When I was pregnant with my son, one of my best friends told my husband and I to prepare for the inevitable hormones, sleep deprivation, and post-childbirth disagreements. She explained how my hormones would drop just days after the pregnancy and, as a result, I might be depressed or angry or anxious. She told me how she lashed out at her husband in those early postpartum days, and how frustrating parenting with a partner could be. Yeah, she was right. There are some fights all new-parent couples have, and arguments that seem monumental but are usually just the result of poor eating and sleeping habits.
The first few days and weeks of postpartum life and brand new parenting can be tough, especially if you're unaware and unprepared. Babies don’t necessarily come with off switches or manuals, so they constantly cry for every single thing they need or want (or both). You and your partner might respond to those needs and wants differently, causing an unnecessary but very real strain on an already tested relationship. You’ll be stretched thin to the point of exhaustion, only to be pulled and stretched some more.
In my experience, it doesn't necessarily matter where you parent those first few days (or weeks, or months) either. You might be parenting comfortably at home, or at the hospital’s NICU (like my partner and I). You might be close to your family and, in turn your support system, or you might be far away from anyone resembling family and, for all intents and purposes, on your own. Your co-parent might need to return to work immediately (or vice versa), or there might be a necessary (or decided) change in career plans and/or work situations that creates an entirely new level of stress, anxiety, and even (perhaps) resentment. Sound scary? I know, it's a lot, but if you keep the communication channels clear, continually check in with one another, and remember that you're both doing your best, the following arguments won't be a blip on your parenting radar. I promise.