My Marriage changed after My Daughter was Born

Having children makes you see the world in a completely different way. When you’re responsible for those little lives, you can’t slough it off or forget about it until later.Linda Ronstadt

We had heard that starting a family and raising children is an experience that is like none other. Both – my husband and I have siblings and we saw our parents bring us up with ‘relative ease’, or so we believed.  We could raise one child well and it would not change anything – we couldn’t have been more wrong! Before writing this article, I asked my husband how our marriage had changed post our daughter and to my surprise, he said “it hasn’t” but I strongly believe he did not really mean that. The birth of our daughter has been a magical and life changing experience and journey and most definitely has shaped our marriage and altered our relationship – it’s certain not the same (men prefer to remain blissfully ignorant when it comes to discussing relationships).

 

While I was carrying her, we were trying to learn how best to bring her up, what changes would be required, the extra finances and a host of other thoughts began to occupy our minds and time. The first sign of change. Before that it was all about us – attending office, going out for meals and movies, taking impromptu holidays, sleeping late at night and waking up when we pleased and whole gamut of ‘us’ things. Our baby arrived three days before her due date and suddenly we became ‘parents’. Everything changed – it was 24X7 about the baby – caring for her every little need, looking at her with rapt attention such that we didn’t miss an ‘expression’ or any toothless grin. She was the most beautiful creation we had laid eyes on – her vulnerability and uncoordinated movements became our life. This rapture and excitement came with company – stress, sleepless nights and conflicts in our marriage. Domestic chores doubled, dirty laundry seemed to have increased innumerable times and all household tasks seemed loathsome.

Our ‘us’ lives became rushed – everything had to be done as of hours back and the baby of course required constant attention. Bathing schedules, changing, feeding, washing, burping, feeding….. whew – just thinking about it is tiring me out even now. Given that the work increased, the tug-of-war began and so did the score keeping – my husband would count what he did and I would do and it became more of war. This constant nagging and ‘keeping score of chores’ built some resentment and tension between us and we soon realized that we had to stop. It just required some patience and proper planning – we would switch tasks and be responsible for a different set each week. We would get tired but at least we weren’t trying to tear each other’s hair out!

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The other thing we realized was that our parenting styles were poles apart. For me it was music when she would drum on the furniture or vessels with anything that she could grasp on to but for him it was a no-no.  When she would cry or fuss, his first instinct would be to pick her up and cuddle, whereas I believed that all she needed was someone to ‘talk’ to her, just some attention. This would often turn into a battle of the wits, with each one trying to prove the other wrong. Demented styles of parenting. We then decided that we should read up and do some more research – and soon figured out that each parent could be right. Of course, it is true that mothers have a better inkling and intuition for the baby than the father 🙂 .

 

Be ready to switch couple time to family time. We were together more often but there was no lone time. Any time we had ‘alone’ would be when she was fast asleep, but the little one’s sleeping time was when we too had to catch up on our sleep – so really it was time for ourselves individually.

 

The most dreaded is perhaps the issue of money. I was used to working and earning enough and then suddenly I was on a break. It was hard not to be earning and even worse was we felt we never had enough for her and it began to stress us out. It was getting harder until we decided to step back and take a good look at what we had, what we require and what we could need. By rationalizing and ‘rationing’ on certain extravagances like ordering food from expensive restaurants or buying stuff from high end places. We realized that we could still eat good food and buy good stuff without the wasteful spending.

 

The marriage does change, but working on the relationship is extremely crucial too. It saves the couple unnecessary stress, prevents resentment and bitterness from setting in and affords time to the ‘new parents’ to actually enjoy the presence of the one they have been blessed with.  We were not perfect (and we still are not J), we just became parents, not different people. We love each other and our daughter. We know that we have been able to teach her the values of a family – I think we have done alright!

Click here to know how this woman’s husband changed after their child was born…

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