There is tremendous truth to the adage that having a baby changes everything. However, the changes don't stop with the delivery of your baby. With every new stage of development, you and your family adapt to your new normal. With that in mind, knowing how the fifth trimester affects your marriage is crucial, because mom returning to work creates changes for the whole family.
If you go back to work soon after having a baby, then this creates an upheaval in your family's routine. Chances are, you had just started to accommodate your baby's feeding and sleeping schedule when that maternity leave ended. Because it often results in all new stresses, the period of time when you go back to work after having a baby is sometimes known as the fifth trimester, a term coined by Lauren Brody, author of The Fifth Trimester. This onslaught of additional responsibility can affect you and your child, but it can also alter your marriage.
In general, many working parents have to contend with a feeling of never-ending tasks. The job itself is one thing, but on the home side of the equation, you are both working full-time, as noted by The Seattle Times. When your baby is still very young, child care is a demanding, 24/7 kind of gig. Understandably, that kind of pressure can put strain on your marriage. You have less time than ever for washing bottles, paying bills, or really connecting as a couple.
Additionally, it seems logical that the fifth trimester would at least give couples a sense of relief on the money front. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. As noted in Parents, many couples still do not feel financially secure with two incomes. Even if you planned to help your marriage survive kids by carefully researching the cost of raising a child in your area, seeing those bills pile up in real life can be shocking.
So basically? The fifth trimester can signify a time of shifting parental roles, increased responsibility at home, and potentially more financial stresses. Although this sounds pretty bleak, having a baby can teach you new things about your marriage, your bond, and one another. Hopefully, you and your family can continue to grow together through these changes.