What No One Tells You About Having a Baby
I had this revelation while rocking my daughter to sleep the other night. I was singing "Bah Bah Blacksheep" for the tenth time and wiping tears from my eyes. I finally put my daughter in her crib and walked out of her room. Normally I go downstairs and eat dinner with my husband, but instead I sat down in the hallway outside her room and cried.
This is not what I envisioned. The sleepless nights, the constant worry, the tears upon tears of stress and frustration. See, no one told me the effect a baby would have on my marriage.
Sure, everyone tells you how it will change you, how you will never sleep again, how your body will never quite feel the same. But no one prepares you for the immense change that happens with your relationship with your spouse.
Marriage is hard enough for two people when its just two, but add in a third helpless human and sh!t gets real.
Gone are the date nights, the late nights watching TV or cuddling on the couch, the grown up conversation, heck gone is sex. Your days are now filled with the daily poop report, cleaning up messes, doing laundry, running from place to place, whining, and the constant iterations of "no." There are days when I get into bed and realize I haven't asked my husband how his day was, let alone hugged or kissed him.
But the tears, the tears comes from the fact that no one told me how to help my husband. No one prepares you for when the love of your life isn't loving fatherhood. There is no class for the depression and frustration he feels from becoming second in your life. There are no magic words to tell him that will aid him in this transition from man to father. A transition that does not come as naturally as motherhood does of me. See, I had nine months of carrying life within me to bond and prepare myself. He, well, he had nine months of trying to make me comfortable or trying to understand what it felt like and nine months of fear.
It pains me to watch him struggle. It breaks my heart when I can see him not understanding the trials and tribulations of having a toddler. I am left with nothing but tears when he tells me he is unhappy.
See, I was prepared for the sleepless nights, the endless worry, and constant whining that comes with raising a baby, but I was not prepared for dealing with my husband's struggle.
I know that our marriage will never be like it was before, but I just want to know how or what to say to help it have some resemblance to before baby. I want the right words to say to him when he's feeling defeated, unloved, or unappreciated. I want him to understand that each phase our daughter goes through is temporary. That she requires patience because she truly doesn't know a lot yet. That the whining is just her way to communicate and it will someday end. But most of all, I just want him to be happy.
So, here I am telling you that your marriage will change after you have a baby. Your husband will change. His experience into fatherhood will be so different from your journey in motherhood. You serve different roles and think, act and feel differently. Although I do not have the magic words to give you to tell hm when he is feeling left out, unwanted or unappreciated, I can tell you this: he needs you.
He needs you to tell him he's doing ok. He needs you to hold his hand, kiss him goodnight, and to put on real clothes. And let him help. He may not do it right (or how you would do it), but he wants to help you. And if he experiences depression tell him its ok and let him know its normal. He is not the first new father who doesn't think its the best thing that has ever happened to him.
And those of you with this husband, you are not alone.