I naively thought that having a baby would be super romantic. That we would catch each other’s eyes over our blissfully sleeping baby’s head and smile lovingly at each other. I thought having a baby would bring my husband and I even closer together, but the reality is so much more complicated than I had imagined it would be. Having a baby certainly changed our marriage, in ways that are both good and bad.
1. We want to spend any free time alone
At the end of the day, pre-baby, I used to look forward to eating dinner together, snuggling on the couch, and curling up to watch a movie. After spending all day and often all night with our baby however, all each of us wants is time to ourselves. My husband loves playing computer games to shoot his stress out, and I love eating chocolate and watching The Bachelor (no judgement, please!).
2. Every parent for themselves
Especially in that first year with our difficult baby, my husband and I were both so exhausted and sleep deprived that we just didn’t care how the other person felt. We were doing everything we could individually to survive, often at the detriment of the other person. “Sure, you are tired, but hey, I’m MORE tired” is how we were feeling. It become a competition as to who was the most tired, the most frustrated, the most in need of a break. Thankfully as our child got older, we started to work together as a team.
3.Emotions are heightened
Pre-baby, it’s much easier to deal with annoyances from your partner. He doesn’t take the garbage out, not a big deal. Your tolerance level for things is generally a lot higher, so there’s less arguing and bickering. Take away your sleep and time to yourself, and suddenly the smallest, most inconsequential things can make you snap. Stupid things cause epic fights, like “you ate the last of the chocolate!”
4. Time together is scarce
I kind of figured that once Baby came along we would have less time together, but it just didn’t dawn on me until she actually arrived and we brought her home that we would never be able to go out alone again unless we planned in advance and organised it with babysitters. Good bye spontaneity, and also basically the end of dinners out alone. When factoring in the cost of a babysitter to a meal, it suddenly became so expensive to go out for dinner that we would only splurge for birthdays and anniversaries.
5. Your conversations change
Pre-baby, you might have discussed intellectual things like climate change and politics over dinner. Post baby, our conversations are all about poop. Even three years on, it’s still all about poop.
6. He looks at you in an entirely different way
After having a baby, you reach a new level of intimacy with your partner. They’ve seen things they might wish they hadn’t, but have also seen you exposed, vulnerable, and powerful as you give birth to their child. Your relationship can’t ever be the same again as they’ve witnessed your literal transformation into becoming a mother.
7. You’re tied together forever
Sure, beforehand you said vows to be together forever, but having a baby solidifies that you really will be in each others’ lives forever, no matter what. It’s an added incentive to make your marriage work, and an achievement you’ve accomplished together. Creating a person! The baptism of fire that is childbirth and then raising a child! With this new parenting gig, you really are in this together forever.
8. Priorities change
If I’m really honest, my priorities before baby came along were still pretty focussed on myself. My husband was my priority because being with him made me happy – meaning I was still my own main priority. Having a baby threw both of our priorities out the window. Our child is now our first priority – both of our first priority, which really strengthens our marriage and feeling of being a team.
9. The love you have for each other changes
We might not go out on dates much anymore, or do many “romantic” things (right now, my husband watching the child so I can go to a yoga class is so romantic), but our love for each other is actually stronger than ever before. It’s just different. That giddy feeling has been replaced by a deep respect. I look at my husband and I am blown away by what an amazing father he is. I’m in awe of the love he shows our daughter, the patience and kindness, even when she’s being incredibly difficult. I had no idea before we had a baby that I could love a man even more after seeing how he loved someone else.
Photos by Vincent Lai, Saving Grace Photography, Bridget Eldridge Photography.
This article first appeared on Mommynearest.com