Four Ways A Baby Changes Your Marriage and How To Make The Most of the Change

I’ve been known to make a few impulse purchases in my lifetime.  A lot of people shop due to a particular need. I don’t particularly need anything I just like to shop.

Do you remember several Christmases ago when the Nintendo Wii was the hot commodity?  I was at Best Buy with my Dad. It was several months after the initial Wii craze had died down. The supply was finally matching the demand so stores had Wii’s in stock and on the shelves. I can’t remember what my Dad specifically went in there for but I know for certain I was not shopping for a Wii. I like to play Pac-Man, maybe a little Tetris but that’s the extent of my gaming.

As I waited for my Dad, I meandered through the rows of CDs, then DVDs then somehow I found myself standing in front of the Nintendo Wii display. As Mario posed on the TV screen and my Dad was nowhere to be found my curiosity got the better of me.

Some thirty minutes later I walked out of there with not only the game console but a Best Buy credit card, the additional Mario Kart game and controller as well.

Totally unplanned, impulse buy.

Purchasing that game system has little to do with preparing to be a parent but you should know the latter decision was mulled over and over and over again. No amount of research or homework can prepare you for the game of parenthood.

One thing I didn’t think through was how this tiny baby would SIGNIFICANTLY change my marriage.

[For better or for worse.]

Baby comes and you blink and all of a sudden you have a routine. The baby’s growing. Everybody’s happy with the progress.

Except sometimes no one is happy.

Baby is screaming. Daddy is tired. Mommy’s frustrated. It’s a mess. These are the times when you start to question if you can do this.

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YOU CAN DO THIS!!!

You can be a mother and wife and so much more. You won’t be a perfect mother or wife but the good news is no one is so you’re fitting in just swell.

Here are  a few of my fails and successes. I hope they help you but one size does not fit all 🙂

Designer Bags [under my eyes]

My husband and I don’t function well without sleep. Most people don’t. It’s just a happier, non-war like home if both of us are well rested. Newborns usually have a negative effect on getting adequate sleep so maneuvering around this change took priority.

Luckily Charlie was a good sleeper from day one. Praise Jesus! But due to her preemie size our Pediatrician recommended feeding her every four hours through the night. This routine lasted just a bit over four months. Thankfully the majority of this time I was on maternity leave so I could rest during the day but nonetheless I was tired. I ran on coffee and baby snuggles during those early days.

My goal was to form good sleep habits with Charlie from day one so I read what the experts had to say. Turns out they have A LOT to say on this matter! Sleep training books are helpful but they simultaneously STRESSED me out. I think largely in part because one book laid out the how to right along with the if you fail to. OMG please don’t freak me out any more than I already am!

One tip that helped us was keeping a log of Charlie’s sleep and awake habits so you can draw a pattern. This quick journal of feeding times, amount consumed and time slept was really helpful for the first several weeks and was a good communication piece for Matthew and I. It eliminated some of the question marks for us.

HIGHLY recommend calling in help when you are able. This isn’t a tip from the baby book this is a real life must do. Cash in offers that family and friends may have extended. MOST importantly don’t reject help! Unless, said person offering help gives you the creep/incapable vibe. Then and only then should you say NO. My mom had flex time during the summer so on her midweek day off she would sleep over and do the nightly feedings. This allowed us to sleep a solid eight hours. An incredible help to these new parents! Another idea I’ve heard of is having the new Mom sleep in a different area of the house where babies cries might be less easily heard and assign hubby the full nights baby duty. For breastfeeding Moms this might seem out of scope but that full night of sleep can do wonders for your relationship. It might save someone’s life!

The other thing that worked for us was taking turns doing the nightly feedings. My husband is a night owl and I’m more of a morning person. So I would go to bed around 10pm and he’d stay up and do the midnight feeding. That way I’d get a good five hours of interrupted sleep before doing the 3AM feeding.

I will also add that a form of torture on prisoners of war is sleep deprivation. It’s a form of torture!  So for the sake of your marriage find a way to get some rest!

1 Corinthians 13:5… No record of wrong

In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul spells out true love. We’ve all heard this recanted during wedding nuptials. Verse 5 is the one that always stops me in my tracks. Love is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Enter baby.

I’m reluctantly sitting up in bed at 2AM. I’m pirate eyed. My only open eye is still very much blurry with sleep. The faint light of the lamp on my night stand shines on my sleepy baby. My breast pump belts out ungodly loud noises as I simultaneously feed Charlotte a bottle. Thirty minutes later I’m shifting back down in bed my husband none the wiser. Just a few hours later I’m shooting dangers at the back of my husbands head because it’s feeding time again and he’s still snoring able to sleep through it all.

I’m doing all the diapers!

I’m washing all the bottles!

I’m doing all the laundry!

Tally after tally. I have a list longer than Santa’s of what my husband does wrong and you better believe I’m checking it twice!capture

I wanted to be in control so I could make sure everything was done just perfect. My best intentions proved however, that I am perfectly unable. I realized a month or so in that in order to be Super Mom I must have my partner Super Dad.

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It took me a few weeks but I started to realize the more I played defense on the opposing team the more my family lost. I just needed to ask Matthew for help. You know what happened when I finally talked to him, he felt more involved and I felt more supported. Everybody won.

The key to this “talk” is to come ready to make a change. I had to allow Matthew to change a diaper without micromanaging his every move. When Charlie cried I stopped rushing to her and would kindly ask my husband if he could check on her. I had to give up control. Most importantly hubby has to hold up his end of the deal. Dad – don’t just make empty promises, stand by them! Your wife needs you.

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Mommy and Daddy time

Having a baby is painful. Not just pushing the baby out part. There is lingering pain in nether regions that takes months to heal. Woman who breastfeed or pump or both have something pulling at another sensitive area all day long. Dare I also bring up the hormones. After all these changes to a woman’s body she may also be dealing with postpartum depression that sometimes comes with having a baby. Lastly, not only does a women feel different she looks different. For most women that extra weight picked up over nine months doesn’t magically disappear. So it’s no wonder that the only thing a women wants to do in bed with her husband is catch up on sleep!

Sex may be the first thing on your husbands mind but I would bet my house it’s the last thing on his wife’s. As much as they may try men will never understand what their wife is going through. I had to explain the physiological things I was experiencing so my husband knew it was bigger than just being tired. I tried to give him extra hugs and cuddles so he knew it wasn’t for right now but it also wasn’t forgotten.

This is an area to tread extremely lightly. Have a lot of grace for one another.

Which came first the Daddy or the egg?

Before Charlie came into the picture Matthew got all my attention. I was all about him and he was all about me. When you add a baby to the mix things change and it’s all about baby. Kind-of.

A few days after we brought Charlie home from the hospital my handsome hubby was working on something and he needed my help. When he asked me to come assist I was a little preoccupied feeding our darling girl. At first I refused to help him.

“Can’t he see I’m taking care of Charlie right now and there’s only so much of me to go around?”

Then a little wisdom from heaven was laid on me.

“Lay Charlie down and go to your husband.”

When I walked into the room Matthew looked surprised. He was taken aback that I picked him over our daughter. I should clarify, it wasn’t that I picked him I just prioritized him. I’m his wife and he needed me to come to his aide. Charlie could wait an extra two minutes.

Later that same day Matthew made sure to tell me how much it meant to him that I chose to make him a priority.

I’ve always said if a husband and wife fall apart their children are the real victims. I’m a product of my parents divorce and the memories of that time fuel me to be the best wife possible. That’s what Matthew deserves. After all, Daddy came first and in my home it will remain that way.

 

 

 

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One thought on “Four Ways A Baby Changes Your Marriage and How To Make The Most of the Change

  1. I truly loved this blog. Very descriptive as it taught me to understand
    more and something’s I could use beyond our 4 decades of marriage.
    Thank you my “Dear Testarossa” (see hubby for translation if need).
    Love, hugs & kisses to you and rest of Btre’s
    PapaPaul
    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Like

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