Having Children Changed My Relationship with My Husband

When people say having a child “changes everything”, you really can’t understand the gravity of that, until it actually happens to you. It not only changes you, but it changes the relationships with everyone you know. For better or worse. Question is, how much change can you really take and at what cost?

After having our first child, a lot of my relationships changed. That was expected. We were all in different places in our lives. Everyone was experiencing different things at different times. But the biggest surprise, for me at least, was watching my relationship with my husband change.

We found a million and one more things to argue about. I hadn’t really ever heard people talk about how having a child could really affect your relationship with your spouse/significant other before. It left me confused and feeling all alone. Like it was some big secret.

Of course, you hear of troubled couples and divorce rates all the time. Which could be linked to just about anything, I suppose. But you find yourself wondering, what changed?

Funny thing about words, you may forget that you say them sometimes, but the person who hears them often doesn’t.

My husband and I were never perfect. Like every couple, we’ve had our ups and downs, but thankfully we had always been able to forgive, relatively quickly, and get back to life.

But after baby, something changed. We seemed to argue more and forgive & forget less. Words stung deeper and the effects would linger longer. We would talk about it and push the hurt away. Only for it to show up later in another conversation, really never having fully healed.

Funny thing about words, you may forget that you say them sometimes, but the person who hears them often doesn’t. That first year was challenging in so many ways, but it was significantly more difficult because I felt like I was losing my best friend in the process.

For me, on top of being extremely sleep deprived and hormonal, all of the responsibilities of my previous life were still there. Needing, screaming at me to get them done. All the while there was this little person, needing, & literally screaming at me to do something, too.

I hadn’t quite figured out what the hell I was doing, or how I was going to do it ALL for that matter. I could barely find the time to pee for God sake, let alone accomplish much else.

Sometimes I felt like Stretch Armstrong, being pulled in so many different directions. Spread too thin, and feeling like I was going to crack under the pressure of it all. Did I mention I was exhausted?

I wanted, no, I needed, some help. But it felt like my husband didn’t seem to understand. He couldn’t see that I probably could have used some extra help with the cooking or cleaning or simply just a break. In my mind, I guess I just expected him to know what was needed and do it. Because I felt like I did that all the time, why couldn’t he? But he never seemed to look at it the way I did.

I suddenly realized, I resented him. Hard. I felt like I was the only one experiencing this significant change in our lives while it seemed he, was utterly clueless.

I would see my seemingly refreshed looking husband and think, why isn’t he exhausted? Why doesn’t he have bags under his eyes or live in yoga pants because his clothes don’t fit anymore? What did he have to sacrifice?

I suddenly realized, I resented him. Hard. I felt like I was the only one experiencing this significant change in our lives while it seemed he, was utterly clueless.

At the time, I couldn’t see how he must have been feeling. This was after all, all new to the both of us. On top of having to adjust to life with a new baby, he was trying to find a way to adjust to his new wife, too. Life as we knew it was over. He had to share me and my time with this new little person in our lives. It was all foreign to him. He was struggling to find his new place, too.

Because of this language barrier, we were left in this strange place. He was struggling with work & the new baby & the new me. And I was struggling with trying to figure it all out and feeling like I was failing miserably. We would battle about things both big and small. And with each one, our once seemingly indestructible wall, felt like it was cracking more & more under the pressure.

That first year was probably the most difficult and trying year of our relationship to date. There were times that I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it out on the other side. But we hung in there. Sometimes by a thread.

With each passing day, things got a little easier. We kept working at it and settled into a better rhythm. We were better at reading the others needs again and trying to answer them appropriately. Keeping our communication honest and strong. Sometimes a little too honest. But we were communicating, nonetheless.

Life will always throw you curve balls. It’s how we choose to handle them that decides our fate.
 

Over the years. we came to realize, that what we went through, happens to many new parents. Knowing this helped us to heal more and more because we knew it wasn’t just us. It felt, normal. We eventually went on to have more children and had a very different experience the second go round.

Life will always throw you curve balls. It’s how we choose to handle it that will decide our fate. I suppose, in the end, we came out stronger on the other side. And it looks like I got to keep my best friend after all.

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