When I was pregnant, no one prepared me for the massive shift about to take place in my relationship. I was over the moon about having a baby that I didn’t anticipate my partner and I raffling each other’s feathers more often than not.
And I find it strange that most people don’t mention what happens to a couple once they have a child. No one talks about the strain on a relationship when you have to take care of a tiny human, care for yourself and be present for your partner as well.
It’s a lot of work. And most of the time, your relationship will take a hit because you have to adjust to meeting the baby’s needs first before you think about yourself.
And honestly, after being awake most of the night with a baby and dealing with all sorts of aches and pains, it’s understandable that watching a movie with your spouse would be the last thing on your mind.
But does that mean that your marriage will suffer a slow death?
No! By educating yourself on the changes your relationship will face, it’s easy to get ahead of the situation and handle the inevitable better.
So, if you’re expectant or you’d love to have kids, think of this post as a magic weapon to help you avoid excess strain on your relationship.
And if you’re already married and have a baby, this post will help pinpoint the causes of your marital issues and provide a way forward.
It’s time to get this show on the road.
Here are 10 issues you’ll face in your relationship and how to fix it.
Problem 1: Limited time to be alone
One of the biggest challenges that couples face after having a baby is the lack of time to be alone. This is especially true if one or both partners are working full-time. With a little one always needing attention, it can be tough to find time for just the two of you.
One way to combat this is by scheduling regular date nights, even if it’s just for a few hours. If you have a babysitter, you can have them look after the baby while you’re away.
And if you’re like me, then I know you’ll have a tough time resisting the urge to call home and find out how they’re doing.
So instead of attempting to do the impossible. Pick up your phone and make that call. Not only will it put your nerves at ease, but it will help you focus on your partner and enjoy your time together.
Problem 2: Little to no intimacy
Another common challenge that couples face after having a baby is the lack of intimacy. This can be due to several factors, including fatigue and stress. And if this goes on for an extended period, it can lead to marital issues.
When you’re pregnant, you probably hyped yourself up that you’d never put your sex life on the back burner. But then you have a child, and you realize how ridiculously high your expectations on intimacy were.
Physical intimacy is something you’ll have to ease into. So don’t be surprised if you’re not having sex as often as you did before. The best way to avoid lack of sex being a monumental issue in your marriage is to schedule it into your weekly routine (make sure your Doctor clears you for sex before getting on the saddle!).
If you’ve never scheduled sex before, then at first, it might feel boring, weird, or a bit programmed. Isn’t sex meant to be spontaneous and natural? Yes, but it’s essential to be proactive and realistic when it comes to easing back into sex postpartum.
Creating a schedule creates excitement in your relationship as you have something great to look forward to, even if it’s only once a week.
So, go ahead, give your postpartum body some appreciation, and embrace some calender sex as you work your way (slowly) into a healthy sex life after having a baby.
Problem 3: You'll lose yourselves in your new roles
It’s easy to get lost in your roles after having a baby. Suddenly, you’re not just husband and wife anymore; you’re also mommy and daddy.
And while those are important roles, it’s important to remember that you’re still husband and wife first. Make time for each other, even if it’s just for a few minutes each day.
I know the feeling of exhaustion from taking care of a baby all day long. The last thing on your mind would be to cuddle up with your husband on the couch when he comes home from work, but it’s essential to try and do something you both love.
And if you can’t find the time or energy, at least talk to each other. Communication is vital in any relationship.
Problem 4: You'll become more distant
Why is my partner distant after having a baby?
If you’re guilty of typing the above question in Google, I totally understand what you’re going through right now. I’ve been there myself, and for the first months after having a baby, I felt like my partner was becoming more distant.
And now that I think about it, the leading cause was because we were focused 100% of the time on our newborn and didn’t have time for anything else or even each other. Being the lifeline of your child and trying your best not to mess up leaves no room to bond as much.
And once your husband goes back to work, work stress becomes another issue. He might be stressed with work, and instead of offloading all his problems on you, he prefers to be quiet and handle it himself. As for you, after a day of trying to survive the newborn phase, you might be too exhausted to initiate a conversation at the end of the day.
Before you know it, your relationship takes a significant hit, and you’re both feeling distant, neglected and left out.
So, what’s the solution here?
How do you stay emotionally closer to your spouse postpartum?
First and foremost, don’t offload on your husband the minute he opens the front door.
I know you want a break and probably vent a bit about your day, but it’s wise to give him some time to relax and catch his breath.
And most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask him about his day either. It’s crucial that you keep the lines of communication open and show him that you still care about him.
Problem 5: You'll feel resentful
Here’s another reality check for you. You might start to feel resentful towards your partner. You’ll start feeling like your spouse isn’t doing enough to help you take care of the baby.
You’re on a 24/7 motherhood shift while he can leave the house anytime he wants. This can lead to a lot of tension and arguments.
The best way to deal with this is by communicating with your partner about your feelings. I’m not talking about an on-surface conversation where you casually mention that you’re frustrated.
Nope! I’m referring to a heart-to-heart chat where you express how you feel and how you’d want him to help.
And since men don’t do well with hints. You have to spell out exactly how you’d want him to offer assistance.
Do you want him to do the dishes?
Would you prefer the handles bath time with the baby so that you can relax a bit?
Do you need him to stay home with the baby while you go out for lunch with your friends?
Or, would it help if he helps more with the night wakings?
Whatever it is you need help with, let him know.
Problem 6: The in-laws will be present a lot more
One of the nice things about having a newborn is having a tiny new member in the family. And the excitement of having a baby isn’t going to be yours alone. Your partner’s family will want to be around more to help take care of the baby.
But here’s the problem, if your in-laws are clueless about boundaries, they might start to interfere more in your life, with unsolicited advice about your parenting choices or even your relationship.
The best way to handle this is by sitting down with your significant other and having a discussion about it. Let him know how you’re feeling and ask him how he thinks about it.
If his family is getting too involved, let him know that you need some boundaries. It’s always great for you and your partner to have a united front when dealing with the in-laws as it helps avoid resentment or, worse, a full-on family fallout.
Problem 7: You'll be more irritable
Postpartum hormones are no joke, and the same thing can happen after you have a baby. You might be more irritable than usual and snapping at your partner for no reason.
The best way to deal with this is by talking to him about it. Let him know that you’re feeling overwhelmed and that your hormones are getting the best of you.
He might not understand it, but at least he’ll be aware of why you’re reacting the way you are.
Problem 8: Money becomes a big issue
When you have a baby, money becomes a big issue. You now have to think about diapers, wipes, formula, clothes, and all the other things that come with having a child.
Your partner might start to feel the pressure to provide more, and you might start feeling like you’re not contributing enough.
The best way to deal with this is by sitting down together and creating a budget. Decide how much you want to spend on the baby each month and what you can do without.
It’s not going to be easy, but it’s doable if you both put your minds to it.
Problem 9: You might have conflicting parenting styles
Now, this doesn’t mean that you’re going to fight all the time about how to raise your child.
But, there’s a good chance that you’ll have different parenting styles. One of you might be more laid-back, while the other is stricter.
The solution here is to talk about your conflicting parenting choices. Let your partner know how you want to raise your child and why.
And be willing to listen to his point of view as well. You might not agree with everything he has to say, but it’s vital that you hear him out.
Problem 10: Your partner might not fit all your expectations
Before you become a mum, you had an idea of the kind of parent you’d love to be to your child. And I bet you also had a rough idea of the kind of father you’d want for your kid.
Unfortunately, once you have a child, you’ll realize that your partner might not fit in your “best father of the year” box. He might not instantly bond or have a connection with the baby as you thought he would, or he might not be overly excited about being a father as you’d imagined he would be.
While you enjoy motherhood in all its glory, your spouse might find the early weeks or months of parenthood to be boring.
And so, you start feeling disappointed and highly judgmental towards your husband. You start asking yourself questions like:
“Why won’t he glide effortlessly through fatherhood, as most dads do?”
“Is there something wrong with him?”
“Does he even want to be a father?”
But here's the kicker.
Your spouse can be a great dad even if he doesn’t check all the boxes in your head. Yes! Adjusting into being a father takes time for some people, and it’s important to let your partner find his own rhythm into fatherhood.
But that doesn’t mean you should be quiet and watch your partner become a crappy father. Absolutely not! The best way to deal with this is by communicating. Let him know what you’re expecting from him and be willing to listen to his expectations.
And, most importantly, remember that it’s okay for him to disagree with you on some issues. The point is for both of you to be mindful of each other’s feelings and vulnerability even as you work towards empowering him into his new role as a dad.
10 Relationship Issues You'll Face After Having a Baby - and How to Save Your Relationship
Why has my relationship changed after having a baby?
You’re not the only one who has been on Google at 2AM trying to find answers on the sudden shift in their relationship postpartum. I’ve been there.
I know the feeling of going through ebbs and flows in your relationship after having a baby. The shift from a couple to new parents can be challenging for anyone. And it’s important to know you’re not alone.
The good thing is that with some effort and communication, you can reorient your relationship after parenthood and sprinkle some love and affection on it.
I’d love to know how you’ve overcome problems in your relationships.
Which of the above 10 relationship issues are you currently experiencing?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Thank you for reading.