I have a 6 month old beautiful little boy and he is the world to me. My husband and I have been married for nearly four years and before we had our son, my husband meant everything to me. Since our son was born, things have changed so much. I went through a really hard time with labor (24 hours) and had really bad baby blues afterwards. At this time, I still don’t feel as though I am completely back to my old self yet. I was so happy during my pregnancy and now I feel as though I am very demanding and easily irritated by the least little things. I work full time and I feel as though I don’t have enough time to spend with my son or my husband and time with my husband now just isn’t as wonderful as it used to be. It’s like we don’t have much to say or have much of a common ground now to talk about other than the baby. I really want to feel better about our relationship and our happiness but frankly it’s just not there like it was before. Our intimate relationship is ok but always planned due to baby. What should I do?”
The first year after a baby is born is without a doubt the most challenging time a couple can go through together. The physical effects of pregnancy and childbirth take a lot longer to recover from than most people expect, plus you’re probably both sleep-deprived, and it’s hard to even have 15 minutes to sit down and eat a meal at the same table, much less rediscover your common interests and rekindle any kind of passion. If it’s any consolation, what you’re going through is completely normal and common. No couple on earth with a new baby has the same kind of relationship as they did before. And if you spend 99 percent of your waking hours at work or with the baby, of course it’s going to be hard to find things to talk about besides work or the baby.
But it will get better! The key to getting through these challenging times is to work at remembering while you fell in love in the first place (a night away while the baby is with the grandparents can be a huge help), knowing that these exhausting times will pass, and at the same time giving up any expectation that things will ever be exactly like they were before.
That said, if you find yourself feeling irritable and demanding most of the time, it might be worthwhile to get at the cause. Sure, it could just be all of the demands being placed on you, plus the lack of sleep. But it could also be a sign that your depression has returned (being constantly irritable is a symptom), or that you’re simply trying to do too much and you need more help and/or support than you’re getting now.
Your relationship may be low on passion, but what you have is valuable too– you know that your husband is there for you even when things aren’t easy, even when you’re not entertaining him with witty conversation and even when you’re irritable and demanding. Passion may come and go, but his loyalty and willing to tough out the hard times is worth a lot, too.