Our Relationship Is Not The Same

The Changes In A Relationship With A Newborn Baby

I could never have imagined just how much our relationship would have changed after having a baby. Sure, we’d have less sleep. less time together, a few more financial worries, but I always thought we’d still be us. Our circumstances may change, but our relationship would always be the same. I was naive about having a baby and the impact it would have on us;  I expected our child to simply slot into our life, whilst everything else remained in tact and unchanged. Ha. If only. We’ve struggled, we’ve bickered, but we’ve adapted. I’m now convinced, anyone who says their relationship did not change after having a baby is blatantly lying. Going from two, to three (or more, god help you), changes everything, and whilst it is not a bad change, it’s a change accompanied by pressure, bickering, and considerably more shit than before – in the literal sense.

It’s sad to admit, but my first few months as a mother were plagued with resentment. I resented my partner for being able to sleep considerably more than I could. I resented him for being able to leave the house at 6am for work, to leave the baby and our new life and ‘have a break’. He resented me for moaning, for not allowing him to claim to be tired or to have any complaints about his day at work. His ‘break’ in my eyes.

Every couple will have a different experience of the first few months with a child; and regardless of how well you cope, it can and may be a make or break situation. I’ve made life extremely difficult for  Jordan for the last 4 months – and unbeknownst to him he’s done the same for me. I was frustrated,  bored and hormonal – none of which have anything to do with him, but all of which he bore the brunt of. There was now a hell of a lot of pressure on a relationship that was otherwise simple and straightforward, and it’s completely expected that our relationship would be forced to adapt to this pressure. I went from a happy go-lucky 21 year old girlfriend, to what can only be described as a nagging wife almost overnight. I’d gone from having no reason to nag at my partner, to finding every reason under the sun. It was difficult, because he couldn’t win. And more difficult, because I didn’t know how to let him win. I’ll freely admit that I seemed to be moaning more often than not – and I was probably more frustrated with that than he ever would be. I didn’t want to bicker, but everything was a problem. It could be something tiny, but sat at home all day, I’d stew. I didn’t get to leave; I couldn’t just go to work and forget about everything. I’d be confronted with the same minuscule problem and it would play on my mind until I snapped. To him, I’d be snapping because he’d left his boxers on the floor, in reality though, I was snapping because I was lonely, frustrated and still getting to grips with picking up my life that has been turned on it’s head. It’s a good life – don’t get me wrong at all – I would not change my circumstance for a second – but it’s a life that I wasn’t quite ready for, and that I’m still getting used to. I didn’t really care about his bloody boxers, although putting them in a washing basket wouldn’t hurt. Our relationship isn’t easy anymore – it’s not forced and we’re still very much a happy couple, but it is different. We have to work for it now – and that’s something that in the long run will make us stronger than we ever have been. Our relationship is just not the same as it was.

There’s no spur of the moment dates any more, heck there’s no spur of the moment anything. There’s no money for the niceties, and especially in the first few months if he Harrison was with his gran for the night then there was a fat chance of either of us moving from the couch. It’s easy to fall into the trap of being cohabiters, co-parents, best friends with a child. Given that the two of us were the least romantic people in the world to start with, adding a child into the mix left us even more ‘beige’ than before. We are now parents first and a couple after, and I now understand why people warned us that your own relationship can fall by the wayside. Your sex drive can disappear entirely for an undefined amount of time after childbirth; and even when it does return the desire to sleep pretty much trumps the desire for anything else. No longer are we the most important people in each others lives. If we want to spend time alone, then it’s now an MI5 grade mission; a babysitter, sterilized bottles, the changing bag, the five hundred items we’ve forgotten to put in the pre-packed changing bag, and the ability to turn off and stop thinking about whether our son has gone to sleep, or  taken enough milk, or whether we’ve remembered to pack an extra pair of socks for the inevitable moment when he kicks his own foot at his filled nappy. As a couple to a newborn, we now have to make an effort with each other – and that’s something that we’ve never consciously had to do before. If anything though, that will make us better in the long run: having to consider each other and make the extended effort only makes the moments we have alone – yes, sometimes we leave the couch and go out into the world – that little bit better. That fleeting moment when we get to forget about the nappies and the teething and the tears and be a young couple again is all the more appreciated now. Our relationship is just not the same anymore.

Long gone are the days of please, thank-you, will you, can you – we’re brutally honest and at times a bit too blunt. I can be hurtful, and so can he – but we’re now more open and honest with each other than we ever have been before, and that’s never going to be a bad thing in a relationship. It may not be the nicest at the time, but being able to say anything to one another means there are no barriers, no walls and no subjects we daren’t touch. There’s no dancing around the point anymore; we don’t have the time and we don’t have the patience for it, but if anything I like it more. We’re also more disgusting than ever before. After you’ve experienced child birth together, there really is no dignity left. I’d like to say it’s made us better, but Jesus, god would I love to be able to go back to having a bath without listening to the sound of him shitting beside me. There is now no stone left unturned, but we’ll always no where we stand with one another. Honesty, compromise, and a shit tonne of coffee – surely that’s all we’ll need to get us through this first year as a couple?

But We’re Good

It’s only been four months, but already we’ve gone through more ups and downs than ever before, and there won’t be any sign of that letting up in the next few months. It’s brutal, no one can deny that. A baby changes absolutely everything – every situation is heightened, every decision scrutinized, and all done under the less than ideal cloak of sleep deprivation. We’ve bickered more than ever before. I’ve snapped more than I even thought possible, and I’ve definitely sat on the toilet for over fifteen minutes just as an excuse to get away from everything a good few times. But we’re good. We’re better than ever. Relationships are not a strict path; it’s a continuum. Just because it is not the same as it was previously, doesn’t mean it is necessarily worse, it’s just different, change doesn’t always have to be bad. Sometimes we will go through phases – a boring phase, a stressful phase, an exciting phase: maintaining a happy family life will never be as simple as it appears to be from the outside looking in. I’ve never appreciated my partner as much as I have in the past few months, I’m slowly coming out of my baby blues – and with every week there’s more good times than there is tough ones. We’ve brought a little life into this world, and we’ve done it together, and that is something that has given us a bond that is entirely different to anything we’ve had before. Our relationship has changed, it’s not the same at all – but we have a child to love and a family to build, so I suppose a few months of bickering is nothing in comparison. (I do wish I didn’t have to give up my peaceful baths though – sorry Harrison).

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