Having a baby is known to be life changing. But other than the learning curve of having to take care of a newborn, making the transition from couple to parents has often been cited as one of the most severe tests of a marriage.
How a baby changes everything
Your lives now revolve around a helpless little being you both created. The common goal of keeping everyone alive keeps you together, but more often than not, there are plenty of reasons why it may drive you apart.
Here are some of the ways in which your spousal relationship changes after having kids.
The content of your conversations are likely to shift to diapers, feeding and other care taking details. This might leave little to no time to talk about the multitude of feelings you and your spouse might be feeling while in the midst of adjustment to become parents.
The lack of opportunity to communicate can make each parent overwhelmingly lonely, an irony given that you have just welcomed the fruit of your love.
When you have trouble finding time to fulfil even basic needs such as sleeping, eating or even having an opportunity to clean yourself up at the end of a day, other needs like affection, attention and sex very often take a backseat in the face of survival.
Loss of spontaneity
One major way in which a baby changes your lifestyle, is how you can no longer enjoy spontaneity. In terms of outings, going out with a baby takes hours to prepare for and by the time you are ready to go out, you’ll realise that baby needs to feed again.
In addition to that, there are other concerns such as baby’s immunity to consider, which can really ground you for some time.
Being responsible for a young life together automatically means that there are responsibilities to share. When expectations are ill managed between you and your spouse, unhappiness, discontentment or even resentment could arise easily.
Parents commonly argue over whose way of care-taking or up-bringing is right. When you are not able to see eye to eye or compromise on an agreed way of handling, conflicts arise.
Not only is this situation common between parents, relationship changes after having kids can also be triggered by in-laws, who also want a say in your baby’s affairs.
Coping with relationship changes after having kids
Now that we know how having a baby changes everything, is having a new baby then the death of a marriage?
If you are determined to overcome difficulties in your relationship after having a baby, you may wish to consider the following suggestions.
Be on the same page
Acknowledging that there are difficulties to overcome and being willing to partner with each other on any problems you encounter in your relationship together is the very first step to overcoming them.
Instead of lamenting about how a baby changes everything, now is the time when you absolutely need to be able to talk to each other. Sit your partner down to discuss any apprehension, fears, resentment or difficulties you may encounter and keep the communication focused on problem solving rather than fault finding.
Having meaningful conversations that are purposefully steered away from your baby or your kids also allow you to reconnect with your partner.
Being able to put yourself in your partner’s shoes, or even the act of trying to do so is one of the most loving things you can do for your partner.
Everybody has a need to be understood. So, for example, when one of you drops a ball, try understanding their situation first before getting mad at them and step up in times of need – we’re sure your partner will be most appreciative of it.
Women are from Venus and men are from Mars – there is a lot of truth in this saying.
You and your spouse might have very different expectations about each other and one of the best things you can do for yourselves is to understand your spouse’s expectations and convey your own, before managing them to a standard comfortable to the both of you.
Schedule couple time
Understanding that a family is build upon the relationship of the parents is crucial. It is easy to neglect your spouse when you are entirely focused on your new baby, however, this can be mitigated by purposefully scheduling couple time together, so that you can continue to build on your relationship as a couple, instead of just being parents to your brood.
You may not have any time for affection or to be intimate as before if you do not schedule it. While it may sound like a killjoy to schedule something like this, many couples attest to the necessity of doing so – it helps to keep the sparks alive.
If you and your spouse, as parents, can overcome differences and work together, you will both be able to respond positively to the challenges of raising a child while staying close and connected to each other. It is not how a baby changes everything that matters, but rather it is how your teamwork overcomes everything.