When I was pregnant with my first I read all the books I could to prepare myself for my pregnancy, delivery, and how to care for my baby afterwards. I talked to so many other moms about their experiences and what to expect, but not one book or person ever told me about how having a baby will change my relationship with my spouse FOREVER.
My husband and I were married for a little over a year when we decided we wanted to start our family. It took us four months to get pregnant and we were thrilled when that test came out positive!
I had a rough pregnancy and it was a long nine months, but then our sweet baby boy entered the world and our lives changed forever!
No one can prepare you for the changes in your marriage once you become pregnant and no one can prepare you for the changes that take place once the baby is born. I thought that having a baby would bring us so much closer and it does in certain ways, but it also can push you apart.
Pregnancy alone changed our marriage a lot. I was sick most of the time and we were both working, and my husband was in school. We already didn’t have a lot of time for each other with our busy schedules. Then to throw a sick, emotional, and hormonal wife into the mix, it sure made things challenging.
Intimacy went out the door real fast I’ll tell you that right now! Which is really hard, especially for the man in the relationship. When your relationship and intimacy is so strong before you get pregnant, and then quickly go to hardly being intimate at all it’s really tough on a relationship.
It’s hard to talk to each other about it too, because if your husband brings it up it makes him look insensitive to all that you’re going through. Then if you bring it up it makes it look like you’re just making excuses.
Communication is key though! As hard as it may-be you both need to discuss these changes that have taken place and you both need to work harder at understanding where each other are coming from.
No man will EVER understand what us women go through during pregnancy, but sometimes we have to suck it up and make our hubbies happy to get through this rough patch, and the same goes for him.
Once your baby is born you may think that you guys will magically go back to the way things were, but that is certainly not the case. It takes months after your baby is born to get back to where you were before and even then, you’re not going to be the same. Parenthood changes you.
I am not saying this in a negative way. Parenthood changes you in so many positive ways, but some may be negative as well.
HERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT MAY CHANGE BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE AFTER HAVING A BABY
- This is the first time you and your spouse have experienced having a baby together. Giving birth is not a pretty sight, it’s graphic and something that neither of you have probably witnessed before, so this may make you both feel a little uncomfortable and be quite shocking. When it’s all over, talk about it, joke about it, and laugh about it!
- Your relationship and each other may be put on the back burner for a while. Once your baby is born EVERYTHING is about your baby. Don’t worry though this is fun! It’s fun to experience this new stage of your lives together and to figure things out with your spouse by your side.
- You’ll both be so exhausted that you won’t really care about anything for a little while.
- You both may experience feelings of jealously. You may be jealous that your husband has more free time than you do. You may be jealous that he wants to spend more time with the baby than you when he’s home. You may be jealous that he gets more sleep than you. He may be jealous you spend more time with the baby than with him. He may be jealous that you seem to care for and pay more attention to the baby than to him. He may be jealous that you get to stay home and take care of the baby and he has to go to work. The list can go on, the point is that jealous feelings are completely normal and will pass.
- You may feel distant from each other because all your time is being put into taking care of this newborn. I remember one night my husband and I were sitting on the couch about to start a movie and I was holding our baby and we looked at each other and I asked, “Are we good?” My husband smiled his big, gorgeous smile and said, “I was going to ask the same thing.” We talked a bit about how we’ve noticed the changes that have taken place, but we’re both good for now and we both still are madly in love with each other.
- You both may be feeling stressed, tired, exhausted, emotional, upset, easily aggravated, and possibly even angry at times. There is a lot going on. You are recovering, you’re hormonal, you’re trying to figure out so many things like breastfeeding, caring for a newborn, schedules and routines. It’s not easy and of course you’re not going to take it out on the baby, so you’ll be taking it out on each other at times.
- It takes 6-8 weeks after having your baby to be able to go back to being intimate again with each other. Once you get the go ahead from your doctor you honestly may not even feel up to it. You’re tired all the time, you’re taking care of a newborn for heaven sakes. You may feel insecure with your body, you may still be experiencing some postpartum pain, but your husband has been counting down the days, so the pressure is on.
- When you have intercourse for the first time after having your baby it is not going to feel the way it did before. It may feel tighter or looser down there. You may experience a burning or stinging sensation. It honestly won’t be a lot of fun. My advice is to make sure you use a lot of lubricant (water based) and to take it slow and easy. This will get better over time.
WAYS TO HELP RESOLVE THESE ISSUES
- COMMUNICATE! This is HUGE and will make a world of difference. Talk about EVERYTHING you’re feeling, both the positive and negative.
- FORGIVE QUICKLY! Forgive each other quickly when you have tiffs or are on edge. Nothing can prepare for the rollercoaster of emotions you’ll be experiencing and it’s only natural to have blow ups here and there.
- TALK ABOUT YOUR EXPECTATIONS! Discuss with each other what you expect from one another with your new roles as parents now. This is new territory for the both of you and it’s obvious that the mother takes the lead in all this since she is the main care taker of the baby. Show your husband how to do things, but don’t belittle him for doing things differently. Include your husband in certain decisions, this will help you guys feel closer to each other and will help lessen the stress of parenting if you both decide on important things.
- BE PATIENT! Be patient with each other and with your baby. Be patient with your body and take it easy. Give yourself time to heal and to recover.
- PUT ASIDE TIME! Put aside time for each other without your baby. Even if it’s just 20 minutes. Take that time to talk to each other about anything other than your baby.
- PAMPER YOURSELF! Take time for yourself everyday to get a break and take care of yourself.
- GET SOME SLEEP! Take turns getting sleep. You both need it and it will help so much.
- GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! Get out of the house, go for walks, go visit family or friends, sit outside in a chair for a bit, just get out and get some sunlight and fresh air.
- BE INTIMATE IN OTHER WAYS! Be intimate in other ways until you get the go ahead from your doctor. Kiss and snuggle each other, express your love through actions and physical touch.
It’s really hard going from being husband and wife to parents. It’s always just been the two of you. It’s hard to adjust getting used to you both not being each other’s center of attention.
Your freedom is limited now as well. You can’t always go anywhere you want. It’s harder to stay out late with friends and family. Things become a little more difficult and it can be a little straining on your marriage.
Please know, that this is normal. It’s an adjustment that everyone experiences. It takes time and some work, but luckily you have this beautiful baby that you both love so much to pull you guys closer together and bond over. It doesn’t take long to get accustomed to your new roles and new relationship, so that’s good.
The only way to keep your relationship strong is to separate your roles. You are not only a husband or a wife, but also a father, and a mother now. You need to make sure that you are nurturing both of those roles.
Once you become a parent, you will always be a parent. There is a chance you won’t always be a wife or husband though, so, you need to work extra hard at keeping a strong relationship with your spouse.
It can be really easy to lose yourself to parenthood. It can easily consume you, but you have to remember that YOU are still an INDIVIDUAL with wants and needs. It’s ok to take care of those wants and needs. You need still be YOU in order to take care of your family. So, take care of yourself, your relationship to your spouse and your children, and remember to find joy in the journey!