Mental health, emotional wellbeing & personal development

Marriage after a baby

Marriage after a baby

 

married baby photo

How My Marriage Changed After Having a Baby

Guest post written by Jennifer Landis:

Everything changes after you have a baby — you sleep less, you listen for every little sound that happens in your house and you become eminently familiar with the growing bags under your eyes. One thing most people don’t think about is how their relationship with their significant other changes after having a baby. Don’t let yourself be so preoccupied with that new little miracle that you forget there’s another person in the house — your spouse! Here are some things I didn’t expect to happen after a baby.

You’ll Miss Sex — or Maybe You Won’t

Not counting the six weeks of post-partum recovery during which you’re not supposed to get it on, sex may become a myth for the first few months after your baby is born — you’re pretty sure it exists, but you don’t see any evidence of it, except for this crying baby in your arms. It’s hard to get in the mood when you’re exhausted, asleep or listening for the slightest sounds that indicate your little one is stirring. Even when you do get around to doing the dirty, you’ll probably stress about it — do I look as good as I did before I had the baby, is it good for my partner? Just like sex pre-baby, there’s a spectrum of urgency when it comes to getting back to it. Don’t stress about sex if you do get around to it, and don’t stress about it if you don’t — you might not feel up to it for quite a while after you have that little one.

You Sleep in Shifts

Sleep? What is sleep? You may be able to sneak in some shut-eye in the form of small naps between feeding, changing and nurturing this small new life you’ve created. You and your spouse might even end up sleeping in shifts to maximize the amount of shut-eye you both get between diaper changes. This gets especially tough if you’re breastfeeding — if you don’t have any readily available bottles of pumped breast milk, expect to get up every couple of hours because no one else can do what you do — once you get over how amazing it is, you have to come to terms with how exhausting it is. New Parent Sleep Deprivation is a thing — if you feel like you’re getting to a point where you can’t function safely, ask for help. Even having someone take the little one for an hour or two so you can get a good nap is helpful.

Your Partner Can’t Always Help

You may find yourself feeling down after your baby is born — this is totally normal. Your body is relearning how to balance out its hormones. If these baby blues last for more than three to five days, it could be a sign of a more concerning condition known as postpartum depression. It’s a form of clinical depression that occurs exclusively after the birth of a child. No one knows why some women are more prone to PPD than others. While the most common treatment for PPD utilizes traditional antidepressants and therapy, many people are starting to lean toward the use of medical marijuana to treat this form of depression. This treatment might not be compatible with breastfeeding, so be sure to talk to your doctor about all your treatment options if you continue breastfeeding.

You Will Have Arguments

Even if you’ve made it through your entire marriage up to this point without fighting — and if you have, let us know how — you will inevitably fight at some point after your baby is born. It might be about something totally stupid, like who takes the trash to the curb or who slept less last night. It’s no one’s fault — it’s a combination of the stress and sleep deprivation that comes with having a baby. Ride it out, apologize and move on.

Your Relationship Will Take Work

We all know relationships take work, whether you have a baby or not, but after your little one is born, you will need to take the time to actively work on your relationship. This isn’t a one-sided thing — your spouse needs to do the same. If you’re feeling stressed out or overwhelmed, say so. Take some time to talk to your spouse when your baby is napping and just let them know, in calm but confident terms, that you need some help and that you and he need to spend some time focusing on your relationship. Don’t neglect your relationship in favor of your baby, even if that little one is taking up the majority of your time.

Your Relationship and Life Will Get Better

No matter how stressed out you are now, remember — it will get better. Your baby will grow and start sleeping through the night, and your life will get back to some semblance of normalcy. It might not seem like it now, when you’re changing your 50th diaper today and growing jealous of your partner for being able to go to work, but, slowly, you’ll work out a routine that makes it easier to deal with the stress. Your marriage will never be the same after you have a baby — it’ll be better than ever as you learn to develop a new bond both with your significant other and with your new baby. It’s not easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s always, always worth the effort. Take the time to work on your relationship in the minutes you have together while your baby is sleeping. If someone offers to babysit for a couple of hours, take the offer — it might feel weird to be away from your baby, but it will be worth it for the time you can spend with your significant other. Change can be a good thing. Embrace it!

Jennifer Landis is a healthy living blogger, mother, wife, distance runner, yogi, and tea connoisseur. She enjoys clean eating, but also peanut butter ice cream. She writes about mindfulness, parenting, and clean eating on her blog,Mindfulness Mama.
Follow her on twitter @JenniferELandis.