Marriage & Babies

While I try to get back into a routine after having Baby Anneli {and deal with mastitis... so fun...} I have some really amazing friends who will be helping out with the blog. Be sure to check out their blogs and show them a little love for doing this big favor for me. 

Today, Alexis from Alexis Laughs is sharing her very real and uplifting story of how life after baby isn't always a fairy tale. Having dealt with my own post-partum depression and hormone-induced relationship struggles after Elijah was born, I can relate to much of this post and really appreciate when people talk openly about their own experiences. I think that, having personally experienced this or not, this post is powerful for all people to read to help them understand what their friends and loved ones might be going through. 

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I had heard a lot of people talk about having their first baby really strengthened their relationship with their spouse. Since my husband and I had a pretty fantastic relationship to begin with, I was excited for this aspect of having our first child.

See, aren't we so cute!

Just about everything about the process of bringing our sweet girl into this world did not go as planned.

(this was after she was born and after they had stitched me up and all that jazz. I was in so much pain I could not even move my arms to hold her. It's not a pretty picture, but reality isn't always pretty people!)

 I had a very difficult pregnancy, a traumatic delivery, and postpartum recovery wasn't so hot either. I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression at my six week check up with my doctor. In addition to all of that stress, I had a family emergency going on and Clint was in his last semester of school; he was trying to balance work, school, internship, senior design project (he's an engineer), church responsibilities, family responsibilities, etc. 
As a result, he wasn't around as much as we both would have liked.

I grew to resent him, maybe in part because in the midst of all those sleepless nights I could hear him snoring!
 With everything going on, I felt so alone.

Borderline: Having our first baby didn't strengthen our marriage. 
It made it a lot, a lot, a lot harder!

I don't tell you this to scare you, but to prepare what reality is for so many people! Not a lot of people talk about things like this because they're difficult, but that's why it's so important to talk about them. Don't you find so much comfort knowing you're not the only one who struggles with something? It's very typical to have some turmoil between spouses, especially in those first few months following the birth of a child. But it's normal. It happens. It's part of life. I have a friend who says that her and her husband are both prepared that the first three-ish months post-baby will probably not be harmonious between them. I think it's so smart to plan. When you're prepared for that, you approach the situation differently because you know it can be temporary. 

Hormones were a huge contributor to the difficulty in my marriage. Another big thing that's important to recognize is that the kind love for your child and love for your husband aren't the same. They don't come in the same way. It's a whole different package. The love you have for your child is instant and comes naturally. They are a piece of you. I remember just staring at my daughter and sobbing because I didn't know what to do with such strong feelings of love! You have instincts to love and protect your children. It's easy to shift our love to our child, or focus more on our child than on our marriage. 

However, I've learned in these last eighteen months of being a mother that loving my husband and being quick to forgive him is one of the best things I can do for my child. She deserves to be brought up in a kind, loving home with parents who show her a good example of the blessing of marriage. I want her to feel that her home is a sanctuary and not a place of tension. It's hard, but it's attainable.


Having our first baby didn't make our marriage into a fairy tale. It made it a whole lot more work; but you know what? We made it! And we are all better because of it. Our relationship is stronger, our love is deeper.

So, if you have your first baby and you think your marriage is going to hell in a hand basket, hang in there. With the appropriate amount of love, respect, and forgiveness, it can be all kinds of amazing.

4 comments:

Kassie R said...

Amen. Seriously, babies can make you feel like you want to strangle your spouse ha ha. We had a really hard time, but we are stronger because of it! Great post!

Katie said...

Alexis is awesome!

I remember during one particularly sleepless night, I looked over at Tim, sleeping soundly, and wanted to punch him in the face. Thankfully, I restrained myself ;) (That would have been a rude awakening!)

Elizabeth Kelsey said...

I had PPD too. So sorry you went through it! Happy to have found your blog, heading on over to read more about you and your family!

Sharlee said...

Just stopping by for the first time and I'm glad I read this post. The sleeping husband thing is something people warned me would set me off but I was certain that we would be different.. We would split parenting responsibilities equally. Not true. I am not sure it's actually even possible but my daughter is 6 months old and I think I am still fighting our situation because it's not how I expected it to be.