Family, Mental Health, Motherhood

Baby-proofing your marriage; my experience

September 22, 2015

I had forgotten about the curveball/ grenade a baby throws into your relationship until I read an article on it recently. It completely changes how you both feel about each other and the manner in which you deal with these feelings will ensure your survival or destruction as a couple. I was completely unprepared for how much I would dislike my husband after baby number 1 as he would me but let me back the story up a bit..

223537_6142043137_8921_nMy pregnancy on Conall was as lovely as expecting your first baby can be; I would stroke my belly while smiling up at Ossie as he caressed my hair and kissed my head lovingly. We walked everywhere (no car at the time) holding hands and imagining what our little man would be like. “I’ll be happy if he has your nose” I’d say and he’d reply “I’ll be happy if he has your lips”… We’d then laugh at the possibility of him having my teeth and his ears.

At night we’d look in the empty moses basket longingly, willing the weeks to pass.

It didn’t happen like in the movies; For a few nights in a row, I’d get up to pee and as I’d make my way back to bed I’d feel a trickle down my leg and think ffs and go get a pad and do a baby wipe job on the undercarriage. I began googling and thought it could be my waters so I went to my GP who gave me a little pee container and said if I could catch some that that would be my ticket to the labour ward. That night I managed to catch some and I did the smell test… it smelt sweet, bingo! I was starting to get some light contractions so off we went.

I was in very early labour but the magic vial of amniotic fluid ensured my stay and Ossie was fantastic walking me the length and breadth of Holles Street to make things move faster and he let me gouge his arms with my fingers when a bad contraction took hold. His face was pressed to mine in the final stages as he told me to push push… “I can’t I answered, I’m going into the light.” (It was BAD)

37180_436518501866_8271316_nWhen Conall was put into my arms, I smiled at Ossie and I had never loved him more… “he has your nose” “and your lips” he answered with tears pouring down his face. We noticed his ears then and laughed.

2015-09-22 11.55.42We were living with my parents and the segway into parenting was not so smooth. I had adopted a uniform of giant nursing bra, disposable pants and an oversized nightdress. I had gone from glowing and “all bump” to a saggy, leaking mess. Conall would not latch and my nipples were cracked and scabbing and I was getting little or no sleep. The moses basket was still pristine as our angry man had made his way between us. Then I contracted a kidney infection that spiked my temperature and had me shivering and in pain for a week. There was an ugly moment where Ossie tried to strip me of my fleece dressing gown and blanket and threatened a cold shower to bring my temperature down; I turned my pleading eyes to my parents who were putty in my hands and a row broke out with Ossie storming off and me agreeing to remove the dressing gown. I started to resent his light snoring at night and prodded him to wake when Conall cried even though he couldn’t feed the baby and had work the next day. I was insanely jealous that his life continued more or less the same while I had this screaming dependant that wouldn’t let me shower and I felt broken inside and out. I found myself narrowing my eyes and searching for “mistakes” Ossie had made so I could point them out and say “see, see you’re useless” (implied and not said). They were tough times and I began to plan my life as a single parent and I’m sure he did too although he would never dare admit it.

4113C06438L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_It was only when a couple of months later I was on the phone to a friend, Michelle who asked “well have you noticed how useless men are yet?” and I almost fainted… yes, yes! I’m not proud it was a phonecall full of misandry (it’s a word) and husband-bashing at it’s worst but it was cathartic and she recommended a book on how to babyproof your marriage. I bought it the following day and read it cover to cover. It’s hilarious and includes real stories and I came to the realisation that this is a thing. I’m sure some of you didn’t experience it and were blissfully happy but many women I talk to agree. Having a baby is HUGE… it changes your perception of the world and those around you. You realise quickly which friends will offer practical support and advice and which ones are pissed off that you’re not their drinking buddy anymore.

MkII_07The romantic world that you built the foundation of your relationship is stripped away and he has seen you at your worst/best with your vag in tatters and your boobs leaking. You now pee in front of each other as opportunities to use the bathroom are not as easy (I draw the line at pooing, never, ever do I want to see his poo-face). Sex is off the cards for a minimum of 6 weeks and new ways of intimacy have to be initiated. I remember telling my mother that Ossie was in a bad mood and she asked “have you had the other yet?” (her euphemism has always been the other) and I said “no”. She told me that it would be a good idea to keep him sweet and that there was “more than one way to skin a cat”. I will never forget those words…. they haunt my nightmares but she had a point.

Communication is the key… he kept asking me what I wanted and I would answer “nothing” and cry… (I still do this) but I should have told him I wanted him to tell me I was doing a good job, I wanted him to hold me and tell me he loved me and that I was still the same sex bomb I had always been to him. In hindsight he probably wanted these things too but we sat side by side and watched TV in bloody-minded silence while Conall fed oblivious to the chaos he had caused.

I baby-proofed our marriage when the next two came along simply because we talked about it and knew what to expect. It isn’t a fairy-tale, it is bloody hard but if you survive it together you have a strong foundation to lead you through the minefield of raising children.
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  • Reply Joan Rez September 22, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Aisling yet another both brilliantly and accurately written piece 🙂 Your honesty is a gift to all New Mums who’s stay silent thinking they are the only ones struggling, you summed it up… And it does get easier doesn’t’ it xxx

  • Reply Aisling September 22, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Thanks Joan and yes it definitely does get better.. acknowledging it is the first step and the support of friends going through the same or who have been through it is invaluable. xxx

  • Reply Amelia September 22, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    Brilliant! I remember doing lots of angry mumbling to myself and lots of cheery ‘I’m fine’ s when asked how I was! Really loving your blog, thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Aisling September 22, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      Thanks, the cheery I’m fines through gritted teeth are commonplace.. I was doing it tonight as he chose to go to poker as I was getting kids to bed… “no problem, I’m fine”

  • Reply Renee Davis September 25, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    OMG I could have written so much of this myself! I also have three kids, and like you was rather unprepared for how much I would hate my husband for absolutely no apparent reason. And sex being off the cards for 6 weeks? Try 6 months, then almost double it. I was terrified of the very idea after #1! Great post, I’m pleased you managed to baby proof your marriage. I agree that communication is everything 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing with #DiffLinky

    • Reply Aisling September 25, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      I felt the same when I read your post earlier about the grass is always greener..kindred spirits!

  • Reply Mummy Fever September 29, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Fab post I have four children and a partner who seems to require an insane amount of sleep – I am guilty of muttering under my breath when he talks about how tired he is and I want to stick pins in my eyes when people talk about their men doing feeds and getting them drinks and so on #TwinklyTuesday

    • Reply Aisling September 29, 2015 at 9:56 am

      O god my husband sleeps SO much… he’s a taxi driver so works late but I have to function on approx 5 hrs sleep a night yet her gets 10…I do a lot of muttering

  • Reply Kat @ Eat.Love.Live September 29, 2015 at 9:59 am

    What a great read. Like you, I seriously did not prepare myself for relationship changes before baby number one. At the time I used to wonder why hubby couldn’t just realise how hard it was for me, but now when I sit back and look at it with a clear head I realise how hard it must have been for him. We didn’t communicate and I agree that is the key and a big change that we will make next time x #twinklytuesday

    • Reply Aisling September 29, 2015 at 10:00 am

      I know… they need to tell us in the hospital. Thanks for reading x

  • Reply helen gandy September 29, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Great post, it is tough when a baby arrives it definitely takes its toll , with my 1st it took us by surprise just how much it affected us but 2nd time around we were a bit more prepared. Popping over from #twinklytuesday

    • Reply Aisling September 29, 2015 at 10:04 am

      Thanks, I know that first one is a game-changer!

  • Reply Trista, Domesticated Momster October 1, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    It’s so true how much children change the dynamic of a marriage. You have to find creative ways to rekindle what’s been lost in the fog of parenting. I also find though that I try harder at this relationship then any of those of my past because we do have children. Thanks for linking up with #momsterslink. I will have to check out the book.

    • Reply Aisling October 1, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      Oh do.. it’s so good, I have to re-buy as I lent it to someone.

  • Reply Kyles (Bookish Mummy) October 7, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    This is a really great post. I think it would be helpful for new parents to be offered some pre-baby counselling, just so they were given some information and advice about communication techniques. Good on you for getting informed and changing course. And thanks for sharing! #fromtheheart

  • Reply Julie Dutra October 7, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    It’s all about adjusting expectations, isn’t it? Lucky for me I was one of the last in my group of friends to get pregnant and prepped my husband on the impending upheaval. Even so, lack of sleep does add an extra layer of aggravation to any disagreement! Thanks for sharing #fromtheheart

    • Reply Aisling October 8, 2015 at 10:26 pm

      Really wish someone warned me prior to baby 1… you were lucky. x

  • Reply Charlene October 8, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Ha ha! I love you mum. I rememeber before I had a child my friend telling me, if it ever crosses your mind to do this to make your relationship stronger – forget about it. Like all challenges I think you come out stronger on the other side but this sounds like a great piece of support for the early days. Thanks for sharing #fromtheheart

    • Reply Aisling October 8, 2015 at 10:26 pm

      Why does the term band aid baby even exist? I’m baffled!

  • Reply Caro | The Twinkles Mama October 9, 2015 at 11:40 am

    I have a friend who thought it was a good idea to have a baby in order to ‘save’ her failing marriage. Eeesh. Words fail me. Having a child is such a test for any relationship — even the strongest. To even consider a child when things are rocky is relationship suicide. Great post Aisling xx Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    • Reply Aisling October 9, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      Insanity… sure fire way to put last nail in the coffin of a dying relationship! Thanks for reading x

  • Reply Nadia - ScandiMummy November 10, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Great piece! Though I read that book, too (prior to having our son it has to be said) and it didn’t resonate with me in the same way, but I think it is important to communicate in order to stay on the same page as parents. Glad you’ve worked it out and it sounds like you are stronger than ever 🙂 #abitofeverything

    Nadia – ScandiMummy x

    • Reply Aisling November 12, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      The 1st really knocks your socks off emotionally… I’m so busy physically with 3 boys that I don’t have the time to analyse anything bar netflix

  • Reply Anna Brophy November 10, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Ditto for us, too. It’s a bit of a wonky fairytale to start with. Finally the much awaited baby is here and all hell breaks loose. Really essential to make time (somehow) for each other. Thanks for your honesty. #abitofeverything

    • Reply Aisling November 12, 2015 at 7:57 pm

      Yes, i think a lot of people forget the early days and see it through rose tinted glasses… it’s important to pass on advice like this to new parents

  • Reply This Mum's Life November 11, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    This is fabulous!! I started planning for life as a single parent in the first few weeks after number one aswell! Is it really a scientific, certifiable thing that all men are useless??!! With number 2, I just did everything by myself, and expected no help from day one. This huge lowering of expectations worked a treat! It doesn’t make me any less in love with him, and he’s still amazing to me, but I suppose babies is just their most useless thing?! Your mums suggestion was hysterical!!!!!

    • Reply Aisling November 12, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      Thanks ha my mam is an original!

  • Reply Robyn November 12, 2015 at 7:29 am

    This is brilliant, love your humour on a fairly deep topic. I’d forgotten that feeling of resentment in the beginning that Dad was just able to carry on with his life more-or-less as usual, but yes I definitely felt it. Great read! #abitofeverything

    • Reply Aisling November 12, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      Thanks so much for reading x

  • Reply Tracey Abrahams November 12, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Im fine has to be one of the biggest lies ever told. Unfortunately no amoint of babyproofing would have helped my marriage because he genuinly WAS a lazy arse, but it is a very important thing for prospective parents to bear in mind. The book sounds like something that should be included in pregnant mothers maternity packs.
    Thanks for linking up, Tracey xx #abitofeverything

    • Reply Aisling November 12, 2015 at 7:42 pm

      I’m sorry but that made me laugh inappropriately. Definitely something to include in packs along with a cattle prod for poking the husband.

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