9 Ways The Newborn Years Almost Ended My Relationship

Ad failed to load

Ahh, the newborn years. Now that my kids are older, I can't say I miss them because, well, I don't. I mean, I guess I do miss the baby snuggles, that special newborn smell, and the sweet cooing, but that's about it. In theory and in the beginning, the newborn years seem serene until, of course, the reality of parenthood sets in. The stress, fatigue, and overall sense of, "What the hell do I do now?" can take their toll. Now that I'm long past it, I see all the ways the newborn years almost ended my relationship. Key word, thankfully, being "almost."

Throughout my first pregnancy and before my daughter entered the world, my partner and I declared our infinite devotion to one another, as two crazy kids in love often do. We did the birthing classes, read the books, continued date nights, and swore we'd always put one another first, no matter what. Ha. We were naive. I mean, yes, we were in love and we had wonderful goals, but we were definitely naive. We had no idea how much control our newborn would have over us both, or how much we'd be tested in the first years of her life.

I wouldn't trade the time, no matter how hard it felt, for the world. However, my partner and I had to find new ways to communicate, connect, and understand one another. These aren't bad things, no matter how difficult they were initially, and I'm actually grateful to be where we are because of all we've been through together. Still, there were some arguments that made me think we wouldn't make it to our daughter's first birthday. Here are some of the ways having a newborn almost ended our relationship before it ever really began (we're still going strong, 13 years later).

Ad failed to load

We Dealt With Insane Exhaustion


I knew I'd be tired as a new mom but holy hell it was next level fatigue like I've never experienced before (or after). All those nights of no sleep means neither I, or my partner, would pull an argument from literally nothing. Nothing to eat for dinner? Argument. A single sock on the floor? Argument. Tired of arguing? Argument. This went on until we decided to either work on it, or split up.

We Argued Over Taking Turns


Oh, the joy of sleepless night and never-ending feeds, diaper changes, and staring into my newborn's eyes because she refused to go to sleep. My partner and I took turns (for the most part), but every now and then the conversation became bigger than us, spiraling way out of our control as we debated who should be doing what.

One time we started an argument about who had to bathe our daughter, and it ended with an argument about why we were together at all. That, my friend, is top-notch relationship-ending stuff.

We Dealt With Conflicting Schedules


Once my partner returned to work, we faced a brand new set of issues. Not only were we fighting when we were together (from being so damn tired), but while I stayed home with the baby he worked long shifts. It seemed as thought there was never any time for the two of us to connect. When you don't spend time together, how can you possibly feel connected?

Ad failed to load

We Envied Each Other's Position


There came a point where I resented my partner for being gone so much ("He must be having so much fun!"), and he felt the same about me being home with our baby ("She gets to lie around all day while I work"). We simply couldn't understand each other's perspective. No matter what we did, some days we had to tap out before deciding none of it was worth the trouble.

I Suffered Through Postpartum Depression


My postpartum depression came on gradually, but once it was fully embedded into my daily life I felt disconnected from everything, especially my partner. The days he put forth the effort to help with the baby and chores, I wasn't at a place to care. I was drowning and needed a lifejacket, but he didn't recognize how serious this had become until it was almost too late. Not only did postpartum depression nearly end my relationship, it nearly ended my life.

We Dealt With Financial Difficulties


I didn't have a "traditional" outside-of-the-home job after the baby was born (and still don't), so money has always been tight. When you mix two tired parents, a fussy newborn, communication breakdowns, and money problems, separation is almost inevitable. There were many times we almost called it quits because the arguments over money were so frequent. I'm glad we eventually found our way out of the mess, together.

Ad failed to load

We Didn't Understand Conflict Resolution


As you can probably tell from the above, my partner and I were pretty awful at resolving conflicts during those newborn years. I could blame it on our ages or maturity but, honestly, it stems from the way we grew up. He came from a household where he learned to let the arguments go until there's been enough space to pretend as though nothing happened, whereas I came from a place of constant fighting. My initial reaction is fight or flight. It took a long time before we figured out how to get through conflict in a healthy way, but back then and with our newborn present, it felt like every argument as a couple was our last.

We Always Had Our Baby Between Us


Forget conflicting schedules when there's a baby physically between us at all hours of the day. We managed to be alone sometimes, sure, but for the majority of the early days it was the three of us. Having restricted couple time caused a huge rift in our relationship that was only exasperated by my postpartum depression. Our baby is 10 years old now and she still pushes her way between us.

We Evolved In Separate Directions


There's a huge difference between evolving into the role of parents, and growing apart. Back then, we leaned towards the latter. We struggled to find balance and, in the process, we'd become people the other person didn't recognize. Even now there are times I wonder if we're close enough to stay together for life, or if too much has happened and too much has changed.

At the end of the day, if we can get through the newborn years I guess we can make it through anything. Unless I'm tired or hungry. Then he'd better watch out. Kidding. Mostly.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills