I NEVER remember coming across a section in ANY book about ‘how to nurture a marriage with a baby!”
People are asking me “so what’s surprised you the most about being a new mom?” And there are a couple of things which have surprised me (which I’ll discuss one topic at a time) but nurturing a marriage is one that I’ve found to be incredibly hard…harder than I thought.
My body is squishy and sore and exhausted
I am attached to something pretty much all day long and I just want space.I’m trying to learn how to be a mom
I’m trying to let go of my life before a child, and it’s instantly changed and I’m finding it hard to navigate
I don’t know how best to parent, but I also don’t know how to give advice and support either
I’m so per-occupied and in love with my little baby
It is hard. I’m not bitching and moaning, I guess I’m just trying to keep it real. There were so many times when I realised, upon hindsight, that Andrew was struggling with things (bathing, settling, changing nappies, changing clothes, feeling comfortable in holding her) and although I wanted to be a supportive wife…the snarky, condescending, corrective woman came out in me.
It takes time to work through a marriage without a newborn. The roles which we had, the freedom which was had as individuals and as a couple were gone. I had a growing sense of resentment towards him because I felt ‘trapped’ with the baby while he got to go into town, do his own thing, because really when she was so little there wasn’t much else he could do.
I had to ask for help
I needed to be specific about what I needed. If that meant him taking a feed (we’re combi feeding, due to milk production issues), I needed to ask. I needed to support him in his bathing routine and stopping the criticism. I needed to be affectionate towards him, because we both needed it. We both needed to STOP, if even for five minutes to “connect.” Now he says to me “baby, connect, lets connect!” And although he’s slightly taking the piss out of my suggestion of connecting, it means something to both of us. And acknowledgement that we’re in this together.
I think there were times when I have grieved the ability to lay on the couch all night long and just be with him. Even if it meant me falling asleep. I missed HIM. I remember one night, during a feed, I said to him “I miss you!”
But then you start to harvest a new crop in our life.
You start to navigate new roles a parents, together. You suck at it, then you realise that you have to just relax into it and open the flood-gates of communication. I think that communication is more profoundly important now that it’s ever been. I know it’s still early, but it really is something that has caught me off guard. It has opened up areas of our marriage which are so strong and areas which I think I’ve been more caustic in..due to me own insecurities, transgressions and need for control/perfection (yes, re-learning life lesson…just let it go!)
But we’re doing it.
And sometimes all I can muster out is “We’re doing this babe!” and we both smile.