16 February 2018

What having a baby did to my marriage.

Having a baby changes a relationship. It’s unavoidable and dare I say inevitable?

I’ve always been a fan of change – your best night’s sleep happens after a change of bedsheets. The challenge you feel after a change of job. The unpreventable sashay and critical need to take 100 selfies after a change of hair do.

But when your relationship, your constant, your safe place changes as quickly as it does when a baby arrives, it can be wholly unsettling.

1: Little bit of dislike.

Sleep deprivation and raging boob related hormones left me a little short of tact. I was snapping and cutting low blows. If he tried to defend himself, I would cry. I was quite simply a joy to spend time with.  And I was struggling with a new baby that I had NO idea what to do with and was jealous when he would leave for work. I think its fair to say, we spent large parts of each day disliking eachother.

2: Less “us” time

A fairly obvious one I’d say. Less date time, more yawning, soaking poo out of vests and charging the batteries of your breast pump. When you look at the 6000 new things you have to fit into your day, showering, eating and time with your partner rarely makes the top 1000. We had never spent so much physical time together; yet somehow we were spending less time mentally connected than we ever had. Our individual focus, energy and attention was being directed towards this perfect new person and, for the first time, not on each other.

3: Pardon me…?!

And when you do get the time to converse, you don’t have the time for manners and you’re far too tired to work out the nicest way to say something. Less of the “..can I make a suggestion?” and “I’m sorry sweetie, I didn’t understand what you meant.” and more of the “I’m f**king tired to you know” and “my day is just as hard as yours!” Everything became a competition; who’d had the least sleep, who’d changed the most nappies, who’d sat down the least. And god forbid if either of us dared challenge the other on what time Freddie woke in the night… “it was around midnight”….. “no it wasn’t, it was 11.53!!!!!”*.

*an actual argument that was had.

4: Sex

PAH! A human, the size of…well…a baby…has exited one of you. Leave that area well alone for a while.

5: He returns to work

Now this one sucked. My two main feelings on that first day were “HOLY SHIT WHAT ON EARTH DO I DO NOW” and “I wish I was going to work because this is a lot”. On the one hand, it can look like Dads pull the short straw – at work, earning money for Mum to be at home and sit on the sofa whilst baby sleeps (PAH), meanwhile missing out on the exciting firsts. On the other hand, Mum is at home, wishing she had a hot tea made by a colleague and a report to write instead of tar shits to wipe and milk sick to rinse out of her sleeve.

The return to work phase is tough for both of you, adjusting to this insane new normal but suddenly, we became a couple that compared every part of our day.

Who had more tea? Who had more sleep? Who showered? Who cooked?

6: A new shared passion

You both just stand there, watching this small human sleeping. To anyone else, breathing isn’t that fascinating (essential and automatic, yes) but when you’re watching the tiny person that you made, simply take a breath, you are in total awe. You watch the dream suckle and giggle, you know you should be sleeping but staying awake to watch your babies eyelashes flutter seems far more important.

When they start to wake, you gesture to the other one to “come quick” and you both stare some more. Still in total awe that you made a person!

That first time they smile, you both melt, smiles filling your faces and, in our case, tears filling our eyes.

That first night in their own room – you both lie there, unable to sleep, you take it in turns to blurt out…”is he ok?” “shall we go check”…you share relief when you hear a loud breath or a hiccup.

When they crawl, try food, hold their own bottle. You both stand there, in awe!

And what that does to you as a pair cancels everything else out, well it did for me. The short temper, fatigue induced hysteria, return to work jealousy fell away within months and what was left was a stronger union, a shared responsibility, a deeper connection.

Lewi, there is no one I would rather do this crazy shit with.
This was too much…I need to go and tell Lewi off for….something…anything really, to restore normality.

Written by Alice @alice_in_mumderland 


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