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Did anyone elses marriage go down the craphole when they had a child?

(51 Posts)
FeelLikeTweedleDee Sat 18-Dec-10 17:57:02

Just wondering whether anyone else had their marriage turn sour after having a child? Constant arguments, no sex, no fun, doing things seperately, etc.

Suppose I'm seeking some reassurance.

My DD is 5 months.

MegBusset Sat 18-Dec-10 17:58:39

Oh yes, the first year is v tough on relationships. Do you get to spend any time together without the baby, go out for dinner etc?

dinkystinky Sat 18-Dec-10 17:58:47

I'd say most people's relationships go through a period of adjustment after having a child - ours certainly did after having DS1, and again after having DS2. Its a big challenge, you're both tired, feeling unappreciated etc - the best thing you can do is talk to each other, try to appreciate each other and work through it. It does get better - and easier - being a family and making you time, couple time and family time work.

MegBusset Sat 18-Dec-10 18:05:48

Some good rules:

- No competitive tiredness
- Make sure DP/H pulls his weight re: housework
- Night out together and try not to talk about the baby
- Keep intimacy with cuddles, massage etc even if you're not ready for sex
- Be polite to each other, if you struggle with this imagine he is a work colleague
- Anything said at 3am gets struck from the record
- Remember you made a baby together because you love each other (hopefully!)

Nagoo Sat 18-Dec-10 18:15:22

For us the sleep deprivation and lack of social life hit us a bit, but we worked on it, started seeing friends at our homes etc and we made sure to give each other a lie in.

It got better, you can adjust.

Also I found it hard to watch him do any childcare or domestic task, as he does them all wrong. So I go out of the room rather than criticise with my eyes

sethstarofbethlehemsmum Sat 18-Dec-10 18:21:34

it is very normal. you have to work at it. it gets easier.

MiasMARY Sat 18-Dec-10 18:22:22

Yes. It was. Difficult year. I think there were point when we were both miserable.

Dc1 is almost 6 and dc2 almost 2 and we've been married 6 months so it doesn't have to be the end.

The first year is really shitty though

FeelLikeTweedleDee Sat 18-Dec-10 18:23:05

Meg - no time to be alone because I'm EBF and can't express much. Besides bottles of EBM in the past have caused DD to become lazy on the breast and her weight suffered.

dinky and nagoo - how long does the period of adjustment last?

My DH and I have constant arguments about who has it the hardest. Please someone tell me how a dad would have it harder than a mum when a baby is introduced to the family? Baring in mind EBFing. I invite someone to play devils advocate here.

LadyintheRadiator Sat 18-Dec-10 18:27:05

Oh god yes. I'd have quite happily killed DP with a look for the first year really. Which is a bit sad and it needn't have been quite so severe - my advice echoes the above really, do whatever you can in order to spend time together. Don't just talk about your DD. IMO it can be partic hard if you both previously worked, and then you are at home. Suddenly your world completely shrinks. I had very little interest in - well, anything, for such a long time. Didn't read a newspaper etc. When before we would spend all evening poring over the papers and talking. Such a huge adjustment.

But the little things can make a big difference - is there anyone who can babysit while you have dinner or even just lunch together? Put a film on when DD is in bed. Agree with Meg completely re intimacy. Did not have sex for a v long time after DS which in itself is not a problem but I froze up completely. Life was much nicer once we just started having some physical contact, a hug! and then making more of an effort to kiss, then somewhere down the line you realise you might actually feel like having sex again.

It's not forever and please be assured that if you have a DC2 it might not be the same story - our DD is 9 weeks and it couldn't be more different to the first time around.

Talk as much as you can and listen even more. Remember why you love each other. Etc. Bit cliched maybe but it can be easy to forget.

paarrp Sat 18-Dec-10 18:32:25

stop arguing about who has it hardest - you will both be finding it hard in difficult ways.

the first year is bloody hard - and any small crack or flaw in your relationship will become magnified once a baby is born

agree with everything above - especially remember why you love each other - sometimes you just need to focus on this

MegBusset Sat 18-Dec-10 18:32:53

Both mine were ebf (no bottles) but still managed to go out - get babysitter, feed baby, run like the clappers to local pub, have a drink or two then home for next feed.

LadyintheRadiator Sat 18-Dec-10 18:33:28

X-posted with you. I was EBF too and tbh at 5 months we hadn't spent any time alone together. Perhaps once weaning is well underway you could do a long lunch in a cafe, I found that easier than an evening as DS cluster fed for months and months...

Can you have a talk about what you each find hard - and try and be positive, so discuss what you can do to make the things that are bothering you both easier? I think my DP found the weight of responsibility very hard and also the financial burden at first, to go from me earning to not, he is self-employed, so not even like he could just coast or switch off on tired days, his earnings are completely dictated by how hard he works. But he got used to that in time. But I envied that in a way because to me it meant he had a feeling of being important where I was 'just' at home all day. Yet to him that meant to our DS I was the world and he felt THAT was more worthy, IYKWIM.

So basically it is not really that one job is harder and arguing the toss doesn't get you anywhere - if he says 'yes, fine, your life is harder than mine' what does this achieve? FWIW three years on my DP totally thinks I have it harder than him. So time gives perspective too.

I imagine you've tried or considered it but at 5 months might a cup be worth a go with EBM to avoid the lazy sucking issue? Not that I ever nailed it though... tis hard. I think it's no coincidence that my relationship improved when I stopped daytime feeds at 12 months.

paarrp Sat 18-Dec-10 18:34:52

*different ways - not difficult ways

NellyTheElephant Sat 18-Dec-10 18:37:07

I think that you have to stop the who has it hardest arguments, they are utterly pointless and destructive. If you win the argument - do you win the war? No - he'll just be even more grumpy!! It is really really tough on you both when you have a baby. I remember being utterly beastly to my DH I just felt so angry with him (I was bf and felt I was doing everything and he didn't help enough etc etc), looking back, probably I was right that I was doing more than him and it was harder on me, but that's not exactly the point. Psychologically he had a really tough time adjusting and also was a bit rabbit frozen in the headlights about it all. What helped was not just being angry per se, or comparing who has it hardest but asking him to do specific things to help me, then saying thank you (and telling myself to really mean the thank you and not say it through gritted teeth whilst thinking well he should have just done that anyway without me having to ask) and bit by bit it all improved and he started taking over and 'owning' certain tasks that I had asked him to do enough times! We have 3 now, youngest 20 months, we're very happy (although I still get sneakily grumpy that he doesn't help enough and then pack him off upstairs to do bath time on his own, which is why I am now on the computer).

Try a book called 'Babyproofing your marriage' - check Amazon, some of it is quite silly / funny which sort of cheered me up and there are a few helpful tips.

dinkystinky Sat 18-Dec-10 18:38:21

Both mine were ebf too - refused to take a bottle until around 7 months old when I went to work. Remember that things got better when DS1 was 8 months old and with DS2 when he was 4 months old - that was when we discovered that talking to each other, appreciating that we each found things hard, for different reasons, was taking its toll on each other, appreciating all the stuff that each of us did do - helped a hell of a lot, as did trying to make some time (couple of hours here and there, easier as baby got older and stretched periods between feeds) for us as a couple without kids.

FeelLikeTweedleDee Sat 18-Dec-10 19:19:12

Meg - love your idea We're going to do it tomorrow. Drop DD off at mums then go to the local pub for an hour.

FeelLikeTweedleDee Sat 18-Dec-10 19:27:33

LadyintheRadiator - can you tell me how breastfeeding changes from 6 months onwards? I've never done this before. In what ways does it get easier/harder as time goes on? When are feeds dropped?

paarrp Sat 18-Dec-10 19:34:22

I bf for a year - once your baby is weaned you can drop the lunch time feed and the tea time feed.

IIRC my dc's days went roughly like this:

Bf and breakfast
mid morning bf
lunch
afternoon bf
tea
bedtime bf

Both of mine refused a bottle as well.
You can also give snacks during the day so your baby isn't so reliant on you for bm - which means you could, in theory have a whole afternoon out!

jinglebellssantasmells Sat 18-Dec-10 19:34:39

DEF YES, my DD is 20 months and unfortunately my and my DP are still having problems its like weve lost r connexion, intamacy and everything sex has become rare and boring when we do we have spent the day argueing agen, im pg and feeling very lonely and emotional at the mo and he just doesnt seem to get it, i feel like i have lost touch with reality i used to have a lot of work friends and now know hardly any mums to chat with or meet in the day. It is a very hard adjustment and i hope u guys manage to get it sorted quicker than we have unfortunatley no words of advice as i havnt figured it out yet but u do let me know grin please be assured tho that your not alone

paarrp Sat 18-Dec-10 19:37:08

Depends on whether you bf on demand - I didn't once dc's were about 4 months - they both thrived on having regular bf's and I felt happier with some type of 'routine'.

You can also give water during the day when they are fully weaned.

NormaSknockers Sat 18-Dec-10 19:42:48

Oh absolutely. The first year was very hard, I had PND which didn't help matters. I even tried to sling DH out at one point, thankfully he ignored me, we've since had another baby and although we did go through a diffcicult time again after DS's birth we're now probably the closest we have ever been and I finally feel like we're us again.

It's hard work but you just have to keep going, it will get easier I promise.

FeelLikeTweedleDee Sat 18-Dec-10 19:58:49

'Babyproofing your marriage' - I actually read this book when I was pregnant. Personally the chapter on sex turned me off the entire book. The 50s view in that chapter made me shock then [hmmm]

angel1976 Sat 18-Dec-10 20:28:57

No one can quite prepare you for that first year. Also, because it is your first, you really can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. The sleep deprivation, the on demand feeding, the not-knowing-if-you-are-coming-or-going chaos... It just seemed endless! When you have your second, it's hard in different ways but at least, both DH and I knew what to expect so it wasn't quite that much of a shock.

Your DH probably feels quite alienated from the whole process. Also, he has been 'demoted' in your affections. And lots of men just aren't baby people. My DH wasn't. He found dealing with a baby difficult. He really came into his own when they started to walk and talk. DS1 (almost 3) and him are thick like thieves now...

I'm sorry to tell you this but I found with both my boys, things became very markedly easier when they turned 1. By then, they are weaned fully and can mostly eat what you are eating, not so dependent on milk (so you can go out and about fairly easily without having to prepare like it's a military operation!). They can also communicate fairly well and some are walking by then. They just don't seem so frail by that stage so not as demanding...

But things do get better as you go along. You will need to make time to go out. We now think nothing of engaging a babysitter (someone we trust of course) and going out for the night. DS1 was PFB of course and he was 21 months before we left him overnight with the GPs. DS2 was 5 months old when we left him overnight for the first time. blush There will come a time when the baby is NOT all you think about (I know it's hard to imagine at the moment!) but hang on in there till then. Good luck!

spidookly Sun 19-Dec-10 07:33:16

No, this didn't happen to us.

If DH was the kind of knobhead to compete with a breastfeeding woman, who had just had her abdomen sliced open after 9 months of physical stress, about who had it hardest, then things might have been different.

Babies are no respecters of gender equality. Having them affects women more than men, even in the most equal relationship. It's a lot easier to be understanding of how tough it all is for a father who is kind enough to at least try to understand that his life will go back to something approaching normal in a few weeks, while yours will not.

Telling a woman to "stop competitive tiredness" is basically telling her to accept shit treatment from her partner.

Do not accept it OP. If he really is that unkind when you are most vulnerable, he is not very nice.

PenguinArmy Sun 19-Dec-10 07:44:12

I always feel like I'm not pulling my weight as DH is the SAHD. I still BF, at least twice in the night (DD is 9 months).

I find the worse part is us both being too tired to make an effort with the other. We both feel under appreciated.

It's not the lack of sex that gets to me, more he's lack of cuddles etc.

I think we're starting to come out the otherside a bit. I'm starting to cope with work he's doing great with DD, although obviously finds it tiring. She's sleeping better now so starting to get some predictability.

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