February 2013 Moms

Marriage after baby

DH and I are very different people, and we were raised very differently. One thing we do have in common is that we're both stubborn and strong-willed; not a great combination when it comes to disagreements and having to compromise! We also have a tendency to say things we don't mean during arguments, which can be really hurtful on both sides.

Currently DH has a really crappy job that he hates, and what looked like a very promising job opportunity fell through. So that doesn't help his mood any. He's pretty depressed most of the time. Add that to the fact that he did not have great role models or family life growing up, which affects how he views life in general, including raising DD, and we have a recipe for disaster.

Basically we're at the point where we need marriage counseling. Having a baby has really exacerbated the problems we had in our marriage before DD was born, and neither one of us wants DD to grow up with fighting, upset parents. It's just hard for me to admit this, because our relationship has stood the test of time (we've been together since we were very young teenagers) and I never really thought we would be in this place of threatening to leave and give up on our marriage.... 

So, anyone else experiencing marital/relationship strain with your S/O after baby?  

PCOS with long, irregular cycles
First round of Clomid in May 2012= BFP #1, DD born January 2013 
BFP #2 in January 2014, DS born September 2014

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Re: Marriage after baby

  • You are definitely not alone.  The combination of months of interrupted sleep, stress and uncertainty over trying to best raise the baby, and a complete lack of sex on my part (which i blame on breastfeeding, episiotomy/tearing, and exhaustion) have been very difficult for us.  We snap at each other and are very defensive.  I think the fact that we recognize what is happening, and why, and are able to talk about it openly, is very helpful.  If we were ignoring it and pretending that things were ok, that would be much worse.  It still stinks though. 

    We actually left our five-month old with family this past Saturday, and spent a night away to ourselves.  It was absolutely the best thing that we could have done.  Half an hour into the car ride out of town, and we were already back to our bantering old selves (after I cried for a few minutes about leaving the baby).  A few glasses of wine, some dancing, and we actually had sex.  Now that we're back things are not magically resolved, but it was nice to remember that we are still husband and wife, in addition to Mommy and Daddy.  I'd recommend a date night if you can leave your little one with someone trustworthy for a night.  Good luck to you!


  • I think having a baby is stressful for every marriage.  And I also think, like you said, if you're having troubles before the baby comes, the stress from it will bring them all to the surface.  I also think the opposite is true - if you have a very strong and healthy relationship prior to the baby, it will just pull you closer after the birth.

    I'm sorry you're going through this.  Hang in there.  IME, it all starts getting better once everyone is getting sleep and thinking a little more clearly :)

        
  • I'm so sorry you're going through this. I think counseling is a great idea and if you're both willing to work on your marriage I think things will get better. Marriage is work, as is parenting, but I think you can come out stronger. Are you both willing to do counseling? Have you considered doing it separately as well as together?
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    BFP #1: 12.30.11, MC 1.6.12 at 5w; BFP #2: 5.25.12, DS born 2.1.13; BFP #3: 9.4.14, MMC 10.13.14 at 9w
  • We've been having problems too, although DH doesn't seem to think we are.  Our big conflict has been about LO.  DH is short tempered and has a tendency to fly off the handle over little stupid things.  For example, last weekend we got sushi and LO started crying while we were eating on the couch.  I brought her into the living room and when I sat down I stupidly sat down on my sushi (not his) which I'd left on the couch cushion.  I started laughing, he got incredibly mad, picked up the plastic container and threw it.  It was bad enough when it was me and him, but I DO NOT want him acting like that around DD.  I'm worried what will happen when she's a little older and accidentally spills something or pees on the floor.  He can't yell and throw things around her like that.  He's also very critical of me too--he always says that I'm never happy with anything and that I'm too demanding.  I've been having some PPA issues so it doesn't help when I get that type of response when I vent to him.  I told my best friend a few weeks ago that now that I have a baby I wish I would have married someone else.  It would be nice to have someone who is supportive, loves me for who I am instead of criticizing me, and who was excited and involved with the pregnancy and the baby.  I did all the prep when I was pregnant (setting up the nursery, picking out names, going to dr. appointments) and then he'd just sit back and criticize everthing I was doing.  Now that baby is here he leaves for work at 6:00ish and gets home around 5:00 or 6:00 (sometimes later) and then goes to the gym for 2 hours.  He spends zero time with me and the little time he spends with her he plops her on the boppy and either gets on the Internet or watches tv and ignores her. 

    Wow, didn't quite realize how frustrated I was until now! Remember though that marriage counseling is a good thing and its not a sign of weakness.  Its a sign that you are committed to your relationship and that you want to make it work.  

  • Even though you are definitely not alone, I think marriage counseling could be a very good idea. It's great that you recognize what the problems are, and hopefully counseling could help you find ways to communicate in a more healthy way.

    When DD1 was 6 months old I was close to a nervous breakdown and suggested counseling to DH because sleeping was horrible. We decided to try sleep training first, and it worked miracles. Now with DD2 it's happening, too, and so we're trying to decide what sleep training method to use before I go to counseling (this time the problem is me, not us, so I would go alone).


    BFP1: DD1 born April 2011 at 34w1d via unplanned c/s due to HELLP, DVT 1 week PP
    BFP2: 3/18/12, blighted ovum, natural m/c @ 7w4d
    BFP3: DD2 born Feb 2013 at 38w4d via unplanned RCS due to uterine dehiscence

  • It sounds like you have more going on than just being new parents. Thankfully, DH and I have been doing ok but I've definitely given him a run for his money over the past few months. It's a good thing he's patient and understanding and doesn't hang onto grudges or I'd be in the doghouse. For us, it's absolutely the lack of sleep.

    You mentioned he lost out on a job opportunity. I also hate my job- I interviewed and was offered a great new position but had to decline it because the commute would have been 2hrs each way. To say I was disappointed was a tremendous overstatement. DH tried to be supportive but he just can't appreciate the letdown. I just needed to be grumpy for a while and get over it. 

    Also, you've been together a long time. That means you've had a rhythm as a couple for a long time which has been thrown out of sorts with your DD. You've mentioned she's a high maintenance baby-I'm sure that's also a big stressor! 

    So, it sounds like you have alot of variables and will need some time to adjust to "the new reality". I think getting some support and counseling is a great idea. Sometimes you need an objective party to point you toward actions that are being taken that may not be intended but are having a negative impact. They can also give you coping strategies to work through these hard times. 

    It's smart and brave people who realize when a problem is larger than what they can handle alone. I hope it starts getting sorted out soon! :)

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  • image Sterling13:
    I'm so sorry you're going through this. I think counseling is a great idea and if you're both willing to work on your marriage I think things will get better. Marriage is work, as is parenting, but I think you can come out stronger. Are you both willing to do counseling? Have you considered doing it separately as well as together?

    Yes, we are both willing. Actually DH wanted to do it months ago, but I was the one who didn't want to. I think I was in denial that we really had a problem and I thought we could work it out on our own. Well, it's becoming obvious that we can't, so counseling it is, I suppose. 

    I truly think DH needs counseling separately, but I don't know if he'd agree to do it. He was bullied as a child and teenager, and has zero self esteem. He also has a tendency to fly off the handle about little things and make mountains out of molehills (that comes from a very turbulent family life when he was growing up... like, huge arguments multiple times a week in that house). Maybe if we started seeing someone together, he will realize that he has bigger issues he needs to work on. 

    PCOS with long, irregular cycles
    First round of Clomid in May 2012= BFP #1, DD born January 2013 
    BFP #2 in January 2014, DS born September 2014

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  • I can't tell you how many people on my other board (Dec 2010 moms) had marriage problems after our LO's were born. For a while it seemed like every other post was a husband vent. For me, marriage was always so easy before kids. After kids, not so much. We are just so disconnected at times and we don't have nearly as much in common anymore. I think we both resent each other sometimes too and don't appreciate each other like we should. I really liked the book the Five Love Languages. I really think it helped restore our relationship after DD#1 was born. Have you read it? It's sort of a "fake it till you make it" concept, but it really seems to help. I need to start using those tactics again because the second baby has brought out the same issues again.

     Hang in there mama. It's good that you're addressing the problems now. 

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  • I read that the first year after having a baby is the hardest year on a marriage.  We both keep this in mind to keep things in perspective.  It's hard in so many ways.  I think it's smart to go to counseling.  We did some premarital counseling, and we plan to go again should the need arise.  Pretty much everyone in our families got divorced, and we want to do our best to make sure our little girl has happy, in love parents.
  • I think having kids is hard on a marriage. Seriously, I won't ever understand how people think that having a kid will save a marriage. Um, no.

    We have argued about things that I never thought we'd argue about before. And it's been hard, but we're in a better place now that DD is sleeping more.

    I think counseling could really help. If anything, having someone outside the situation help you talk about your issues could be very helpful.  Best of luck to you guys!

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  • I completely empathize and understand what you're going through. Since DS was born, it feels like DH and I are just people living together. We keep totally opposite schedules, and even when he is around, he really isn't much of a support system for me. He has PTSD, and like PPs have shared, also has a tendency to fly off the handle and react very poorly to tense situations.

    If you read my post from earlier today, I feel like he's just not making adjustments to his life since having a kid, while mine has been completely upended and I'm just supposed to handle all of it.

    I think counseling is a great idea, and it's so good that both of you are on board. Hopefully you both can get some clarity on what you each want your marriage to be like, and work towards that together. But I wanted you to do that you are definitely not alone in this!

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  • When I got pregnant, DH and I's relationship took a turn for the worst. We were TTC, but I think I expected more from him after I got pregnant and he didn't deliver at ALL. It was like WWIII over picking out a boy's name. Everything was bad, and I worried how adding a baby was going to make things. Thankfully, my going into labor was a reality check for him and the 6 weeks he was off work after DS was born DH was incredibly helpful.

     Now that time has passed and DH is back to work...things are sliding downhill. It has been very hard for him to engage with LO. He was used to just holding him while he slept for 6 weeks, leaving him free to watch movies and play video games. Now DS is awake most of the time and very high needs and DH finds it hard to focus on him. It has come to the point where DS cries when left with him while I'm in another room. It makes it really difficult for me to get anything done.

    On top of having a high needs baby, we only had sex like a handful of times while I was pregnant because it hurt/felt weird. And now I think because of breastfeeding it is still extremely painful for me. We have tried 3 or 4 times since DS was born and have always had to stop due to me being in pain. 

     I think it is just really hard to find time for each other and meet each others' needs when you are also caring for a baby 24/7. OP, I think counseling is a great idea. It will give you both time to talk and hopefully work through some things. We have to try to remember that all this is only temporary, and when we got married we signed up for the long haul. It will get better again with time and a little effort.


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  • image eriannc22:

    When I got pregnant, DH and I's relationship took a turn for the worst. We were TTC, but I think I expected more from him after I got pregnant and he didn't deliver at ALL. It was like WWIII over picking out a boy's name. Everything was bad, and I worried how adding a baby was going to make things. Thankfully, my going into labor was a reality check for him and the 6 weeks he was off work after DS was born DH was incredibly helpful.

     Now that time has passed and DH is back to work...things are sliding downhill. It has been very hard for him to engage with LO. He was used to just holding him while he slept for 6 weeks, leaving him free to watch movies and play video games. Now DS is awake most of the time and very high needs and DH finds it hard to focus on him. It has come to the point where DS cries when left with him while I'm in another room. It makes it really difficult for me to get anything done.

    On top of having a high needs baby, we only had sex like a handful of times while I was pregnant because it hurt/felt weird. And now I think because of breastfeeding it is still extremely painful for me. We have tried 3 or 4 times since DS was born and have always had to stop due to me being in pain. 

     I think it is just really hard to find time for each other and meet each others' needs when you are also caring for a baby 24/7. OP, I think counseling is a great idea. It will give you both time to talk and hopefully work through some things. We have to try to remember that all this is only temporary, and when we got married we signed up for the long haul. It will get better again with time and a little effort.

    Ugh, I am sick of the damn xbox. I want to throw it out the window most days. I don't need him to have some kind of loftier hobby, like reading Earnest Hemming way novels or something, but sometimes it's just ridiculous. 

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  • I'm in a very similar situation as lots of you ladies so it's nice to know I'm not alone!! DH hates his job, so he's stressed out a lot and complaines constantly. I work 2 days a week and we're barely breaking even financially which ads to the stress. He loves our LO but doesn't really do much with him except hold him for 15 min when he gets home. I do all the feeding, bath time, bed time, etc. and he never really wants to do anything together. He's just glued to the TV or Xbox every night and weekend. I want him to be able to have his down time, but I want to do things as a family too. We're not really fighting, I just feel as though we're very disconnected.
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