How Does Marriage Change After Baby? 18 Moms' Honest Answers

Wendy Robinson | Oct 21, 2016 Love & Sex
How Does Marriage Change After Baby? 18 Moms' Honest Answers
Image: still distinctly remember the moment when, just home from the hospital with our first baby, I realized that I had made a terrible mistake. Not the baby. The husband. 

My husband, who I'd been madly in love with just days before, now seemed to me to be the most annoying person on the planet. In my hormone-addled and sleep-deprived state, I took my husband's well-meaning suggestion that I take a nap as an insult of the highest order. 

But I needed that nap. 

The truth is that even once I got over the sleep deprivation and remembered my husband was actually a good guy, I still faced a marriage that was permanently changed. Having a kid was the best and hardest thing we'd ever done. I've always wondered if the transition from couple to family was as challenging for other women, so I asked around on social media. 

And then my in-box exploded. Apparently, this was a topic that many women had strong feelings about. Read on for 20 of the most raw and real stories of how having a child changes a relationship, for better or worse.

  • We Grew Up Together

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    "I got pregnant quite possibly the first time we had sex, so about two months after we started dating. Within a year of first meeting we had our first child so there wasn't much of a relationship to change. What's interesting is how our relationship is changing as [the kids] get older. We are figuring out how to be a couple again and it's kind of like dating again. It's hard to explain. We have always worked really well together as parents because we have basically always been parents in our relationship and are discovering each other. The fact that we stayed together as long as we have is a testament to our relationship I think. I am looking forward to dating my husband for the next several years!" -- Emily L.

  • We Fought More

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    "We used to get along over everything, but then we just started fighting all the time. It got better around 12 months, and then again when we finally busted out cry-it-out at 15 months. Looking back, I see now why so many people (including pretty much every pediatrician) pushed us to sleep train the baby. He wants a second kid, but I am totally not up for that misery again. We'll see. We have almost exactly the same parenting views and styles and still it was hard." -- Jennifer B.

  • The Quirks Came Out

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    "After first kid we both were so damn tired, we just crossed our fingers constantly when we would communicate. We never knew what kind of exhausted, crabby personality quirks were gonna come out. BUT we stayed busy, took her everywhere, and supported each other in ways we didn't know possible." -- Virginia R.

  • We Have Fewer Butterflies, but a Deeper Bond

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    "Our relationship definitely got more solid, but at the same time, it contributed to the occasional feeling of disconnectedness because of the focus we put on the kids.

    Without really talking about it, we prioritized the kids over 'us' and it made us nurture our relationship less, BUT the kids were such a deep bonding experience for us.

    One thing that is different, and I think this comes with time as well as with raising kids: I don't think we're as gaga over each other as we once were. I mean, I used to get so psyched when I'd see that his car was home. Now I'm glad he's home but, you know, I don't get butterflies. It's a deeper, more devoted love, but it's less sparkly." -- Tricia N.

  • Resentment Formed

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    "Initially it was hard. I was resentful that he got to go back to work while I was home. I was just mad and sad and didn't believe in myself as a mom. As time goes on I find I'm becoming more smug and self-righteous in my parenting because I do so much more of it. I am a catch!" -- Nicole S.

    More from CafeMom: 8 Ways Babies Can Actually IMPROVE a Marriage

  • We Found a New Groove

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    "Our baby refused a pacifier or bottle and was on me at all times nursing. It was hard to explain to him the physical and emotional roller coaster of having a baby with the demands of breastfeeding on very little sleep. I would look at him sleeping and want to kill him. He would leave the house, I wanted to kill him.

    Eventually we found a groove, we figured out roles and routines that work for everyone, and now we are SO much better than before kids! And we're on baby number two, which has been much easier." -- Ashlee T.

  • Our Communication Got Stronger

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    "It is hard but our love and bond has gotten stronger for sure. We communicate a lot better now." -- Sarah L.

    More from CafeMomHaving Kids Won't Kill Your Marriage, But It Makes Divorce Very Hard

  • We Have Less Sex

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    "The main thing that changed was sex. Everything else stayed pretty much the same, but I really lost interest and just didn't want anyone touching me at the end if the day. I'm slowly getting it back, but it's not the same." -- Leslie B

  • We Created a Better Partnership

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    "My husband and I were together for six years before we got married, and were married for five years before our first was born. I always thought we were pretty good partners before kids, but those years were nothing compared to the partnership we have created since the births of our children.

    That being said, there are days where I want to smack my husband upside the head. I occasionally feel like I have four boy children, not three." -- Traci H. 

  • Stress Was a Challenge

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    "Somehow I became an incredibly crappy communicator after kids. I used to be so proud of our ability to communicate and listen and hear each other. I thought it would carry us through anything. But then with all the changes after a baby (a high maintenance and stressful baby) it's like my world got more narrow and I had a harder time being open and didn't want to deal with any defensive backlash. So I just kept it all to myself and then would periodically explode.

    And turns out I'm still in that exact same place after number two. I've got work to do. And it is so much about wanting him to do something or do more but I feel like I shouldn't have to ask (which I do, very specifically, every single thing, if I want it to actually get done) and then when he does it I find myself correcting how he does it which sucks! I'm a monster." -- Emily D.

  • It Was Frustrating When We Didn't Sync Up

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    "Honestly, it took a while for my husband to feel natural in his role as a dad. For me, the connection with our son was instant, but I'd say it took at least six months for hubby. He didn't know how to help, and I wasn't good at communicating. I expected something more of him, but I wasn't sure what it was so I would just get mad without an explanation. Going into our second, I'm going to try really hard to be specific in what I want/need. With that, we've grown so much together as parents, and watching him bond with our little guy seriously melts my heart." -- Stephanie G.

  • Mixed Emotions Confused Us Both

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    "After our first kid, I didn't always know what I wanted. Some days I would feel lonely and missed him, and sometimes I just wanted him to leave me alone. It was hard for him to know what to do to help me because I didn't even know what I wanted. I was emotionally all over the place." -- Rachel W. 

  • He Became a Complainer

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    "After our first kid, my husband complains more than HE EVER HAS EVER BEFORE! He used to be so easygoing and just go with the flow, and now all of a sudden he's needy, whiny, lacking self-confidence, and controlling. He doesn't help as much as he used to either. So much bitterness and resentment on my part." -- Emily K

  • We Reevaluated Our Priorities

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    "I think the year after our first was the toughest, and honestly I think it was because of the sleep deprivation. After our second, we didn't have as much trouble and she is an amazing sleeper. I remember the resentment I felt awake and nursing when my husband got to sleep. I would send him pretty bitchy text messages if he would be out and I was home.

    We had to relearn our balance. He naturally goes out more and I like to stay home. But, when you add kids to the mix, the balance shifts, and that meant more responsibility fell on me. He encourages me to get sitters and can now recognize when I'm overwhelmed sooner than before. Which means we don't spiral down as much. The biggest thing I didn't expect to be dealing with was his work/life balance. He has advanced in his career and more is being expected of him, so we have to constantly evaluate our priorities: money, family, relationship." -- Laura W.

  • Our Relationship Changed for the Better

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    "Having a kid changed things in so many ways. We were together for 10 years before kids and I think that has worked in our favor. But having kids shook things up in a crazy and scary way at times (the resentment and at times boredom!). His getting a vasectomy last December was/is a sort of recommitment to each other and taking care of our needs. It was a choice we both made and thought carefully about and it improved more parts of our relationship than I expected." -- Allison L

  • I've Fallen for Him Even Harder

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    "Now we're in a groove, and seeing him as my son's dad, and not just my husband, makes me love him even more. We're about to add #2 to the mix though, so it's very possible I'll want to strangle him every day again for another year." -- Amanda K 

  • We've Made Fun Mandatory

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    "How to describe it? Becoming parents wasn't the only challenging thing going on in our lives at that time, so it compounded. 

    Before #1 was born my husband traveled for work. It worked out well for us before kids. When baby came he wanted to be home and I didn't want to solo parent, so he switched jobs. I was adjusting to his being around ALL OF THE TIME and a baby attached to me. It was tough for me. 

    In addition, day care was near my work so I did all drop-off and pick-ups every day. It was brutal! 

    Furthermore my husband was doing major projects on our house, so [he was] there but not helpful with baby much of the time. This is largely why our children were spaced almost four years apart. I wouldn't have another until certain things were done. We had an insane to-do list before #2 was born. 

    For us it was hard to finally allow ourselves a break and to have fun together. When the youngest was 2 I started instigating Forced Family Fun Time. We got out of the house together to do something fun. 

    Now we have much better balance." -- Patricia P

  • I Became Jealous of Him

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    "So many things changed. For the good, I realized after baby was born what a good team we really do make. It was just so clear on so many places what a partnership we had. For the bad -- the jealousy I feel all the time is real.

    I resent that he can so easily drop everything and go out for a run, or a happy hour, while I feel so guilty or conflicted between doing what I want to do and what has to be done. For the fear -- I am TERRIFIED for how we will balance the addition of babies #2 and #3. We do so great together, it becomes hard to know what to ask for help on until it is too late and I am drowning. May also be a side effect of being stubbornly independent." -- Shanna C

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