If you're anything like me, the first few weeks after you bring your new baby home are kind of a mixed bag. On one hand you will probably be happy to finally meet your newborn and get your snuggle on. On the other, you're likely to face some surprises, self-doubt, and of course, sleep deprivation. And when you experience these things with a partner, it can impact your relationship. There are so many ways that the first few weeks of new motherhood changes your relationship — for better and for worse.
There was nothing more amazing than meeting our son for the first time. I grew a tiny human in my body who is part me and part my husband, and he'll be in our lives forever. I mean, that's amazing. But there were so many scary and emotionally-charged moments staring us in the face as new parents, too, like when the baby got sick, wouldn't stop crying, or decided sleep just wasn't happening. The intensity of those moments, and the ability to problem solve together, generated some common ground and commiseration between the two of us, but it also made for more than a few petty fights about whose turn it was to walk laps with the baby or who was more sleep deprived. It also changed the way I looked at my partner. He wasn't just a lover anymore. He was a father, and that was astounding.
I admit that I got resentful of my husband's ability to sleep through pretty much anything, and it was sort of impossible for him to understand my postpartum depression and anxiety. However, in so many ways having a baby together has made our relationship stronger, at least once I stopped keeping score about who was getting more sleep. The first 21 days of motherhood can make or break your relationship, and here's how: