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.
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.