Congratulations! You and your partner are becoming parents and you have never been so ecstatic. But no matter how long you have been together, your relationship will never be on a more intense ride than the roller coaster of parenthood. Read on to see how a baby changes your marriage.
You can practically prepare for it as much as you like, read the books, study the techniques, or sign up for classes, but you’ll never know how you’ll go until you are already strapped in and the ride has started!
There is absolutely no way that introducing a little human into your lives is not going to have an impact on the relationship with your spouse – it completely changes the dynamics of your family.
But this can be both amazing and challenging. Here are some ways a baby can change your marriage and some solutions to work through this adjustment together.
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Shift of focus
As newlyweds, your worlds revolved around each other. But once a baby arrives, they are the new center of gravity that you and your spouse revolve around.
Although newborns live a simple life at first, requiring food, plenty of sleep and regular nappy changes, their 24/7 reliance on you does demand undivided attention and can impact on the time you give to your partner.
Try to make some time to have a decent conversation with your partner each day, even if it is only for a few minutes. That time of undivided attention will show your spouse that you still acknowledge them and aren’t caught up in a permanent baby bubble.
Entering zombie mode
You have never been as tired as you are when you are caring for a newborn. Nor will you be as tired ever again. A baby changes your marriage in many ways, but this one makes everything else harder to cope with. Be sure to look after yourself and your partner!
Constant night feedings, catnaps, crazed hormones and being on alert around the clock will mean that you may not be thinking straight.
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In these circumstances, it is common to have a short fuse and to snap at your spouse over the smallest things.
You may even find something they have always done, and you thought to be quirky, now completely intolerable, and annoying beyond comprehension.
You will both need to cut each other some slack because chances are your partner is also sleep deprived and rattled by dealing with this change in your lives. So, make a conscious decision to let some things slide and give each other a bit more room for error.
What is this sex thing?
No matter how steamy things were in the bedroom before your little bundle came along, things will inevitably slow down in that department for a while.
When you factor in the potential for healing times for both natural and caesarean births, sleep deprivation, soreness from breastfeeding (if you choose to do so) and mood swings, it realistically can take a few months before new mothers feel the desire for sex again and this can be a point of contention for couples if one partner wants to feel intimacy with their partner. It is also important to note that sex is completely off the table for medical reasons immediately after a natural birth, so consult your doctor on when it is safe to begin again because the risk of your health is not worth it!
Remember, this is just a temporary phase.
If you adopt or have a surrogate, it’s still likely that sleep deprivation and preoccupation with your new little love that may still slow down your sex drive.
This becomes somewhat of a myth when bub arrives.
Where you used to enjoy lazy Saturday sleep-ins and evenings lounging on the couch watching movies together, you are now running around like a crazy person preparing baby food, changing nappies and cleaning up your messy house!
It is the very opposite of relaxing, but when you can, try to squeeze in a few minutes together when the baby is resting, simply enjoying a nice cuddle or a chat can help you to feel connected.
A lot of people recommend going out on date nights together, but this can be quite hard when you have a new bub who you can’t bear to leave, especially when the baby depending on you for milk or comfort!
If you are not comfortable with this level of separation, you can work your way up to this form of escape as bub gets older.
Who does what?
In pre-baby days, you may have had a routine or an unspoken set of guidelines over who does which chores and how often.
When a mini-human enters the picture, this all goes out of the window and things can get a bit hectic.
It is easy to start keeping score and nagging your spouse to keep up, but this is just a cause of tension that may even lead to resentment if one half is constantly doing more than the other.
Create a list if this helps, but the best solution is to compromise and give and take a little. Offer to do more on a day where your partner looks like they are really struggling and they will be grateful and return the favour when you might be feeling under the pump.
You might think you are both on the same page when it comes to your parenting styles, but you won’t be 100% sure of this until you are in the thick of it.
So many factors can influence what sort of parent you want to be – cultural influences and your personal upbringing are chief among them – so it is important to talk things through as conflicts arise so you can present a united front moving forward.
It is financially tough to bring a baby into the world, especially for couples who are used to having two full-time incomes.
If one of you will stop working for a period of time, you will have to be more careful with your finances to ensure you don’t put yourselves under too much pressure and start fighting over money.
At the end of the day….
This roller coaster ride has just begun, and won’t stop until your little baby is fully grown and moves out of the home, so enjoy this precious creation that is yours to love and try to see the positives of every situation.
Yes, times will get hard, fights will be had, but you had enough love for each other to want to start a family together, so don’t lose sight of that.
You were people before you became parents, so remember to continue to love and nurture your spouse and your relationship will remain strong.
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