Ahh.. marriage and motherhood. A post I have been writing off and on for quite some time now. A topic that is tricky to discuss as each couples situation is unique and different. How I feel and have evolved to this new life can be dramatically different than the next. But, here it goes – all my thoughts, feelings and advice on being a newlywed and adjusting to motherhood.
A month into our marriage, Darius and I found out I was pregnant with our rainbow baby, Jordan. When I started going through the miscarriage, I didn’t know it, and my body was going through postpartum depression and crashing hormones. this caused a huge strain on our relationship because dealing with the loss of the baby and not knowing how to handle my feelings, I just was not available. All in all, the challenge brought us together and though it took weeks to realize what was happening, we were able to do our best to make a plan for ‘next time’.
During pregnancy with Lincoln, we were living the dream. We had bought our first home, we were in the middle of fixing everything up, nesting and creating the perfect life for our little man. I was incredibly sick for 16 weeks and although that was f***ing horrible, having Darius as my support system was so meaningful. It wasn’t until after giving birth to Lincoln, the next day precisely, that shit.got.real.
Having a baby and struggling with anxiety and postpartum depression simultaneously really throws a wrench into your love life. Being that I don’t adjust well with change, after bringing Lincoln home I remember two things: 1. Apologizing to Gus for ruining his life and 2. Texting Liz asking how the hell to get out of this nightmare (of having a baby). I wanted my husband back, my quiet life back and I definitely didn’t want Darius to love Lincoln more than me. Looking back and even in the moment, I knew all of this was irrational. I knew it wasn’t normal. When bringing Lincoln home I envisioned us being madly in love, taking care of our baby in unison and suffering through sleep loss like a champ. In turn, it was absolutely nothing of the sort.
Having a newborn, and now a 9 month old meant a lot of adjustment for our relationship. At first, my hormones weighed heavily on us. I cried all the time. I needed Darius and Lincoln needed me and Darius was taking care of all of us. He had to drop his math class to pick up the slack of me being a hormonal mess. I cried all the time. It was like he was actually taking care of two babies instead of one. Once that passed and I received help, the new adjustment was what would be our new normal?
There were many times that our conversations were minimal, and dinners consisted of shoving a luke warm dinner down our throats. Many times we didn’t speak about anything significant and neither of us really knew what was going on in the others life. We weren’t making one another or our relationship a priority. That was something that needed to change. A lot of times there were arguments – about who to change Lincoln, who fed him the most, who was the most tired, who works the hardest, who does the most in the house… I could go on and on. And sometimes it felt like this has to be the end, although we both absolutely knew it wasn’t.
Things didn’t get “better” right away. And it really wasn’t even that things had to get better, we just had to adjust to the way life was and accept that’s how it would be. It wasn’t like we had some drawn out, silent treatment or screaming argument. We slowly started have more open conversation. It happened in places like the car, in the kitchen when making dinner, on the phone on the way home from work. We would talk about how we were feeling, how we read an article about our marriage coming first, we would reminisce about how life is now and how it used to be. We made more time for each other and allowed for family to help out in order to give us a break. We began to be okay with not being at Lincoln’s side 24/7. We know that in order to have a happy, healthy family we need a happy, healthy marriage. And we need to nurture that marriage and be supportive of one another.
Nine months postpartum I finally feel like we are in one of the best places we have ever been in our entire marriage. I feel more that we are the best of friends than I did two years ago. I feel I have a partner who truly values me, who respects me as a wife, mother and friend. I have someone who knows me inside and out and who will always have my back.
So, my advice to you out there who has the newborn? Life isn’t over. It’s just beginning. And what you’ve done is beautiful and fantastic. And you may be sore, you may be exhausted, you may be wanting to give up. Those feelings are valid. But, as time always does, it heals all things. You will get back to yourself. You will begin to find a new normal in this crazy, hectic life of mommy hood. But, it is imperative that your marriage is nurtured and that your independence is nurtured. Make time for yourself and one another. Your baby will never forget having happy, committed parents – and will never remember the one time you left him with the grandparents for two hours.