Lately, I’ve been having these dreams…romantic dreams. Not sexual, just romantic, but painfully romantic. You know, the way romance felt when you were a super-hormonal teenager, and just a fleeting glance from your crush could send you into a tizzy? Those kinds of dreams.
I’m sure it’s my subconscious’s way of telling me that romance is almost absent from my life right now. This probably has something to do with there being a newborn and a toddler in the house, who (as lovely as they are) suck up pretty much all the energy and affection me and my husband have to offer. No one really tells you what distance introducing a baby into the family can place between husband and wife, at least for a while.
Sure, women have penned magazine articles and blog posts on babies adding tension to a relationship, but few moms, even many of my friends, are willing to come clean about how rocky (or worse, platonic) things can get after you give birth.
In the six weeks since Baby J arrived, my husband and I have barely seen each other. I mean, sure, we see each other in the few hours each day after he gets home from work, but they’re completely consumed by dinner, dishes, two bedtime routines, bills, talk of work and daily minutiae, and maybe, just maybe, a half hour to sit on the couch and decompress in front of a mindless TV show. Then, after a quick goodnight kiss, we retire to separate bedrooms for the night.
During the two weeks of my husband’s paternity leave, we discovered a couple of things: Baby J is loud at night, with all her little newborn grunting as she squirms around; and my insomniac husband cannot sleep through the noise. We decided for everyone’s sanity that separate bedrooms is the way to go for the time being. I sleep with the baby in her bassinet at my bedside, and my husband is on-call in the guest room in case A wakes up.
So right now, it feels like we’re little more than roommates. There, I said it.
Even when we exchange a hug and kiss goodnight, or goodbye before work in the morning, I have to physically distance myself from my husband, since contact with the incision from my c-section is still pretty uncomfortable.
It doesn’t help that I’m not feeling particularly desirable right now, either. My body is hanging onto the last bit of baby weight, and I’m stuck in almost-too-big maternity clothes or still-too-tight “fat jeans.” That haircut I scheduled for the week before my due date never happened, so my hair is completely overgrown and unruly. And too frequently, I smell faintly of spit-up, regardless of the fact that I can rarely locate the source.
Frumpiness and exhaustion do not equate with romance.
You know, it seems like moms are totally willing to dish on their kids: their bad behaviors, their aggravating habits, etc., etc. We overanalyze ourselves as parents, but we rarely speak candidly about our marriages. Is it because we’re afraid of others judging our relationships and doubting their stability, because we can divorce our spouses, but we’re stuck with our “annoying” kids forever?
I know this phase of my marriage, with all its challenges, will pass; I’ve been here before. And I know I’m not the only one with a room-mantic marriage right now. That’s why I’m not afraid to admit that it’s tough. We’ll get back to where we were with baby steps (no pun intended), like spending a whole, uninterrupted, TV-free hour together this weekend.
How did having a newborn in the house change your relationship? (Feel free to leave an anonymous comment, if you like.)