3 Tips to Strengthen Your Marriage After You Bring Home Baby
You and your husband used to fantasize about what it would mean when you went from couple to family. You’d both stare lovingly at your growing belly as you imagined all of the things you’d do together once the baby was born.
It was all butterflies and anticipation.
But one of the things you were not prepared for when you finally did become a family, was the toll the new baby would have on how well the two of you got along.
No one fully understands how much their world changes when they bring a new baby home. In fact, you expect that you and your partner will be a team through the transition and figure things out together. You’ve both been so excited about this new chapter in your life together that you certainly don’t expect something so blissful to bring marital trouble.
When you were pregnant, you likely focused on all the ways you would be the best mother. Especially the ways you expected to be present for and attach to your baby. All your research showed that the healthiest, happiest babies were securely bonded with their parents and you intended to make that happen. But one thing you didn’t think about when you were picking out baby slings and co-sleepers was the impact the new baby would have on your marriage. Unfortunately, this left you ill-prepared for the struggles your relationship undoubtedly went through soon after bringing baby home.
So, here you are at 4 a.m. and you’re up with the baby for the 3rd time. You’re exhausted and can’t comprehend how your partner doesn’t even stir when the baby cries. At the time you think, “is he deaf or just pretending not to hear his child?” You really want to wake him up and ask for help, but you don’t because he has to get up and go to work in a couple of hours.
You are sick of being the one to handle all of the night wakings. Not only do you care for baby all day long, it feels like a battle getting your husband to take her for a few minutes just so you can finally take a shower at 7 pm. It’s like he expects you to do this all the time and life is nothing like how you pictured it would be. Unfortunately, this disconnect leaves you feeling incredibly alone, and your husband feeling more like a roommate than your partner in life.
As the two of you drift further apart since baby arrived, you eventually wind up in a place where you’re sad and worried about your marriage. You feel resentful of your husband, that he gets to go to work and carry on with life as normal while your whole world has been rocked.
You don’t think it’s fair he doesn’t help out enough with the baby, and this makes you wonder if things will always be this way and if your marriage is ruined. But the truth is that lots of people struggle with these feelings and many marriages change dramatically after bringing a baby into the picture. It’s ok to feel like something that was supposed to be so positive has turned into a huge letdown.
It’s true that becoming a family has had an impact on your marriage, and that you feel disconnected from and resentful of your husband. However, if you and your spouse can work to enhance your marriage with a baby at home, you can close the distance and feel happy again in your relationship.
Keep reading for three ways to prioritize a happy marriage even after you have a baby.
When Your Marriage Is Suffering
As a new mother, it’s no doubt you are juggling a ton of stuff. You have to think about caring for someone who is completely helpless on top of remembering everything that needs to be done for everyone else and it can start to feel like you are enslaved to your family.
The biggest downside of not having a break from family life is that your connections with others, aside from your child, start to wane. It’s easy to emphasize how important a new baby is and to dedicate all of yourself to caring for him. However, your other connections can start to slip as it’s impossible for anyone to try to do it all.
What tends to happen is that you find yourself feeling sad and doubting your decision to have a baby. What’s more, as things look so different from the fantasy you shared together, you start to doubt your husband and your marriage. You can then have a tendency to avoid communicating your feelings because you’re ashamed of how many dramatic changes your relationship has been through in such a short time.
Reconnecting With Your Spouse
Although you are struggling in your marriage right now, you and your husband have the potential to feel more connected and to be more confident in your relationship even with the fact that you are new parents.
Bringing home a new baby is an adjustment period and both of you are dealing with it in your own ways. It’s key to remember that each of you has your own feelings about the changes in your lives and to work toward a place where you can communicate about them openly.
The two of you will be able to share your needs and feelings. And you’ll be able to focus on the connection between the two of you without allowing your dedication to your baby to interfere. You just need to find a way to navigate your new normal together.
When you choose to focus on your marriage, you will both feel more balance and more ready to take on the responsibilities of the family together.
3 Tips To Reconnect With Your Husband
Yes, it’s true you may be feeling resentful and overwhelmed in your marriage, but this doesn’t have to be a permanent thing. The key to getting back to your loving relationship is to begin slowly making changes in your life that will help you both reconnect.
Take a look at these 3 points to see how you can come back together in a loving way.
#1 Explore your feelings and concerns about marriage
One of the reasons you struggle with feeling disconnected from your spouse is that your entire world has changed overnight. The things that used to be important no longer matter and all of your heart and energy is focused on your new child. It’s undeniable you have a lot going on in this new life of yours, and it makes complete sense that there would be very little left over for you and your spouse.
Here at Postpartum Healthy & Harmony, we work with couples on how to make time together a priority. It’s important to try to remember what drew you together in the first place and why you decided to begin a family with each other. We’ll work on real ways of managing time together alone and how to ensure the time is hopefully uninterrupted.
Discuss the roles you thought you would each play in the new family dynamic and what your expectations are from one another. This will help you get on the same page and also allow the both of you to divide up responsibilities more evenly, ultimately yielding more time together as a couple.
#2 Educate yourself on typical marital struggles following a new baby
One of the reasons you might have tuned out from your marriage is that caring for an infant requires a tremendous amount of mental and physical energy. It makes complete sense that you feel overwhelmed. Babies are entirely dependent upon their caregivers which means there is little time for you to do anything else.
It’s very typical for couples to stop communicating with each other because they are so busy trying to find some semblance of normalcy in all of the chaos of their new life. Together with our clients, we help them learn how to better communicate with their partner and share how they are feeling. When you are feeling touched out, let him know it’s not personal, you just need some time to not have to tune into another person or be touched.
Having someone else care for the baby so that you can have time to yourself is also very helpful in giving you a break. When you can carve out a little space and alone time, you are much more likely to feel recharged enough to be mentally and physically present with your husband.
#3 Prioritize open and honest communication
One of the biggest challenges of new motherhood is the fact that your life just got immensely more full, but you still have the same amount of hours in a day. Juggling all the needs of everyone in your family is challenging. And it’s understandable you’re feeling like there is little time available to take care of yourself or to communicate calmly with your spouse.
One thing to remember is that you and your husband can’t read each other’s minds. You may think your partner should know when or how to come and relieve you from baby duty, but the truth is sometimes he just doesn’t realize how hard it has been or how long your days are.
When you schedule a session with Postpartum Health & Harmony, you’ll learn that it’s important not to keep score! It doesn’t matter who has more checks on the to-do list or who is feeling more stressed out. It won’t help you to feel any better, and it only makes your spouse defensive. Instead, when we work together, we will focus on what it is that you would like to change within your marriage and how to ask for it.
It’s normal to be a new mother and find yourself struggling in your marriage. This does not have to be your new normal. Achieving happiness and reconnecting with your partner is possible and it’s ok to reach out and seek help to rebuild your relationship.
To prioritize your marriage in the midst of a new baby, schedule a session with Postpartum Health & Harmony today.