Having a baby changes a couple’s dynamics in all kinds of ways. There are some aspects of this change that you anticipated and others that never crossed your mind. Some you came across during all the google-ing you did during pregnancy, others that you only find out when the baby wants to play after a 4am diaper change and neither of you can keep your eyes open.
In all of the hoopla that surrounds the family in those first few weeks, it is easy to lose touch with your spouse. You may be physically present in each other’s company all the time but may be emotionally unavailable. If you’re not even living in the same house in those initial weeks, it gets even more difficult to relate to the drastic changes happening in each other’s lives. Between the nursing sessions and diaper changes, it is essential to make note of the disconnect that starts manifesting between partners. Given the whirlpool of fresh responsibilities that come packaged with your little one, this disconnect either goes unnoticed or is deemed unavoidable.
The one thing I’ve used as a rule of thumb in my very short span of parenting stint is that a couple’s relationship shouldn’t reduce to the baby and the baby alone after taking on the role of parents. It is absolutely imperative to gradually start having your own adult time and go back to doing things you did together before the little tornado turned your lives around. It may be a couple of hours on a good day or even fifteen minutes on a rough day. While the baby is asleep or even when he’s busy nursing. It may involve watching your favourite tv show, listening to your happy music or just having a cup of hot beverage together. The point is to connect with your spouse and make sure both of you are on the same page with all the changes happening in your life. To laugh about the diaper disaster during the day that led to multiple clothing changes and to cry about putting the baby to bed for the umpteenth time, only to find him awake the next minute.
Raising a baby together holds amazing powers, it can bring two people together like nothing else can or it can rip the relationship apart and make it fall flat on its face. Amongst all the uncertainties that define life with a baby, especially for first time parents, the only thing that’s certain is that it requires effort to not let your relationship suffer. It won’t happen on its own. It demands immense emotional strength, patience and perseverance. You’ve got to be in it, heart and soul, otherwise you’re giving an 8 pound (+/- whatever you want) human the power to make you question your matrimonial choices.