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What Post Baby Marriage is Really Like

March 16, 2017
post baby marriage

by Brooke Wade

Let’s be honest. We love to look (and post!) pretty pictures and glorified captions just like the rest of you, but we have big respect for a mama that can keep it real. Brooke Wade is a mama to two in Northern California and is the first to admit that sometimes sh*t gets hard. Really hard. Life with one baby had her admittedly smug and self-congratulatory by her mad parenting skillz, but adding a second (not as easy as the first) baby to the mix had her take a closer look at what life is really like for her growing family. Stress, sleep deprivation and exhaustion wore her down and she’s opening up with HEYMAMA to let you know, you are not alone. Read on…

post baby marriage

My husband Jason, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in May of 2010. It was the hardest year of our life. So we thought.

You know those parents you read about who seem to have it so easy? Blessed with the perfect baby who latches like a champ and sleeps through the night at seven weeks? Yeah, we were those assholes. Our son came into the world like he was on a perma-high. He was so mellow and pleasant…a real angel. We thought parenting was easy AF. He was our golden boy, but more importantly, we were slaying the parenting game. We were experts. We talked shit about difficult kids and judged other parents, just like any unflawed parent would.

For this moment, we were undoubtedly blessed: Jason was in remission, our relationship was on the upswing, and we were ready for more.

Nineteen months later, we had our daughter…and everything changed.

post baby marriage

Life with two babies is never easy, but we had no clue what we were in for. Our new daughter Clover’s relationship with sleep was like a one-night stand. It happened sporadically, felt great for all involved, but never lead to any real consistency or commitment.

As a nursing mom (for 12 f–king months), I was waking up four to eight times a night. I was knee-deep in sleep deprivation. I was a dick. I was everything I always swore I would never be: impatient, irritated, testy, snappy, agitated and anxious. I had a full time job and I was waking up all through the night, every night. We had a “Stage Five Clinger” who was privy to infection. We spent days in the ICU, many in urgent care, and countless days of missed work – often unpaid.

My husband and my relationship was put to the test, to say the least.

post baby marriage

It’s not often enough you read about what really happens in a marriage after you have kids. Of course it brings you closer and there are some incredible aspects, but people hesitate to open up about the bad parts… the nitty gritty of what’s really going on. People seem scared to be vulnerable in any public forum, like it’s taboo or the kiss-of-death. Like putting your relationship on a reality show or tattooing your spouse’s name. It’s easy to find blog posts about stretch marks and saucer-sized nipples, but not your post-baby marriage. Weird? I think so too.

Kids change everything. Seriously, everything. Not just your vagina morphing into some sort of anatomical silly putty, or one of your nipples suddenly becoming inverted after your boobs have shrunk 3x their size and have become malleable enough to fold in half. Or the bickering over parenting style or whether or not to allow cartoons with breakfast. Sleep deprivation brings out monsters. I became a different person for over a year. My husband of several years forgot what life was like before I was a total bitch.

At the risk of sounding wildly understated: We were in a rut.

Guys can be assholes too, don’t get me wrong. Have you ever had a sick husband? Ugh. It’s like having a baby who understands what you’re saying, but pretends he doesn’t just so he can crap in his pants and puke on the bathroom floor with no repercussions. It can be worse than a child—they’re able to verbalize their requests, yet they whine and moan more than a dog in heat. If you’re like me, moms are only this sick after too much wine on a rare weekend. Ok, sometimes a weekday. I digress.

post baby marriage

My husband actually does a ton to help with the kids, (more than most husbands I know, actually) and wasn’t too pleased with that depiction above. So maybe my barf and shitting memories are from life in our twenties, so sue me. #mombrain. (Which, by the way, is an excuse I plan to use until the day I die.) But all men are babies when they’re sick or when they haven’t had enough sleep. I would rather listen to Kanye go on a narcissistic rant than listen to a dad try to say they’re tired or sleep deprived. Husbands take note—if you don’t have boobs or answer to “Mama” countless times a day, don’t complain about sleep deprivation. Save yourself some passive aggressive remarks, deadly stare-downs and some serious resentment.

Marriage with kids is by far harder than just parenthood alone, in my opinion. The fact that we’re supposed to care for living beings (not just plants, which I usually kill) and keep a marriage fulfilled is just crazy and overwhelming. Not to mention the physical act, because we all know we put that shit off like the plague and play dead like an opossum on the regular. Unless I’m drunk. Then there’s at least 7 minutes of energy in me. Amiright? You know you agree.

If you feel like this, just know it’s totally normal. I’ve talked to very few (if any) new moms who are like “my marriage is better than ever!” It hardly happens. If it does, you’re either the blissful asshole I was at first, or it’s a total lie. It’s human nature to give all of yourself to your child, so the marital love tank inevitably takes a toll. I’m no Marriage and Family Therapist, but my advice would be to keep communication open, acknowledge the “change,” and consciously work to make things better. As much as I understand why things have gotten tough and I can rattle off excuses like I can Dumb and Dumber quotes, it doesn’t get better unless you work at it. Jason and I are constantly talking about our issues, and often times seeking therapy to rectify them. I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m actually proud to admit that we take our relationship seriously enough to continuously get the most out of it. We don’t settle. We know how we were before times got tough, so we strive to make that our reality.

How are you coping with married life and parenthood? Has your relationship taken a toll? I’d love to hear. Let me know in the comments below.

post baby marriage

Photos by @lifestylebytavio

Brooke Wade is a mama to two and lives in Northern California. Follow her adventures @brookiewade.

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  • Reply Cat March 17, 2017 at 12:01 am

    Thank you for posting!! I’m sending this to my husband. We are in the middle of the roughest time of our lives and the baby is not even here yet! We’ve been married for almost 6 months and I am due in 5 weeks with our first baby (go ahead, do the math). We were engaged for a year and a half and 3 weeks before the wedding found out we were going to not only be newlyweds in 2017, but parents as well. Keeping that secret under wraps during the wedding process was brutal. I became obsessed about everything I said innever would ( my dress fitting being -#1) and I was the most exhausted bride that ever lived. My entire wedding was DIY, and I was working full time and going to school full time, and it was destination, but only 150 miles away- so I had to rent a uhaul to get all the wedding stuff there. Fast forward, we made it through the wedding and got to our honeymoon. Half the trip was for me-Napa- the other for him, Yosemite. So not only did I have to climb half dome 12 weeks pregnant, with my husband asking ‘can’t you walk any faster?’ But he also got to drink ALL the wine in Napa and I got zilch. But we made it back, and surprised our families, and thought we could cruise through the rest. I could blame the exhaustion on the wedding.. I had no other symptoms of being pregnant, easy peasy. Then the week after Christmas my dad unexpectedly got pneumonia. He was at home watching tv and coughed up a little blood, so they went to the ER to be safe… he passed away by that Friday and my entire world stopped spinning. Through all this my husband has tried to be supportive and understanding, but I have been and exhausted grief stricken monster. Not to say he’s been perfect. The pregnancy is still kind of phantom for him- I don’t think he gets it yet. He wants to be giddy and happy. Yet, for me, With every kick in reminded that this babe will never meet the best man I have ever known- the reason I am who I am. And this chasm grows between us daily. But we journal once a week. We ask the same 5 questions of each other, to check in and make sure we have the communication lines open. I’m happy to say we already recognize that we want this to work out and that therapy will be good for us, because this sh*t storm of life can sometimes take your breath away. We know that we can’t do this alone and we welcome help into our relationship in order to make it the best it can be. I’m going to be seeing a grief counselor on my own- to help prevent post partum as my doc is worried I am a prime candidate- and I know the emotion I feel now is only a fraction of what’s to come. Thank you for telling your story and reaching out to people like me- because in the end we are all workign toward happiness- and to have families filled with love. I wish you and your husband the best.

    • Reply Brooke Wade March 17, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      Oh Cat, my heart is seriously breaking for you! I’m in tears reading what you’re going through…I’m so very sorry to read about your father, amongst everything else. 🙁 You are one INCREDIBLY strong woman. I can’t even imagine! Thank you so much for sharing your story…it’s so important for those of us having troubles to know we’re not alone. I didn’t suffer a loss pre-baby, but I had some extenuating circumstances during pregnancy that lead to prenatal depression. I couldn’t believe I was depressed even BEFORE the hormones really hit! I have to say, I think it was a blessing in disguise. The fact that you already recognize you’re a candidate for PPD is HUGE. I did as well, so it helped me (and my husband!) understand what I was going through once the baby came. My midwife actually put me on depression meds while I was pregnant. I know this is a controversial decision, but do your research….it saved me. Fast forward after baby, I got off the meds when my daughter was a year old, just to quickly go back just 3 months later. I’m not ashamed to admit it – marriage and parenting take a damn toll! Add other life factors and it can be the perfect storm of emotional overload. I’m a firm believer in therapy, yoga, and I recently started meditation. I highly recommend it! Also, you’re on the right track…sharing posts like this with your husband can really be beneficial. My other go-to was texting my husband the actual definition of sleep deprivation. Wow, it was basically a personal bio. Again, thank you so much for sharing and for your feedback and personal story. I’ll be sending positive, healing vibes your way and congratulations in advance for your sweet addition to come! Stay positive mama…you got this. xoxo

  • Reply Jennifer March 17, 2017 at 12:07 am

    You and your honesty are a breath of fresh air, my friend. Giving all of myself to my children thus neglecting my marital love tank is my MO!! But I agree it’s 100% worthwhile to seek help and TRY to bring some semblance of balance. Loved reading your words, and hope you continue to share your raw and hilarious musings with the world! xx

    • Reply Brooke Wade March 17, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      Jennifer! Thank you so much for your kinds words…and (needless to say) you are certainly NOT alone. Girl, my love tank was running on fumes for about two years straight. I think most moms can relate, whether they admit it or not. It’s just a HARD balance! I’m just hoping that sharing my perspective can urge others to do the same…and not be embarrassed or ashamed to admit that sh** ain’t easy. Like anything else, marriages just take a ton of work and we all just need to support each other, work at them and of course, commiserate together. 😉 ox

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