Lack of sleep, long nights with nothing but tears, feeling like you have no idea what your doing, Having a baby changes the dynamic of many relationships, but probably the most effected relationship: your marriage.
My husband and I had been married for less than year when we found out that we were pregnant with our first child. We were ecstatic- we had always talked about having kids young. Everyone told us how much it would change our relationship, but we both agreed to make us a priority. There are little changes you can make during your pregnancy and once your little one arrives that can help you be more mindful of each other and your relationship.
A lot of the stress brought on by a new baby can be lessened by simply communicating with each other. I remember when August was about three weeks old snapping at Devon because he “wasn’t helping enough”. Due to sleep deprivation and this conversation taking place at 3am my “snapping” could be more accurately described as a dragon spewing fire. It was fed up and nasty. I felt like I had been carrying the majority of the burden all while he slept peacefully. When he did help it seemed like he was actually trying to make it harder on me. In fine form he snapped back at me which promptly led to tears on my end. We weren’t communicating. He wasn’t asking how he could help and I wasn’t telling him how overwhelmed I was feeling. Don’t let it build up- if you need more help or support wait until your not fuming and calmly talk to them about how you can better work together.
Give each other the benefit of the doubt.
Devon tries his hardest to be extremely helpful to me and August. 90% of the time he is like a dad superhero- changing diapers, feeding him, getting at night- but there have been times when I get so frustrated cause I feel like he misses obvious signs that I could use a hand. We had to learn to communicate what we needed done, but also to give each other a break. Instead of just assuming that he isn’t being helpful I just ask him for what I need. Often times I’ve found that he thought he was being helpful, it just wasn’t what I needed at the time. By given them the benefit of the doubt you stop yourself from getting frustrated and creating a confrontation when there didn’t have to be one.
Respect each other’s roles and ideas.
As a new mom a lot of people will be looking solely at you to make decisions about how your baby goes to sleep, their schedule, when the bathe, whether they get a pacifier, and the list goes on. It was very important to my husband to be involved in these decisions. At first I was making them on my own because I didn’t realize he cared, but when I started consulting him I saw a huge difference in how we worked together as a team. Did is just as important as mom.
In our society we often poke fun at dads and their child-raising methods- stop. Your husband is capable of making decisions and carding for your child. Be sure to respect each other and focus on working together to raise your baby. Sure, sometimes we don’t agree on how we want to handle a situation- this doesn’t give me the right as a mother to veto his idea. It is so important for him to know that I respect his opinion and input in our child’s life. We might not agree on everything, but we always find a way to compromise.
Make time for each other.
The biggest way to put a strain on your marriage is to get so busy you no longer have time for each other. Once your little bundle of joy arrives, you no longer have the same freedom over your time that you once did. This is why it is vital to be purposeful in creating time for each other. When the baby takes a nap take time to watch a show together or play a game. Once you finally get the little one to close his eyes cuddle for a few minutes before you go to bed- I know your already tired and cuddling is probably the very last thing on your mind, but I promise you cuddling with my hubby helps me to relax and actually get a better nights rest. Ask someone to spend a few hours with baby so you can go to dinner, a movie, something!
This is not selfish to want time together- if anything it is the least selfish thing you can do for your child. In a world were the divorce rate is constantly on the rise take the time to invest in your marriage. You will be better parents , and people, because of it.
Cherish your marriage.
Marriage is a beautiful thing. Bringing life into this world is a beautiful thing. Stay focused on the relationships, the moments, all the little things that made you fall in love, and all the ways you are learning to love even deeper. Creating a family can make every aspect of your life more beautiful, it was not designed to weaken your marriage- we do that to ourselves. Love your baby, love each other. Just love.