The Hardest Time in My Marriage: The Newborn Phase
Imagine this situation: There are two people who are sleep deprived in a way they've never experienced and both are physically aching from not being able to recharge. They're faced with a new responsibility that is bigger than they've ever known and have been given no instructions on how to move forward. One of the two people has been through the hardest workout of their life and has chemicals flowing through their body, while the other is left wondering how they can help the situation. The routine changes, and the only feedback they receive is screaming and crying.
That's what life is like, at least for a little while, when you welcome a newborn into your life. When I was pregnant, I was told how morning sickness was going to be rough, that the aches in my joints from my changing shape was going to be real, and that contractions were painful like nothing else. I was warned that babies are a lot of work and healing from giving birth was going to take some time. But even after all the warnings, I was surprised no one warned me about how the newborn phase was going to affect my marriage.
I met my husband in high school; I was 17 years old, and he was 18, and we fell in love. Hard. We were inseparable through high school and college, and when we graduated, we got married. Deciding to grow our family was not a topic we agreed on at first, but when we both arrived at the same spot, we gave it our all. Through miscarriages and uncertainty, we had our first baby, freshly born, and finally at home, and that's when I was caught off guard.
I have, what I consider, a very strong and healthy marriage. My husband and I are in love to the core, and we've been through a lot together. We have the same goals and work well together, but despite all this, we had a lot to learn and to adjust to when we welcomed a new baby into our lives.
We felt very disconnected.
We were distant for the first time in our long relationship, and it was really hard. We had to learn to communicate more efficiently, get comfortable with asking for help, and be honest about what we needed, and – to be honest – there were times when I worried if we'd come out on the other side of things.
We did. About six months after our baby was born, those fights and arguments started to become less frequent, and the feelings of disconnect started to lift. It was the hardest time in our marriage, and we've only encountered something similar three times since—after each of our children were born.
Did you and your partner experience a rough patch after the birth of your child(ren)?