As much as I read about having a baby before I gave
birth to my first child, the parenting books did nothing to prepare
me for what a newborn would do to my relationship.
And after two babies, our marriage is still recovering. But after talking to lots of couples, I’m glad to know I’m not alone. I’ve thought a
lot about why babies are so tough on relationships.
See if you agree with my reasons, and my solutions.
1. Lack of sleep
I know I’m not the only person who gets completely irritable when I
don’t get enough sleep, so it’s pretty obvious what that’s going to do
to a relationship. Add another sleep-deprived person and a tiny baby who
needs lots of attention, and you’ve got a recipe for relationship
Solution: There’s not a good one, unfortunately,
other than really sleeping when the baby sleeps. I used to roll my eyes
when I heard this but it helps. A lot.
2. Lack of support
I’m pretty sure we were never meant to have babies without the help
of friends, family, even our community, but too often that happens,
especially in this country. Without support, you and your partner are
doing most, if not all of it, on your own, and that’s physically,
mentally, and emotionally draining.
Solution: Accept help when it’s offered and reach
out to friends, family, even your community when you need it. I know so
many people who were willing to chip in, whether it was laundry,
cooking, or holding the baby so you could get a cat nap in.
3. Differing parenting opinions
You want to cloth-diaper, your partner says “are you crazy?” — and
thus begins a long road of battles from small things to bigger parenting
issues. We all know what fights can do to a relationship. And
oftentimes, this can be the biggest battle of them all.
Solution: Talk to each other before you make a
decision, even if you think it’s a small one. I was so adamant about
some really small, and quite frankly stupid, things that would have
saved us both some heartache had we just discussed them before I took
the reins and left him out.
4. Lack of partner involvement
Well, nothing will cause problems in a relationship more than a
partner not doing his/her fair share. Sure, it’s mostly the mom show
early on in a newborn’s life, but there’s plenty for partners to do.
When a partner is just sitting around or, worse, out gallivanting when
you’re stuck at home caring for the baby, that can harbor a lot of
Solution: In my situation, my husband wanted to be
involved but was extremely intimidated by the screaming, fragile-looking
baby. What I should have done was give him simple, non-baby-related
tasks at first, then eased him into the baby baths, diaper changes, and
that sort of thing.
Of course you’re in love, you’re just not in the mood for getting
naked under the covers. Step one, is to get in the
mood. And the best way is to plan time for having sex. Sure, people joke
about making dates for sex, but “remember, when you were dating, you
did plan when you were going to have sex. You got ready for a night out
and thought about it beforehand.”
Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you can’t make a hot date. Get a sitter, shave your legs, and flirt a little.
Couple time is now family time. You’re always together, but no longer
alone. Whether you’ve been a couple for years or just met and wanted to
have a baby quickly, jumping from a twosome to a family is challenging.
Please create alone time with each other.
Why do you think couples fight after they have a baby?