From self-image to sleep-deprivation, to watching as your new baby disrupts your schedule, grabs everyone's attention, and impacts your relationships, change is the name of the new-mom game. So, of course, your marriage will change, too. You can tell everyone you're a "united front" and "in this thing together," but let's be real — there are some stereotypes about marriage after having a baby that are totally true, no matter how much you wish they weren't.
My relationship took a pretty big hit after our first child was born. My partner and I were both clueless, overwhelmed, exhausted, and, frankly, a little arrogant about parenthood and how "seamless" our adjustment period would be. Reality hit us pretty fast, though. I mean, in case you haven't heard, parenting is hard. So before we could wrap our minds around our new reality, we were forced to come to terms with how our marriage had changed now that we were parents.
You'd think we would have learned by the time we had our second child, and were at least prepared for our marriage to change again. Yeah, we weren't. Instead, we bickered, we had less sex, we barely spoke, and we never left the house for a hot date again. In other words, we embodied the "marriage after baby" stereotypes we swore we wouldn't become. Here are some of those stereotypes that, at least in my case, are 100 percent true.
It's All About The Baby
For awhile, yes, your marriage and life will revolve around your new baby. In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with that fact, either. Who cares if people crack jokes about how much of your time is wrapped in this tiny human being? Your partner will hopefully not only understand, but will be just as obsessed with your baby as you are.
No One Is Having Sex
Props to all you couples who get the green light to hit the bedroom postpartum and go willingly, excitedly, and without hesitation, but that just wasn't the case for my husband and I. After pushing a human being out of my body, sex was the last thing I wanted for a very long time. And thanks to sleep deprivation and chronic fatigue, my husband was on the same page. You can't force yourself to be "in the mood," and I know from experience that it helps no one to "give it a try" when your heart (and your body) isn't in it. Give it time and things will even out... eventually.
You Rarely Go "Out" Anymore
When you have a baby your world is as big as your home. I mean, it's so much work to either find a reliable, trustworthy babysitter, or drag the baby and all their things out into the world for something like a meal. I don't even like doing it now and my kids are well past infancy.
You Don't Talk To Each Other
Before we had kids my husband and I would stay up late talking for hours. I look back on that pre-baby time now and laugh. Not only did I absolutely covet a good night's sleep after bringing our baby home from the hospital, but I also had zero desire to have lengthy conversations about anything.
Over the years, our marriage has evolved to knowing what the other person is thinking without anyone saying a word. Honestly, I consider it a true gift.
You Argue All The Time
If it's not an argument over who gets more sleep or who has to tackle the next diaper, you're arguing about messed up schedules or who decided to have a child in the first place. Those arguments are often temporary, to be sure, but if you're not prepared or don't know how to "fight fair," those disagreements can cause a serious rift in your marriage.
You're Both Boring
In order to survive the newborn phase, your relationship has to take a turn towards Boring Town. You set up routines, rely on carefully prepared plans, and you both schedule everything from playdates to sex.
You Both Pretend Nothing's Changed
We thought we'd never become a stereotype. We thought we could pretend everything was the same. We thought we could get right back on track and enjoy date nights and friend time, and, you know, life. Obviously, we were kidding ourselves and everyone around us. Had we just accepted the undeniable fact that our marriage would be temporarily out-of-whack, instead of fighting the inevitable every step of the way, all that change might've been easier to handle.
The truth is, those days of having a little squishy, sweet-smelling baby go by so fast. So fast, in fact, that your marriage is bound to experience a few road bumps. But if you surrender to the process and acknowledge the fact that your baby runs things for the immediate future, everyone will be better for it.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.