I had my first baby boy July 28, 2016. Everyone said “your life is going to be totally different once the baby comes,” and of course, I knew that. But no one really knows what it’s going to be like until it actually happens. So here he is, and yes a lot has definitely changed! One thing I don’t recall many people discussing was how specifically your marriage can change when your newborn arrives. I’ve learned that in talking with clients and now in my own personal experience. Whether you’re a first time parent or you’re having another baby and have forgotten what it’s like (I heard that can happen!), it is important to be aware of the changes that can occur. Here are some ways your marriage can change and how to keep it healthy.
First, your energy levels are not where they used to be. I thought I didn’t sleep well when I was pregnant, but this is a whole new level of not sleeping. Babies need a lot of attention so naturally, you are going to be very tired. I’ve heard someone call it “newborn tired.” The lack of sleep causes your energy levels to be very low. Low energy causes low frustration tolerance, and all of that mixed up can lead to irritability and arguments. The things your spouse did that once were cute to you become no longer cute. For example, my husband has a loud laugh that is very distinct and makes me laugh. But when that laugh that I love wakes the baby from his nap, it’s just not so cute anymore. Since your energy can be spent mostly on caring for your baby, it is important to rest as often as you can. Take naps when your baby does throughout the day or on the weekends. This can help keep your sanity and avoid unnecessary arguments.
Second, time seems to move a lot faster with a baby. This is especially so since babies need a great deal of attention throughout the day. In between naps, feedings, rockings, your meals and shower, time goes by quickly and free time is very scarce. You have to get really creative and intentional to find that time for your spouse and commit to spending it with him. My husband and I would find time usually during our son’s naps when we could actually talk and spend time together (that’s if we’re not sleeping). Now that my son is sleeping longer in the evenings, we are blessed with longer periods of time to spend together.
A third change is romance. Lack of energy and lack of time naturally can lead to lack of romance in your marriage. As a Mom, you may not feel so confident physically due to the changes your body has gone through having a baby. As a Dad, you may experience the same lack of confidence when it comes to your own physical changes (dads get food cravings too!). Add on the hormonal changes, a crying baby, spit up on your clothes and dirty diapers to change; the last thing on your mind is getting romantic with your partner. Romance is very important in a marriage so you have to get creative here too. If you have family or a trusted person to watch your baby, take advantage and go on a date when you can. Make it a real date too, not a trip to Costco or running errands. Actually dress up and go to dinner and do a fun activity to keep the romance alive in your marriage.
These are few among many changes that can occur in a marriage after the arrival of your precious baby. Be sure to prioritize one another to keep your marriage healthy and strong because your faith and marriage are the foundation on which your child securely rests. Plus, as your child gets older; he will love seeing Mommy and Daddy having a great time together!
At Village Counseling Center, you can talk to trusted therapists who will help you work through any of life’s changes. Having a baby is a huge life changer. If you are struggling with adjusting, please contact VCC and get started today with a therapist today who can help support you along the way.