afloat

Wow. I feel positively buoyed by all of this support. Between the private emails and  the comments here, I am beginning to see just how common al of this is, and while that doesn’t solve our problems, it does help put them into perspective.

There are a few things at play with our marital difficulties:

1. We are sleep-deprived, and despite our early bragging that the sleep deprivation during grad school was worse, we were wrong. Sleep deprivation does nothing for rational thought (that’s why it’s such a good brain washing tool), nor does it do much for coherent or productive communication. Therefore, we have more misunderstandings, and because we’re both so tired, our reactions are more emotional than they should be.

2. Neither of us has much time to ourselves. We work from home, so between regular household tasks and caring for the baby, we suck at finding personal time. But honestly, we have always sucked at this, and we have always suffered for it.

3. We have almost no couple time. We try to spend time together when the baby goes to sleep at night, but we’re usually so exhausted that we’re just ready to eat dinner, curl up on the sofa, and watch some mindless television before passing out. We haven’t gone out anywhere without the baby since he was just a couple of weeks old. We need that again, even if it’s just once a month.

4. Our physical intimacy–everything from goodnight kisses to good old fashioned rolls in the hay–has declined dramatically. There are so many obvious reasons for this, but we also just seem to forget that a hug or some snuggling can go a really long way toward helping us feel closer. But we need to find our sex life again; honestly, I think it would make a dramatic impact in helping us stay connected on other levels.

And there are other issues too, from expecting our marriage to take the place of too many things (friends, community, self-worth, and so many other things) to realizing that there are some elements of each other that we wish were different. It’s all of this that we’ve been sussing out week after week, and we’re trying like hell to get to the bottom of it on our own (believe me, we’d be in therapy had we any expendable income or insurance coverage for ourselves).

Today, things feel better, but the big problems are still there, and neither of us can become complacent just because we aren’t bickering or crying or imagining life apart from one another. J and I have learned from our nearly twelve years together that it’s when we put this relationship on auto-pilot that it starts to decline rapidly.

I can tell you this: we’re committed to weathering this storm and making life for our family happy and healthy. And I think I’ll keep writing about it. I’m not typically one to air my dirty laundry, but it seems to me that if so many of us go through problems like these when our babies are born, then it’s important that we talk about it in our community.

Anyway, I want to thank all of you for the incredible support, for the kind words, for the positive thoughts. Even if you all can’t solve our problems, you can certainly keep us from feeling less isolated as we work through these difficult times.

I love you guys.

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19 Comments

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19 responses to “afloat

  1. we love you too!

    consecutive nights of good sleep alone is going to make a world of difference in how you feel about your life. i hope you get it soon!

  2. I’m checking in (albeit late) to send you love and hugs!

  3. Thank you for sharing! I think a heavy dose of reality is needed when reading about life after baby is born. You have certainly helped in bringing the topic up in our household before our little one arrives.

  4. rew

    i haven’t commented here before but have read your blog for awhile and wanted to write to say that i’m sending supportive thoughts your way.
    -brooklyn queer girl

  5. Jen

    I am so glad you are staying positive and weathering this… Having a newborn is hardwork and as someone who is also exhausted, I know that life can be a struggle. Ironically, we have all wanted a child so badly but having one is difficult and brings new challanges. I have been mildly struggling with the baby blues and hoping that meds do the trick. We each have our own struggles but we can get through them!

  6. This post reminds me, we just had to find our balance for things to smooth out!

  7. alimis

    I am very sorry to hear that you all have hit a rough patch and wish your relationship a speedy recovery. One thing I love about your blog is your honesty and I am glad to see that you are discussing how a baby (typically) can impact the satisfation of marriage. I think our community will benefit.

  8. amy

    you are right, this is a subject that is not usually discussed and i have yet to see it discussed in our community specifically. parenting can be not only hard to adjust to but hard as a couple to adjust to. all the reasons you have listed sound common but i know they are unique for you two. we will be here as long as you want to share and discuss.

  9. K and I have been together for 13 years, and our babies are about the same age….

    What helps us…. dinner together every night at the table to talk about our day, upcoming events, Mackenzie, issues, etc.

    and.. nighly massages and/or back rubs. Who has the energy for sex after a baby? But we can find 5 minutes everynight for a massage or back rub.

    Keep talking with your partner.:) Thinking of you… and I know life is not easy right now.

  10. Thanks for your honesty. I’ll bet you’ll help lots of people, really. Hugs!

  11. Having a newborn is totally hard on a relationship – it’s hard losing sleep, hard reconfiguring, but yes, so worth it.

    I know that for me the time that I travel to and from work has been a wonderful wonderful thing when I’m working to help me feel like I’m at least getting a bit of me time. I wonder if there are any regular trips (to the store or other errands) that could be combined with an extra 15 minutes for a cup for coffee somewhere so that that person gets a bit of alone time. It’s not huge but even a bit of time can make a huge difference.

    Good luck getting through this rough patch and finding a new normal.

  12. Oh, ladies. I am sending love your way. As others I’m sure have told you….this is more common than you think. The sleep deprivation is one of the MAJOR factors…I hope that you can find the rest you need and get through this stronger than ever. I know you will.
    xoxoxo

  13. lyn

    The sleep deprivation is HUGE. Unlike grad school, it’s constant, not cyclical. This newborn time brings out both the best and the absolute worst in any relationship. Are you looking for resources? If so, we found “The transition to parenthood” by Jay Belsky helpful, though dated, sexist in places, and written only for straight people. But other than that, we found some really useful insight into why this time is so hard. Hang in there. Keep talking.

  14. poppycat

    I am glad you plan to write about it as I think it will be cathartic for you and also give the rest of us a preview of what will need special attention as we enter into parenthood.

    Sending lots of love, strength and wishes for sleep to both of you.

  15. I’m just catching up on your last two posts, and so sorry to hear that y’all have hit a rough patch. It sounds like you know what you are doing to get back to a good place, though, and you have built some amazing foundations over the past 12 years.

    Kudos to you for writing about this–that must have been hard–and I know that the primary reason you did it is for support and to get it all out, but I think it’ll help those of us who are or who will be going through something similar in the future. It’s really thoughtful and community-oriented of you.

    I’ll be thinking of you.

  16. gypsygrrl

    keeping silence is never a way to work thru things ~ and since therapy isnt feasable, at least knowing there are loving eyes reading and ear listening just to validate the struggle, i imagine it helps a lot.

    i have a lot of respect for how you present the struggles and despite things being rocky you have never resorted to painting ugly pics of each other or blaming… you still are bumping heads as a team, and i think that is the difference.

    wish i lived close, cuz i would so totally come over to babysit and kick you both out for a date night with orders for dinner and a mindless movie to ignore and make-out in before returning home!

    much love friends,
    gypsy

  17. Next in line

    Thanks for reminding me about the preciousness of relationships and the fragility they have during this time “life with baby” transition. Sleep is such a big part of this. I barely have any words right now due to lack of sleep brain fuzziness just know that I am thinking of you both.

  18. mrsbasement

    Just another lesbian on the sidelines saying, “Good for you!”

  19. Kim

    I know this is an old post but I just found you guys (not sure how I missed you before…) and was doing some back-reading. All I can say is that it is so wonderful for you both to talk about this here. I went through a similar situation after my son was born (he is 4 now) and I would have KILLED to know there were other people going through something similar. Although my situation didn’t have spectacular results I applaud you both for the work you are doing and for sharing it with others. I wish you both the best of luck and am sure you will be able to make it all work out. 12 years is pretty amazing. Thanks again.

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