Before we had our little girl, I was absolutely terrified that my marriage was going to change for the worst. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people “warned” us that things were going to be vastly different than they were before. For the 9 months of my pregnancy I was googling “how to save your marriage” before it was even in need of saving. I wish I was kidding, guys!
I’m not sure what it is about being pregnant but everyone, and I mean everyone, likes to tell you all the bad things that are about to happen. You will never sleep again. Your marriage will crumble. You will have no time for yourself. Shower, what is a shower? You will never have sex. Your body will never be the same. I can probably count on one hand the positive things people would tell me about the joys of motherhood.
What. Is. Wrong. With. People?
Now, I am not one to paint everything like one big rainbow…but it is in my nature to focus on the positive and not dwell on the negative. So, you can imagine how hearing all of these warnings affected me.
I was constantly telling my husband how we needed to prepare. We needed to get in front of the devastating storm that was about to arrive, We needed to plan date nights and write down nice things to say to each other, We needed to have a plan for when we are tired. My type-A mind was in overdrive. I thought, if I could prepare for the worst, than it wouldn’t be so bad. We could come out of this alive. How sad is this? I was pregnant with an amazing child God created for us, about to experience one of the BEST things in life, and I was preparing for World War III. I’m pretty sure my antics had my husband fully on board with the “save our marriage before it needs saving” plan. He was all for the crazy ideas I concocted.
Fast forward to the day our sweet little girl was born….and fast forward another 5 or so months after that. And GUESS WHAT….all of those horrible, bad, life ending warnings I was given as a pregnant lady, well, NONE of them came to fruition. Goodness, how I wish I could go back in time and slap some sense into myself. Why was I preparing for doomsday?
The amount of joy our little girl brought us was unparalleled to anything we have ever experienced before. She not only changed our entire world (for the better), but brought my husband and I closer than ever. We spent 15 years together, child free, and while things most certainly are different now…our marriage is flourishing. And, yes, we still really like each other. Take that, baby haters!
Now, I’m not sure if it was because we were armed with strategies going into parenthood…or if things genuinely aren’t as bad as people make them sound. But, regardless, being ahead of the game and aware of certain problem areas that could arise helped us during those first few months at home with a newborn. Here are the top three areas that I think made a big difference in our postpartum experience.
It was extremely important to us that we had quality, baby free, time together. We didn’t have to leave the house to make this happen. We were very purposeful about how we spent our time when the baby was sleeping or napping. Instead of scrolling on social media or getting caught up with work, we sat down on the couch, wrapped in each other’s arms, and watched a show or movie together. Just that simple act of touch and quality time kept us feeling close to one another.
Once the little one was sleeping through the night and had a set bedtime, we had date nights at home. We’d make dessert or crack open a bottle of wine, talk about things not related to our baby, and simply enjoy each other.
Eventually we felt brave enough to leave her with a family member, and we took advantage of date nights out of the house. We went to hockey games, had dinner at our favorite restaurant, grabbed drinks with friends, etc. Now, we are in a pretty nice groove and are able to plan 3-4 baby free outings/dates a month so we can make sure our marriage is always a priority.
This area was probably one that I was most worried about before we had our little girl. I knew I was going to be physically out of commission for about a month or more after birth. My husband and I have a very healthy sex life, so this was something I wanted to continue. Not only for our marriage (and for me), but also for my husband.
Keeping it completely real here….my baby daddy got more blow jobs during those first 5 weeks postpartum than I can even count. No matter how tired I was or how appealing the bed looked (to actually sleep in), I always made sure my man was satisfied. I did this without him ever having to ask. Because, what fun is a blow job if you have to ask for one?
And, well, let me tell you ladies. Not sure if it was the blow jobs or not…but my husband was my right hand man for everything. I don’t think I EVER had to ask him to do anything. He was right there with me…changing diapers, doing bath time, prepping bottles, waking up in the middle of the night so I could sleep, you name it and he was there helping.
Keeping him satisfied, kept me satisfied too. And after about 6 weeks, when I was feeling completely healed, we resumed our sex life as if no time had passed. The best part? The long hiatus made it feel like the first time all over again. So, don’t worry that things will feel different or that it will never be the same down there. I was SO worried about that. Trust me, everything will eventually go back to the way it was before baby, and it will be just as good (if not better) than you remembered.
The last big area that we wanted to keep in tip top shape was our communication. With a newborn, and being completely sleep deprived, you can say a lot of things you don’t mean. Luckily, we were armed and ready for the worst so we never had to deal with this. If I was feeling overwhelmed, I told him. If he needed a break, he told me. We were always very aware and in tune with how the other was feeling because we told each other.
This alleviated a lot of potential arguments. We didn’t have to argue because we knew what the other person needed and could provide that. I’m not saying it was all a walk in the park. I remember crying at the kitchen sink one night because I was just so tired. My husband asked what was wrong and how he could help. I literally just cried. The crazy thing is, I didn’t even know why I was crying. Motherhood will do that to you. That night, without having to ask, he woke up for every feeding, took the baby when she was fussy, and let me sleep in peace. Communication is key.
My hope in sharing our experience with you is not to help you prepare for life after a baby, but to help you be more aware of how things might change. I truly believe that if you are aware of these potential issues before hand, and armed with strategies to work through them, then your marriage can flourish. Also, please, please, don’t listen to all of the baby haters out there.
Will life change? Yes
Are you going to be sleep deprived? Yes
Is life going to feel overwhelming sometimes? Yes
None of it can hold a candle to the joy and happiness a baby will bring to you and your partner. You will be closer than ever because you just created the most amazing little human. It is truly unbelievable and the BEST feeling in the world. Enjoy it.