15 Ways Your Marriage Is At Risk In Your First Year Of Having A Baby
In a relationship, anything that brings you two closer suddenly adds pressure that could drive you apart: it happens when you move in together, when you get engaged and when you get married. But when you have your first baby, the brings-you-closer effects can be far outweighed by the drives you apart. So you need to be twice as prepared to battle the distancing effects.
Sleep deprivation makes everything worse
Arguments that would normally begin, end, and be forgotten in twenty minutes now feel of monumental importance. Truly small issues will feel like they could end your marriage. But you don’t need a divorce: you just need a nap.
You won’t appreciate being cuddled
Speaking of sleep deprivation, the bed will become a place namely for sleep. Before having a child, you’d love to have your hubby curl up behind you for a surprise cuddle if he found you resting. Now, it is the largest offense for anybody to steal even a minute of sleep from you.
Housework takes over
You cannot believe how much housework there is to do. You always feel behind on something. On some days, it will feel like the laundry is closing in on you from all sides of the house. And you and your partner will argue daily over whose turn it is to do it.
You’ll try to one up each other
You used to find reasons why you should be allowed to help your partner: “No, you’ve had a long day, let me cook dinner.” Now you battle to prove whose day was harder, so the other is obligated to cook dinner/take out the trash/go buy diapers. For a while, it will seem like your partner is a major drama queen. But you’ll seem the same way to him.
All you can think about is baby
You didn’t realize just how much space in your brain would be taken up by thoughts like, “Which day does the store have specials on bananas? Which freeway gets us to jamboree quicker? How many diapers are left?” You’re constantly forgetting anything that is not-baby related, like making reservations at that restaurant your husband asked for, or picking up his dry cleaning. And your husband gets a little peeved at this.
Wondering, “How can he think about anything besides the baby?!”
On the flip side, any time your partner brings up something not baby related, you can’t believe he should have the audacity to dedicate his brain space to something else! You think you must be the only one who cares about the baby! STOP! Men are just better at compartmentalizing and resisting mental multi-tasking: try it.
Neglecting your husband
Whether it’s your own doing from the constant baby talk, or the inherent feeling men are less connected to the baby simply because they didn’t hold it in their bodies for nine months, your husband might start to feel invisible, and even unnecessary in this equation. He’s not selfish or unreasonable or too needy. It’s normal and it’s something almost every new dad goes through. Remember: until recently, he got all your attention!
Not understanding your partner’s stress as a provider
Before you get upset because you’re suddenly stuck at home on maternity leave, missing your co-workers and identity as a career person, while your husband’s life has barely changed, consider this: work means so much more to him now. His role as a provider just became very real, and he thinks about that every time he packs his brief case. He is probably dealing with some panic of his own, and it could do your relationship wonders to acknowledge it.
Not trusting your husband with the baby
It’s common for women to feel like fathers don’t know what to do with newborns simply because they don’t spend as much time with them, but not allowing your husband to participate in parenting not only makes him feel useless, but can cause you to feel resentful because he won’t be helping like you want him to.
Resenting that your partner works
You and your partner used to swap work stories at night, but now it seems he is the only one in contact with the outside world. He is talking about briefs or business loans or investments, and you’re talking about the difference between diaper brands. You’ll have moments when your life feels menial, and you’ll resent your partner for having more “interesting” or “important” things to talk about. Then, you’ll internalize this feeling while simultaneously lashing out at him. But pause: that only drives you two further apart. Tell him when you feel this way. His empathy will make you feel instantly better, and closer.
Putting your mom before your man
Your mom/dad/in-laws will have their opinions on how to take care of a baby. But so will your spouse and you’ll exhaust yourself trying to satisfy everyone, not to mention offend your partner when he realizes his word isn’t regarded above your mother’s. Everybody needs to expect a new rank system when the baby arrives: your husband comes before anyone else.
Assuming your husband doesn’t care about small details
Yes, you were the first one to realize the baby needs a bath schedule, and yes it’s not the most stimulating topic of conversation, but assuming your partner won’t care isn’t giving him much credit, and it leaves you with far more responsibility and, of course, resentment of your partner. He wants to feel involved. Ask him about how often he thinks the baby needs a bath.
Just like when you’re creatively blocked, or feeling stressed, going outside can do wonders for you and your partner when you feel overwhelmed by baby discussions and issues. At least once a week, make sure you plus husband plus baby go for a walk. You’ll get a new perspective on everything.
Not seeing enough friends, or the right friends
Sorry to your child-less friends, but right now, you need the comfort of somebody who knows what you’re going through! Not to mention, your time to socialize has been cut in half so trying to do fun stuff with your husband and see friends has to be consolidated into double dates, and these will often be with other parent friends.
Avoiding the topic of sex
Out of guilt, your partner might not push to have sex, or even say anything about how long it’s been. But believe this: he is thinking about it. Fight your own urge to be lazy about it, and do your husband a favor and be the one to bring up sex. You do need to know how he feels about it. Even if he just knows you miss it as much as he does, or if you come up with some schedule, you’ll both feel better.