2nd Timers: How did baby affect your marriage? — The Bump
March 2013 Moms

2nd Timers: How did baby affect your marriage?

Hey all, I'm looking for a little insight into ways that the arrival of your first child can affect your marriage. While we're both super-stoked to be having a baby, I have some concerns that I might get so carried away with being Mommy that I forget to be Wife, and might cause hubby to become jealous of baby (paranoid, but not totally unheard-of)! I'm also worried that habits I think will change will actually persist after the baby is born, particularly late-night video game sessions, etc.

So how did your marriage change after the birth of your baby? Did you or your hubby undergo any surprising personality changes? What do you do to keep the romance going? Thanks for the input!

"Can I call your baby 'Ze Munchkin,' or 'ZM' for short?" - my best friend

Re: 2nd Timers: How did baby affect your marriage?

  • We weren't married when DD was born, but had been together for 2 years.  We went through a pretty rough patch when she was born and came very close to calling it quits altogether.  We worked on it and we are married now and as happy as ever!  Maybe you could sit down and talk about your expectations for when the baby gets here etc.  You can try to come up with a system of how you will handle dinner, chores, and baby duty at night, and hopefully that will relieve some of the tension that I'm sure everyone experiences with a new baby and new routine and no sleep!  You probably won't stick to your schedule all the time but it's a good start.  My DH never got jealous of the baby, and I don't think he will this time.  We've already decided we will take turns getting up at night, even though I am BFing, because we both will still be working right from the get go.

    Some Dad's will get up and change the baby, and then hand off to Mom for BFing at night, and on the weekends take over one feeding and let Mom sleep.

    We also didn't undergo personality changes, but the lack of sleep made any pre-existing issues 10x worse.  To keep the romance going, when baby is a month old or whenever you feel comfortable leaving him/her, go out for a date night with your DH.  If you BF, don't stress about missing a pumping session or what not because one time won't affect it and just enjoy each other's company :)

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  • When my daughter was born in 2008 my now ex-husband and I were already dealing with a lot of things in our marriage; 18 month later we seperated and divorced. I have been married now for over a year to a great man and I have no worries about what this baby will do to our marriage because we have ALWAYS been very open with everythign in our marriage.

    Make sure you communicate with your partner about your concerns and how things make you feel. An example is I can't stand video/computer games; they didn't help my first marriage so my current husband only plays when I am not home and he rarley plays to be honest because he knows I'm not a fan.

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  • I think it's different for everyone but for us, honestly, it didn't change our marriage very much. Obviously our roles slightly changed since I became a SAHM and we had a baby to care for so our time spent together changed a little but it wasn't a very difficult adjustment for us. DH and I are unusual that our marriage thrives in the hardest situations- we actually tend to have more issues when things are going smoothly in all areas of our lives which is probably good since things are nuts for us often. 

    The entire 1st pregnancy was tough- lots of medical issues and I went into the hospital on bed rest for the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy. Being on bedrest was tough on our marriage because it was 10 weeks of really only seeing each other for a few hours each evening and sleeping alone (me at the hospital alone and DH at home). I think that would be tough on any couple and it was more just b/c we missed each other. After DS was born, he had a decent amount of medical issues and DH and I both just rallied and our marriage got stronger. We totally have a team mentality and really rely on each other. I am incredibly blessed to have a super involved husband- while there are things about him that drive me nuts, and hes not perfect all the time (no one is!) he is an absolutely amazing father. He went to the lactation consultant with me, went to as many dr's/therapy appointments with me as he could (DS is in speech, OT, PT & feeding therapy). We traded off all the night time feedings. My respect and admiration for DH grew watching him be such an amazing dad and it gave me an appreciation for how much he loves me and our family. It makes it a lot easier to put up with him never picking up after himself, or being kinda messy, when I see him loving our kids.

    The adjustment from 2 to 1 has been a little harder but that is more for me than our marriage just because things are SO hectic then I got pregnant at 6 mo post-partum...that was definitely a shock. DH is great though- we've had to realize that to keep things running smoothly our communication has to stay really good. We both still have hobbies and go out w/ friends on a regular basis- it just takes more coordination now. I will also say that if you thought getting married required you to be selfless, having kids sucks out any selfishness you might have. You just cant be selfish at all- your needs never come first, and we personally have faith beliefs that defines love as giving to the needs of the other, expecting nothing in return. If both people do this, both will have their needs met and will be satisfied. We both try and keep that in mind- how can I be serving my husband better (and him- how can I be serving my wife better?)?

    As far as concerns about jealousy- we didnt have this issue b/c we were both so enamored with the baby that it was a mutual thing plus we focus on keeping the marriage fresh with date nights and stuff like that. When it comes to the bad habits- it really will be if your DH is at a maturity level to realize that he has to chip in. Marriage and parenting aren't 50/50- it is both people putting in 100/100. Its the only way it can work. GL! 

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  • image Abeja1226:

    Maybe you could sit down and talk about your expectations for when the baby gets here etc.  You can try to come up with a system of how you will handle dinner, chores, and baby duty at night, and hopefully that will relieve some of the tension that I'm sure everyone experiences with a new baby and new routine and no sleep!  You probably won't stick to your schedule all the time but it's a good start. 

    Definitely agree with this. After my maternity leave was over and I went back to work, we hit a rocky patch. I was stressed with the whole balancing work with the baby thing and really had to be vocal with what I needed DH to help with. The sleep deprivation also tends to make minor conflicts into a big deal too.

    I also agree that date nights are a must. DH and I are lucky that both sets of parents live nearby so we get many offers to babysit. So much of our lives revolve around our son and it's easy to get into a rut where you're roommates who share a child and not spouses. So getting away helps. 

    I can't say that our marriage is better or worse since having a child but it's definitely different. I do love and appreciate him in more ways now because he is such a great dad and I love seeing him in that role.


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  • We had a very rough time, and I honestly reconsidered our relationship. We also had a super high needs, reflux baby who cried pretty much every waking minute for the first 3 months of his life. We were tired, frustrated, and concerned for our son. We had no energy left for us. Once DS's reflux got under control and he was better, we were better. I also think I had PPD that I chose to ignore because I felt like a terrible mom.

    I have learned my lesson, my marriage and my family is too important, my pride is not. If I feel any symptoms of PPD I'm getting the help I need. And if this baby has reflux like DS I will be much more persistant with the pedi.

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  • Having a date night without baby has been huge for us. It may only happen once or twice a month, but it's huge. We try not to talk baby and get all fancied up and go out for awhile. Sometimes it is easy to forget you're a spouse and a parent, not just a parent. Also, teamwork on the house and baby has been big. We share duties 50/50 and it helps us remember we are a team, not provider and caregiver sharing a place, you know? It'll change, but being open and patient with each other will help it transition into a new normal that is still completely satisfying. Don't throw in the towel on each other and don't use the baby as ammo in fights. That's all I got right now.
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    BFP #1: 9-20-2010 EDD: 5-25-2011 DD #1 born: 5-23-2011
    BFP #2: 6-14-2012 EDD: 2-15-2013 MC: 6-19-2012 5w5d
    BFP #3: 7-18-2012 EDD: 3-26-2012

  • DH and I had more frequent little spats here and there for the first few months... After those first few months, and especially lately now that DD is walking, talking, and less physical work, we are super happy :). I think everybody handles stress and lack of sleep differently...just know things will get easier!  Oh and by the way DH wll not get jealous of the baby (unless he is immature), but there will be a unique undeniably different bond ou have w your LO!
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  • Unless I'm glorifying things, our relationship was pretty great post baby.  We're definitely more snippy towards each other now and a typical toddler doesn't help.

    As for video games, I wouldn't expect him to cut them out completely, but you need to talk and come to an agreement.  If he wants 3 uninterrupted hours, give them to him, but make sure you're getting something in return.  Girl night or getting a mani/pedi or even just getting your hair cut, haha.  DH (and me, to a lesser extent) were big WoW players pre baby but things definitely changed in that regard, and I don't regret it at all.  DH barely plays games anymore since he just doesn't have the time. 

    BFP(1) DD1 born 4.17.10 @ 33w5d due to pPROM
    BFP(4) DD2 born 2.14.13 @ 35w5d due to pPROM

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  • Personally, I think our relationship was better after DD. Seeing my DH interact with her melts my heart and makes me proud in a sense. Right off the bat, we didn't spend as much time together, but it got better as she grew. We still go on dates when we can afford it, we curl up and watch a show or play a game after DD is down for the night, and we talk about our days. We had an issue intimately because of cosleeping, but that's fixed now that DD has been sleeping on her own.
  • I can definitely add to this post with my experience...honestly I don't want to scare you but I wish I had asked the same question. Our marriage got worse after the baby, temporarily of course. Our relationship just became bitter and full of arguments. I was sleep-deprived and my husband was absolutely not helpful in that area. I also breast fed so he thought he didn't have anything to do. We also had a really tough infant. She would get up a zillion times a night and just took over my life completely. My husband wasn't a fan of the infant age and it affected me because I thought he would always be like this.

    We separated briefly at around 5 months post-partum. We needed time apart to reconsider things and thankfully we worked it out, but sometimes you don't know what to expect of your partner after a baby comes. Mind you, he was the one begging me to get pregnant before my first baby arrived so it was completely shocking for me to see him act this way with me. Thank god that's over and this time around he knows exactly what's coming and is completely supportive.

  • Another area to look out for is if you will be returning to work.  I was able to have a long maternity leave (4 months) and during that time, I shouldered most of the responsibility for DS--obviously, because I was at home with him.  Once I returned to work, I wish I would have done a better job at vocalizing that I needed more help with balancing things. 

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  • The hardest part for us was the sleeplessness.  I would get cranky from lack of sleep and feel resentful of him that I had to get up and feed in the middle of the night while he slept.  Another thing that I would've done differently- I would let DH do a lot more.  I felt like I had more baby experience and I just, for whatever reason, took the reins on almost everything.  That didn't give him the chance to help me and then I think I felt bitter that I had to do everything!  Definitely talk to him about how you're feeling from now all the way through.  Maybe decide ahead of time who is going to do what- especially middle of the night things, so there are known expectations.  Even if he doesn't do things perfect, let him help!
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  • DD really brought us closer after a few bumps, she was a surprise as we had been dating over a year and talking futures but not to that point, so she just sped things up. After she arrived, I stayed home the typical 3 months and towards the end got really lonely- DH was finishing up a huge project at work and I felt really isolated. He would come home and wanted to make sure he got his time with her since he felt guilty being gone 12ish hours during the week. It took a post-natal breakdown on my part one night to realize we needed to make sure we continued to focus on our marriage, not just DD (and DH was the one to point it out, made me cry even more). From then on out, we made it a point to have date times- (not just nights, whenever a family member could help out) to spend some time alone and put the focus on us. Even though we spent the whole time talking about DD, it was nice to have that time. 
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  • Before DS, I thought I would get up at night by myself since DH had to work and I was breastfeeding.  It just made sense to me.  Why should he have to get up if I was already getting up?  But after about a week of me doing everything at night, I starting feeling resentful of DH.  Of course it wasn't his fault because I didn't ask for help and had even told him he didn't need to get up.  One night after a particularly difficult breastfeeding session, I broke down hysterically and told him I couldn't do it and that I needed help.  He was great once we talked about what he could do to help.  He would get up and change the baby and then I would get up and feed him.  It's amazing how that extra five minutes helped me keep my sanity.  So, I agree with PP that's it's important to talk about roles now, but remember that you might change your mind about what you need after LO is born and just keep communicating.  Most times, with DH and I, we end up holding in our feelings until it becomes an argument, but after, we have a much better idea of each others expectations.  

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  • Hi, I don't post often bc as most of you are, I'm super busy with a toddler and work, but to be really honest, it was really hard. My DH and I had an almost perfect marriage pre-baby but the newborn stage is hard and the sleeplessness REALLY affected me like I never knew it would. I basically did everything while on my 3 month mat leave and I felt really really alone. It's not that he didn't offer, but I was exclusively BF-ing and let him sleep all night b/c he had to go to work.  But I honeslty felt like my work, being home with a newborn was MUCH harder. I resented a lot b/c I had no idea it would be hard on me. I literally thought it would be puppies and rainbows. And besides having the best gift int he whole world, a healthy baby, I was PPD-ing pretty bad.

    What finally helped was honestly me going back to work and interacting with adults. Plus, we then shared all of the responsibilies and it felt more like teamwork. I think I just wish I bad been more open minded about the give and take of having a baby and a husband. Now that our DD is older and walking and whatnot, it's so much fun and we cherish every single day. We still bicker over stupid things but we've come SO FAR! I think it helped knowing how strong our marriage was pre- baby. We knw it wouldn't last forever.  This time, I feel so much more prepared and will be more open minded.

     Just make sure you go into it knowing it's not going to be easy.  Talk to each other and communicate openly. BEST OF LUCK!! :)

    BFP May 2010 - July 6th no HB at 8 wks
    D&C July 9, 2010
    BFP December 2010! Best Christmas Gift EVER!
    Baby Girl Born August 19, 2011 and she is PERFECT!!!

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