Recently I read a blog post about relationship problems after having children and I found it quite interesting because I could really relate to it, but I realised that it was something I haven’t actually spoken about on my blog before. I guess it’s a subject that not many people like to talk about and I’m not really sure why, because a lot of people I know have hit a rocky patch of some description after having children.
I had only been with Mr. C for a few months before falling pregnant, so our relationship hadn’t really had a chance to settle or establish itself. Everything changed really quickly and suddenly we went from being two separate people who had just started seeing each other to a family, which included this, beautiful little baby.
We actually settled into being parents quite easily, but I think the major problem for us was actually Mr. C’s parents. When I was pregnant, his business was only possible because of his parents funding it and they threatened to no longer invest if Mr. C moved down south. So I was kind of pushed into moving up north initially.
Things started to get really difficult over those first few months of becoming a mum, I really didn’t like that his parents had control over our finances, I was really, really lonely because I had no support around me and I found it very difficult having to give up my life, turn down my dream graduate job and my ambitions to move to the other side of the country. I actively tried to combat the loneliness, so I looked at going to baby groups to try and meet some other mums. However, I found a lot of the groups for babies weren’t due to start for a while and although there were a couple on at the local children’s centre, they were ‘invitation only’, which meant that these were only open to people on benefits, which we aren’t, so I therefore couldn’t go. This left me feeling very isolated and unsupported, which resulted in me developing Post Natal Depression.
Having Post Natal Depression was a really big test on our relationship. I would have really severe mood swings, I would get really upset over really small things and myself and Mr. C ended up arguing a lot. The longer I was isolated, the more we argued, the worse my Post Natal Depression got. So I decided to see a counsellor and address what was going on.
The counsellor actually suggested that Mr. C came to one of the sessions, so we could address how controlling his parents were together, which it turned out was a really big factor to me being so unwell. I think having an outside source meditate between myself and Mr. C was a really big thing for us, because it made Mr. C realise the just how unwell our situation was making me and he started taking steps to change it. It also gave us the opportunity to be a lot more open with other and talk about what we were finding difficult and gradually things got a lot better.
When I had Monkey, we were in an entirely different situation, but Monkey suffered with really bad colic and reflux and we found the sleep deprivation really difficult. We got quite snappy with each other and would bicker about stupid things like laundry. We were so tired, we didn’t really have the energy to spend quality time together, we became less like a couple and more like ships passing in the night, which isn’t exactly ideal.
So as soon as Monkey started sleeping better, we started doing date night. We don’t really have the option of going anywhere, because it’s very, very rare that we have childcare, but just because we can’t go out doesn’t mean we can’t have a date night. Every two weeks we make a point of shutting down our laptops and phones to spend some quality time together. Whether that be sitting at the dinner table just talking for a few hours, renting a film and snuggling up with a hot chocolate or cooking ourselves a fancy three course meal. Regardless of how tired we are, we make sure we do it because we think it’s really important to continually invest in our relationship in order to keep it going well.
I think sleep deprivation played a big part in us struggling a little bit as a couple when we first became parents, but I think that we were also so focused on the boys, that we forgot to invest in our relationship and to look after ourselves as well. Now the boys are a bit older and a little bit more independent, it’s easier to spend time as a couple and to look after ourselves, which has resulted in our relationship being a lot healthier. Having children has definitely made navigating our relationship a lot more difficult, but I think that weathering the storms together and coming out the other side together, has made us much stronger as a family and after all isn’t that what family is all about?