For those married/engaged/together couples out there with children, you understand at the deep, deep center of your being what I am talking about, even before reading this post.
Babies are a really awesome gift that brings families, friends, neighbors, and yes, even marriages, together. Ben’s tiny, beautiful face is a major motivator to hop out of bed in the morning with a smile, and I know my husband feels the same way. (Ben is really smiley when he’s well-rested, so it’s sincerely the best hoovering over his crib, even at 3AM).
HOWEVER, there is quite an adjustment period that, on top of getting used to a new person in the house, you are completely unprepared for, even if you’ve read this article, this article, or this article.
“They” will tell you that your marriage will fall apart, become deeply unsatisfying, and divorce will ensue within possibly the first year of the baby being born. Thanks for the optimism, internet.
I realize I’m a rookie with this one, only being married a little over two years, but if I could give one piece of advice to new parents out there it is this: STOP READING NEGATIVE THINGS ONLINE AND TALK TO YOUR PARTNER INSTEAD.
So, now that I’ve said that, here are the ways I’ve experienced my marriage to change after the baby (the first baby, I know nothing about second baby…*yet)
1.Your partner will think you’re a super-hero
How do you watch someone deliver a baby and not think this? In my case, my husband witnessed everything and his exact words were, as I recovered in the hospital bed after everyone left, “I don’t know how this can be, but I love you even more now.”
2.You will both be terrified together
This is somewhat bonding because you both have absolutely no idea what you’re doing. You’ll both think any day now that someone is going to come to the door and say “I’m sorry, there’s been a mistake, you weren’t meant to be parents. I’ll take that.”
3.You will experience unspecified annoyance
The terror is over and your getting used to parenthood, but you’re not sure why you’re annoyed with your partner. All the time. They aren’t really doing anything that frustrating, but maybe them just being themselves is annoying now?
You’ll wonder if they were always like this, or if this is a heightened version of themselves. You’ll wonder why they can’t place the dishes into the dishwasher after they’ve used them. You’ll discover that leaving jeans on the floor is not something you can just overlook now. You’ll also wonder if you are being too harsh on them (the answer will be no for a very long time).
Note: You will not wonder if you are annoying, because of course you are not. You are perfect.
4.You will become a shadow of your former self
Goodbye whoever you were before, hello Mommy and Daddy.
Got free time? You will spend it thinking about the baby; when you need to reorder diapers, why he hasn’t pooped in awhile (OMG the conversations about poop you will have…it’s no holds barred anymore, friends…), when will he start laughing, rolling over, walking, talking, bike riding, going to college, getting married, having kids…
So, when you are alone together, if you’re not talking about the baby, you will try to talk about the old times before the baby and get all sentimental and excited and then, promptly, very. very. sad.
5.You will fight
There will be fights. About absolutely nothing. Or about something. Or about things in between. There will be snippy comments *raises hand*. There will be attempts at humor but the delivery comes off as snide and mean-spirited. There will be throwing soft items on soft surfaces to show you are frustrated, but trying not to wake the baby up.
And, the worst, there will be silence. You’re both just so tired. You’ve put the baby to sleep, you’ve cleaned the dishes, and you’ve finally sat down in a position that is comfortable for you and not an infant. And you have nothing left. For anybody.
6.You will talk
Don’t let those things that are truly bothering you slip by, and then fester. Both my husband and I are olympically good at this.
Talk about the dishes. Tell him you’re gonna need him to pick up those pants. Listen to how you’ve become a mom-robot that can’t talk about much else than the baby. Talk about how freaking weird it is that you’re both in this together yet feel so separate at the same time.
6.There will be love
You may not want to look at your partner at the moment, but there will be things that you can hold onto that will make you think this will pass. Things like voicemail messages that end with phrases like “I can’t wait to get home to see you and the baby.” Things like holding hands while zombie-watching a show with subtitles on because you can’t raise the volume. Things like seeing your partner knocking himself out trying to make the baby laugh with silly faces and thinking, this new guy isn’t so bad. Things that remind you, just a little, why you got married to this person in the first place.
I can’t tell you how long this phase may last for you, or if it’ll come back. I can only tell you that you’re not alone and that every marriage is different and will work in different ways. It’s up to the two of you to decide what is okay and what isn’t and nobody else.
*I’m not pregnant, don’t get excited.