Fotolia

9 Ways The Newborn Years Almost Ended My Relationship

By
Share
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

Giphy

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

Giphy

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

Giphy

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

Giphy

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

Giphy

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

Giphy

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

Giphy

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

Giphy

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

Giphy

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

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In March

You can always count on Netflix to keep it fresh: though there are already so many movies and shows to choose from, every month there's an influx of new content to keep your entire family entertained. As February enters its final weeks, it's time to …
By Megan Walsh

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack