So having a baby changes your life in so many ways, and your relationship with your other half does not escape these changes, from sleepless nights, lack of date nights and a small person who always seems to be between you both, it is easy to see how maintaining a good relationship often gets put on the back burners.
Not much changed between Nick and I after our son was born, we still had time for us as a couple, I think the only thing that changed drastically was our date nights, they became less going out for a nice meal and a drink and became more stay at home, cook a meal and binge watch some Netflix!
However, once our baby girl arrived 10 months after her brother, our relationship took a nose dive. We now had two babies under two, so we were busy 24/7 (there really wasn’t enough hours in the day). I’m a full time mummy and Nick is a chef working 12+ hours shifts and often didn’t get home until well after 11pm. It was so hard to find time to be a couple, and due to the stresses and anxieties we started to fray around the edges.
For the first four months our baby girl would not sleep anywhere except in our bed, which meant we had a newborn between us every night waking up for a feed every two hours – no cuddles for us grown ups!
With Nick working 12 hour shifts 5 days a week and most weekends, we never really got a chance to give the kids to the grandparents for a weekend so that we could go out. We were drifting apart and were both shattered, so even on Nicks days off we really did not feel like doing anything, except chilling with the kids – if you can even call it chilling with a 1 year old who doesn’t sit still and a baby girl who is so snugly she refuses to be put down!
It got to the point where we were arguing about everything, ignoring each other, not getting enough sleep, and got to a point where we were both prepared to go our separate ways if things didn’t change. I am pretty sure that due to the stress, anxiety and my PMDD (pre menstrual dysphoric disorder) that on a few occasions I have locked Nick out of the house for a couple of hours and have even thrown a bag of his stuff out after him and told him not to come back (that’s my polite way of putting it).
Things really needed to change so we both sat down and got to the bottom of why we were constantly at each others throats all of time. Lack of sleep and lack of time together were the biggest issues. Luckily enough we were in a position where Nick could reduce his hours at work temporarily so that he could help me out at bedtime and do half of the night feeds so that I could get more sleep as I was doing all of the night feeds and hadn’t had more than 3 hours sleep a night for the last four months. We also agreed that we should do more together whether that be as a family or just the two of us. So we started going out more with the kids to parks and soft play, and even manged to get some time for us!
Sleep deprivation affects a person in so many ways and really puts a massive strain on the whole family, mine had gotten so bad that I was experiencing insomnia, where i felt tired but could not get to sleep and ended up spending almost an entire month awake. We were also both so run down our immune systems had taken a beating and seemed as through we both had a cough or a cold for weeks and weeks. As soon as we stared getting more sleep our moods improved and we had more energy for the babies! It is so important that couples talk about what is going on between them and their new family, Nick and I could have walked away from each other if we hadn’t sat our arses down and openly talked through what was pissing us both off all of the time. I am so glad that we managed to get things sorted and function as a family again, it could have been such a different story if we hadn’t done this.
Nick has now gone back to full time hours, and Ophelia is now sleeping through most nights, so we are still getting enough sleep. We are much happier, less stressed and are enjoying being a family, and even have some time to be a couple again!