BRINGING BABY HOME
The Kirlin Charitable Foundation has developed a wonderful partnership with John Gottman and his Relationship Research Institute. Professor Gottman, an internationally recognized educator, researcher, and author is best known for his extensive research and writings on marital relationships and emotional intelligence. The Kirlin Charitable Foundation has been instrumental in the expansion of the Bringing Baby Home project described below; one, which we believe, has great potential for systemic change in the preparation of couples for their new life as parents. We encourage you to read not only the short description offered, but also the in-depth discussion below. We think that you will be inspired by the vision, thoughtfulness and passion that Dr. Gottman brings to this essential and fundamental initiative. Also, please visit the website noted below for a broader picture of the scope of his work.
Bringing Baby Home Project
It is well known that half of all the divorces in the family life course occur in the first seven years of marriage (Cherlin, 1981), so that these early years are a period of very high risk for the survival of marriages. The transition to parenthood and its associated decline in marital quality is clearly part of the cascade toward divorce that has become an epidemic in our country. Our own previous research has shown that 67% of new parents go through this precipitous drop in marital quality. Research has also shown that marital conflict increases dramatically during the transition (Belsky & Kelly, 1994). It is also well known that the declining marital satisfaction, conflict, and hostility between parents have powerful effects on the developing infant. These effects begin in the infant’s first year of life, and we believe that these effects can be reversed by early intervention with the parents. Yet at the present time hospital-based birth preparation classes prepare the couple only for the baby’s delivery, not for the well-known and potentially disastrous aftermath of the delivery. We propose to test two brief and low-cost interventions to change this tragic pattern. Our nonprofit research institute is currently engaged in a 4-year action-research project in collaboration with Swedish Medical Center in Seattle to evaluate the effects of adding a 2-day workshop, and the workshop plus a new-parent support group, compared to a control group that receives only standard birth preparation. Due to its initial success, the workshop has been adopted by the Swedish Medical Center and become a part of its standard public offerings. We therefore believe that this research project has the potential to change hospitals and outcomes for our children throughout the country.
Bringing Baby Home
Relationship Research Institutue
1730 Minor Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
You can also access Dr. Gottman’s work on the Talaris Research Institute website: www.talaris.org. In addition to the Bringing Baby Home project, the Talaris site provides a wealth of useful information on early childhood development and learning.