*In this post I am going to be honest and open about my marriage after baby. In no way am I trying to shame my husband. Instead, I hope that by being transparent, you will be encouraged in your marriages and not feel alone. I hope this post feels like a big hug from me to you.
When describing their partner, many mamas in my childbirth classes refer to their husbands as “their rock”. I sometimes have the ladies prepare a really sweet presentation and choose objects that represent themselves, their partner and their baby.
The objects representing their partners are always strong and full of love.
I have never been able to find an object, while I was pregnant, that represented my husband. I kept looking for objects that represented how I wanted him to be, but not how he actually was.
I always felt like he should be the rock in our relationship, but honestly, he was not.
I am the rock.
Which makes things complicated when we have a new baby.
Marriage After Baby
I, the rock in our family, am not able to continue in my usual role. I can’t keep up the rhythm of our home because I am completely consumed with the new baby and recovering from pregnancy and birth (as I should be).
I cannot continue to cook meals, pick up around the house, wash dishes, remember what bills need to be paid, make sure the big kids’ teeth are brushed correctly, remember what’s on our calendar, keep the laundry going, trim their nails, and have the right pjs on (because it was summer and footed pjs were too hot at night).
During the first six weeks, a lot of these tasks get pushed to Matt… Or they don’t get done.
But here’s the thing, my husband gets stressed out easily. He and stress do not get along. He likes things straightforward, simple and to the point. Weeeellll, having children is stressful, not straightforward or simple and definitely not to the point.
Also, he has tourettes. The more stress you have the more tourettes you have. The more tourettes you have, the more stress you have.
So yeah, he was stressed out.
And all the things that I normally do, things that make me “the rock”? They didn’t get done.
My house was cluttered (which is a stress trigger for me) but instead of him picking stuff up, I would find him watching a movie “trying to relax”.
I would get irritated because he wasn’t helping me exactly how I needed it and he would get irritated with me because his best wasn’t good enough for me. Irritation turned to frustration. Which turned into anger. Which turned into bitterness.
I would shut down. He would lash out.
Having children with my husband, especially in the first six weeks, to say the least, has been extremely stressful.
My expectations of him were so high. There was no way he could have met them. But at the same time, if he couldn’t keep things going and I couldn’t keep things going, things, aka shit, was hitting the fan.
I had many thoughts…
“What in the world was I thinking marrying him?”
“This is not working at all.”
“There’s no way our marriage is going to survive this.”
“He is not the dad I thought he would be.”
Meanwhile, I saw so many mamas posting on social media that they were more in love than ever with their spouses and this little newborn has brought them closer than ever.
What was wrong with our marriage? What was wrong with HIM? What was wrong with ME for choosing someone that couldn’t handle the newborn/postpartum period?
I felt so lonely.
I felt abandoned.
And feeling abandoned is a HUGE trigger for me. My little orphan child in me reared her head and started talking.
“Nobody loves me.”
“I am utterly alone.”
“I don’t matter.”
It felt so heavy. So depressing. And in the middle of it, I felt like there was no way out and that things will would never change.
After having my second child, I remember getting so frustrated with him. But then my mom, who was there with us, came to his defense and told me that he was doing the best he could. And that statement really helped me to see him with new eyes.
Maybe he was doing his best. Maybe he really was. Maybe he was really doing the best he possibly could.
And I believe he was. Or maybe I had to believe he was. Because if he wasn’t, and here I was suffering… how could we ever move past that?
Another time we were out to eat with some friends of ours (3-4 weeks postpartum) and Matt, off the cuff, jokingly said something about how I couldn’t handle the kids we had so we should definitely not have more. I got so upset with him! I felt like I was busting my butt working so hard to “keep it all together” and here he was telling me I was failing at it.
Or at least that’s what I heard him say.
At the time, in the moment, I couldn’t imagine how I could ever stay married to someone so insensitive. I thought our marriage would never survive.
Well guess what?
Here I am, almost six months later and well, things are insanely better. Oh my gosh. My relationship with my husband is not perfect, at all… let me tell you, but I am no longer in that survival mode. That desperate, lonely, abandoned place I seem to end up every time I have a baby.
Things are better. I’m back in my role of “the rock”. My expectations of my husband are more reasonable now. Matt is less stressed.
Things seemed like they were impossible and irreparable, but somehow, we made it.
Here’s how I did it:
My faith, and nothing else, sustained me.
And I’m not trying to sound cliché at all, because I realize how that might come across, but in those early weeks when I felt so desperate, so alone… my faith is what pushed me forward.
I had nothing else to lean on.
Here are some bible verses for new moms that I read, over and over again (because they were plastered on chalkboard in my bedroom in front of my face) that helped me through.
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23
“Be Brave. Do not pray for the hard thing to go away, but pray for a bravery to come that’s bigger than the hard thing.”
My Life Verse
And here is one of the most meaningful verses for me, especially for my marriage after baby.
“Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
If you are weeping please hear me out.
What you are going through is temporary.
It might not feel that way, and it may take time for things to change, but I promise your situation, your weeping, will end.
The sun will rise. And you will once again be filled with joy.
PS – Because I think this needs to be said and because I know some of you reading this might be in a tighter spot than what I wrote about above… If you are in an abusive relationship (or think you might be), please reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. You’re not alone and there are people waiting to help you out.
PPS – If you want to read more about my marriage here’s another post I wrote a few years back.