So I read a little about it in the “What to Expect” type books. I read about it in magazines and motherhood and parenting blogs. But I wasn’t quite prepared for the reality of what I call the “post-baby funk” stage of marriage.
Bringing a baby home for the first time was hard. The first few months were so hard. We had no idea how to be parents, no idea what we were doing, or if we were even doing anything right or not. We were together in our love for this tiny new person and our mutual exhaustion.
I figured that after we settled in and got comfortable that some things would go back to normal, or close to it. Now it has been a year and it is still hard, just a different hard. We are still trying to navigate the parenting waters and our roles as man and wife in an ever-evolving situation.
Sometimes it is easy to ruffle each others’ feathers, when we used to rarely do that. I still get up multiple times a night with the baby. He tries to get up and calm her when she cries, but she always wants Mom and gets more upset. I can’t help but be frustrated that after a year I still have to get up so many times and can’t sleep much more than an hour at a time, although I know it is not his fault and it is not her fault. I recently got jealous that he sometimes gets to go out at night and have an occasional beer with his friends or coworkers. It sometimes seems like they spend more quality time with him than I do. When I fessed up to being jealous about this, he said it wasn’t true and I think I made him upset, but it does seem like that sometimes.
Our time together when not with Abby is always during her short nap times or at night after she has gone to bed. This means that by the time she’s gone to bed I can barely keep my eyes open and am ready to go to bed myself, so watching an hour long TV show or a movie together is often out of the question. Sometimes he’s napping on the couch so he can have enough energy to go down to his office and work or spend time on his hobbies before he comes to bed a few hours later, so I will just go ahead and go to bed. Even if we do spend time together it is often interrupted by the baby. At night if I want to do something for me, like if want to read, exercise, catch up on housekeeping, paint, or blog, then we definitely don’t get any time together. But trying to stay awake to do so is difficult.
Sex is something that causes friction, as well. I am rarely in the mood anymore. Maybe it’s hormones from breastfeeding, the lack of sleep, the stress of work, parenting, taking care of household chores, and other things. Some of it is that I’ve been a little depressed lately and look to comfort foods to make myself feel better, which has caused me to gain weight and feel unattractive and not at all like taking my clothes off. I discussed my lack of libido with my OB/GYN but was told there is nothing she can do to help.
I think like most new parents there is always the lingering issue of finances. Paying for a mortgage, utilities, gas, groceries, and daycare leaves little extra and with my student loans and medical bills I can’t contribute as much as I would like or feel like I should. I think this puts pressure on him and he feels like he always has to do more to provide for us, and this makes me feel bad as if I am failing.
Now that I am a mom my whole life has changed. When you are pregnant everyone always says, “Everything is different after you have a baby!” and I always thought, no duh, but I didn’t realize that it would be so hard to reconcile the new me and the old me. My old go-to stress reliever was always exercise: I enjoyed taking long, rambling six mile walks. Now I barely have time to get in a thirty minute exercise video without interruption, and it is not the same. I devoured book after book, now, sadly I have been reading the same book for six months. I used to spend so much time with writing, sewing, painting, and other things, but now it is confined to the time on weekends when my husband will graciously take Abby out to Home Depot or the mall so I can have some time alone. I never knew that it would be so artistically unfulfilling and stressful to not have that creative outlet available.
Things change, quicker than we realize. Life will keep on moving and these things will get easier or we will adapt to them and other things will be hard; that’s the way life is. I love my husband so incredibly much. He means the world to me and I try to show him daily, with little things, like leaving him a note or sending a text, rubbing his back, or making scrambled eggs the way he prefers. I know that he loves me and supports me and always will. I know that this is just a short time in our lives that won’t last forever. I am glad we are going through it together.