Marriage & newborns: Keeping the spark alive

Marriage & newborns: Keeping the spark alive
Photo by Derek Owens on Unsplash

In the couple months after we got married and before we got pregnant, I’d read quite a bit from individual men and women as well as married couples on how hard it is to keep the spark alive after a baby.

I, like many a naive young woman with no clue just what great a teacher experience is, thought to myself that it couldn’t possibly be as hard as people make it out to be. You decide to make time for each other even if it means making some kind of weekly timetable. You get the help and support you need to take time away from your baby and spend time with your partner. Simple.

If being a new mom has taught me nothing else, it’s taught me to less judgemental of others!

The first three months of mummyhood for me went by in a big blur and my husband’s face was mostly lost in that blur too.

A typical day with my newborn went something like this

  • Wake up after 20-30mins sleep
  • Nurse baby off and on for an hour
  • Hand baby over to husband or mum for about 30mins while I shower (a lot of moms don’t have the luxury of their own mums being able to help out, mind you.)
  • Nurse baby off and on every hour or two all day long with breaks in between to use the toilet and eat and drink
  • Attempt to leave the house everyday for a short walk just to get some fresh air
  • Glance at my phone and feel appreciative but guilty knowing I won’t be able to return any of the missed calls. Wish people would text instead but know that even messages will take me some time to reply to
  • Night time comes and it’s time to get ready for another 9 hours or so of three hourly if not hourly feedings

As you can see, nowhere in a typical day does marriage maintenance intentionally happen. It really did take effort and more than anything else support to have any quality time alone. For me, availability of support would never have been enough anyway. I wouldn’t have been comfortable leaving my new baby with anyone I didn’t fully trust or didn’t know well enough so hiring a random sitter would not have been an option.

It’s different for everyone

I feel obligated to say as well that if you were like I was before I had a baby, don’t think you need to do a total 180 on your idealism. You might end up with a baby who never cries, is happy to be in anyone’s arms, will happily drink from a bottle as well as your boob even though they’re exclusively breast milk-fed and loves their sleep. If your baby is like this, you will feel so much more comfortable planning anything else in life including time away from them. You’ll also be able to have quality time together as a couple with your baby knowing their incessant crying will not turn out time together into a miserable mess.

Photo by James Orr on Unsplash

I do still think that ultimately two people both have to be playing the long game in the family. Keeping in my mind that their newborn will not be a newborn forever and that any time sacrifices being made now will change and also become more enjoyable is important to keep in mind.

How did your partnership change after you first welcomed your baby? If you’re much further along in your parenthood journey, what realistic advice would you give to new parents to keep their relationships strong?

16 thoughts on “Marriage & newborns: Keeping the spark alive”

  • As a mom of 4, I completely relate to what you are stating here. It definitely gets easier as our kids gain independence and sleep through the night. The biggest thing for my marriage was my hubby’s insistence on getting out at least a couple of times a month… even if it was just for a coffee and baby was with us! I’ll be honest in that I sometimes scoffed at his insistence, but I now believe it has been part of the glue that has kept us together. The purpose was to simply focus on each other even if surrounded by kids. I wish you all the best!

    • Awesome. That’s a great goal to help us moms remember we can wives and moms too. Love that. Definitely something every parenting couple should try to do if it’s possible. Thanks for visiting, Sherry.

    • That’s awesome. Love that. Definitely something every parenting couple should try to do if it’s possible!
      Thanks for visiting, Sherry.

  • Adjusting after the first one was definitely the hardest. We have three now. We *try* to do a date night. So far, we have failed at doing this regularly but it’s so refreshing to be alone together or eat a meal without someone having a meltdown.

    We also binge watch shows together after the kids go to bed. It’s a couple hours of alone time together before we go to bed.

    • yes to tv show binging! a favourite of ours too.

  • Great post! You’re right that both partners need to be playing the same game. When our first child was born, my husband did everything I did except breastfeeding. We were and are in it together. And yes, we used the time when the baby slept for… well, you know!

    • Haha! I know! And yes it definitely feels better and more manageable if everything is shared. Makes it feel like you’re in it together as a team

  • Oh, I definitely can relate. My first two years after daughter was born was a complete blur. All my days meshed together until I found my outlet in blogging. You hit all the topics we experience, thanks!

    • Great that you can relate! Blogging can be such a good little bubble in the midst of everything.
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by, Simone! I hope you’re good x

  • It’s such a hard transition and really it’s impossible to prepare for 100%. It’s important to keep an open mind and be adaptable. Also communicate! Great post btw “_

    • So true, you’ll never know which issues will arise for yourself and your partner. Or if any will! Communication is absolutely key! Thanks for visiting, Monica!

  • Our first baby was SO easy! (He’s more difficult as a toddler now!) But now our second only ever wants to breastfeed (he HATES the bottle and will refuse to eat), he cosleeps because that’s the only way he gets to sleep in the evenings. Our relationship has been tested much more with this second baby! I don’t even want to THINK about another baby for at least 5 years!!!

    • aw bless you! it’s good to know someone else is in my breastfeeding and co-sleeping boat though! 😀 Here’s to stronger relationships from tests like these!

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