Writing this particular post has been difficult for me. What to put in, what to leave out, keeping everyone’s feelings in mind… it’s hard to put real and gritty emotions out there for all to read. But… I’ve committed to myself to be honest here. If to no one else… this blog gives me a sense of peace that I don’t find other places. Is that sad? Never mind… I know that it helps my fellow readers in some way. That adds to my peace. Okay.. so I’m going to chat about marriage here my friends. Post-baby, confusing-wonderful-messy-emotional-loving-challenging marriage. Ready?
I’ve gathered from my other momma friends and family that this cloud of emotion post-baby is normal. The cloud that entails not connecting with your husband or partner really on any level other than how to be roommates is common. Learning that information was critical to me. I wasn’t alone? It wasn’t just my marriage? One can feel after having a child like you’re only in it for the baby. There are those days. Those weeks, maybe months where you look at your child and see your partner in their eyes and know that you cannot possibly do this alone. The love you have for this baby spills out onto your husband or wife. Then there are those days or nights or weeks where the connection is amazing like you two have never been closer. Then a week later you’re back in the emotional hole again. This had become our normal life…a roller coaster and simply co-existing.
What do you do when you don’t want this to be your normal? Being common isn’t what you wanted for your romantic life? I have friends that are separated. That are divorcing. What I know is that’s not what I want. Step one… I’m told… is to recognize that fact. I want this man. This man I chose- knowing all that I did about my parents’ failed marriage and the problems we had- to be mine forever. Our love is deep. I feel like we’re old war buddies.. having survived ridiculous feats. I know that we can do this. But we had to figure out where to start.
We chose to talk about it. Sounds simple but it’s reallllllly not. We chose to have a hard… okay excruciating… honest conversation about what we were feeling and thinking. We laid out our cards for each other. We laid down our swords so to speak. We had to individually remain as calm and open to the conversation as possible. Okay some of those comments stung. A lot. But if I was going to really do this… I had to hear what he had stored up, too scared to tell me. He had to really listen to what I needed him to do for me. And we went on from there.
We recognized that we were both being a little dramatic about how doom and gloom things were. We both knew without a doubt that we wanted each other. But we had to talk about the things that felt off in us. We had to say the things you just never want to because it would make the other person cry. So we did. And of course I cried. But now…we’re on our road forward.
And you can’t talk about how uncomfortable marriage can be after baby without talking about the taboo topic of sex. When I polled 10 married woman all with a child under 2… I got the exact same results. No one was interested in that particular activity. It felt like work to us and we were already maxed out by our kids. Women need sex to feel loved, appreciated and close to someone. We crave intimacy… but we are getting a closeness and so much love from our kids. So it just doesn’t dawn on us that often b/c we’re sooo freaking tired. Our mates crave something else altogether that we cannot really identify with anymore. Maybe in our 20’s that element existed but now you’ve re-channeled that energy into building blocks, walking toys, bento boxes for preschool, cleaning and wiping and soothing a small human being. Sex just feels like semi exercise and we’re already tired from that yoga we did at 6:30am to get away from mothering for an hour. But… this topic that no couple wants to discuss… needs to be on that table. You have to talk about it. You have to ask one another for what you want and need. I never felt comfortable talking about this.. ahem.. topic. But for this man, for this marriage, I will try. I will actually read books about how to open up about it (on the iPad of course).
I don’t have all the answers. I am trying to finally communicate that we and I feel a little broken. That there’s a hairline fracture in our foundation. It might be dramatic given all of the “me too!"s that I heard in the last month when I shared these thoughts but I do not want this life of bickering over NOTHING. I want to initiate..ya know. I’ll be more spontaneous with him. I’ll smile more at him and rub his shoulders after a long day. I’ll cook and then do the dishes without rolling my eyes about how much I do around the house. I’ll let things go. Well.. I’ll try to let things go. I will tell him just how darn cute he really is and that I’m truly proud that he’s my husband whenever we walk into a room. I will snuggle with him on the couch instead of leaning back on my own side with my computer up to my nose. I will commit, again, to him and to making us … us again.
But God… THIS IS HARD. I know that the older couples tell us when we get engaged… “marriage is really hard. And parenting… that’s the hardest job you’ll ever do.” Well, golly.. that didn’t help prepare me for this. What I think people need to say to each other is that it’s messy, and complicated but if you talk openly and you keep trying… you’ll see results. Go out alone together anywhere. If you can’t swing a big night out financially….pay a sitter for an hour or two and go hang in a park together. Do anything that you used to do before you had a kid. Put on those heels sweetheart and a little lipstick and make him or her think you are trying again. And boys… you must listen to her and be open to discussing your feelings. You must. Some of us won’t initiate… we just aren’t built that way. Don’t take it personally. The more you try the more we’ll want to. Be patient. We’re figuring this new life out just like you are.
Through all of these talks and openness you’ll see that love does win. It connects us back to each other. That’s my hope for us all. After these kinds of conversations and being honest for the first time in a year with him, I am more sure of this commitment and love that exists. I am also more aware of the changes I need to make in myself. There’s always homework, isn’t there? But if you’re going to make this thing called marriage really last… you gotta work for it honey.
Wishing y’all love filled days and the strength to carry on.
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