When you’re getting ready for baby, it’s easy to look at the world through rose-colored glasses. There’s nothing as exciting as picking out baby clothes, mulling over names, decorating the nursery and imagining what your little one will be like. But once you reach the end of your pregnancy and your baby arrives, things might not be as wonderful as you thought. Particularly, you might find that your relationship with your partner is feeling a bit strained. The stress, confusion, and sleep deprivation a new baby may bring can really put a damper on your marriage. Here are some of the ways babies can challenge your relationship, as well as several ways you can safeguard the love you share.
They’re time consuming: There’s no doubt that newborns are adorable and joyful and that bringing one into your life is rewarding beyond measure. But it’s also safe to say that babies are time intensive. Every waking moment, you’ll worry about whether your child’s needs are met. Even as he or she grows into a toddler, most of your time at home will be spent taking care of your little one. You may find that you and your partner have much less one-on-one time and not much energy to devote to one another.
They create more chores: If you and your partner had trouble divvying up household chores before the arrival of your baby, you’ll probably have more issues now. There’s a lot of work to be done surrounding your child, from bath time, to meals, getting dressed, changing diapers, playtime and bed time. Someone’s got to shop for baby food, clean the nursery, pick up toys, and bring your child to the doctor. If one parent does more, he or she will probably start to feel a little resentment.
They’re expensive: Even the best newborn preparation plan can’t always ready you for the amount of money you’ll need to raise a child. You’ll be shelling out a lot of cash for items such as food, clothes, classes, school, and other essentials your child needs. You may discover that you and your partner argue more and more frequently about your finances.
They’re life-changing: Simply put, you’re no longer the same person you were before you became a parent – for better and for worse. You’re likely exhausted and fully consumed by your new bundle of joy. As a woman, your body undergoes remarkable changes during pregnancy and childbirth. All of these changes may impact the way you see your partner and the way he or she sees you – and coming to terms with that may be a challenge.
They make sex difficult: There are many ways kids affect your sex life. They don’t leave much time for it. They make you too tired for it. Having them can make you feel self-conscious about your body. They touch you a lot – leaving you less likely to want more touching from your partner. They’re just always around!
Yes, a new baby can challenge your marriage – but you and your partner can face these challenges head-on, thoughtfully and intentionally. First, realize that the goal here is to fit your baby into your life – not mold your life to accommodate your child. Strive to be the same person you’ve always been. After all, you’ll get your relationship back on your terms once your children move out in the future. Next, make an effort to really prepare yourself for the strain that a baby might put on you and your partner. Sit down with him or her and start planning for the less-fun stuff, like sharing chores, budgeting and carving out time for yourselves. Another good idea is to engage in pre- and post-baby counseling with your partner. Studies have shown that this type of counseling can help couples stay strong in the face of this big life change.