

CatholicCare wishes all mums a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Above: Rhyannon Elliott running a Bringing Baby Home workshop.

Kate's Story

With your help we can bring understanding, belonging and joy to the table this Christmas.