My new family <3
My new family <3

Everyone knows that having a new baby is quite an adjustment, regardless of your circumstances. Even the luckiest ladies with the easiest births, most cooperative babies and happiest families will face challenges at some point. One looming question though, in the days leading to the birth of my son was, “How will my marriage be affected?” I read all kinds of things about how marriages were affected for the better or worse… and here I am now, 15 weeks later reflecting on how my marriage has changed…both for the better and for the worse.

In some ways, having a baby has strengthened my relationship with my husband, but not in the ways I expected. We didn’t have that family bonding moment when my son was born. He was whisked off to NICU and my husband went with, while the surgeons closed me up. I yearned for that moment, thinking that it would strengthen and bond us deeper. Beyond that, I had heard stories of women saying they fell deeper in love with their husbands watching them interact with the baby. I didn’t feel this right away either, and it upset me. Instead, though, we have been bonded in other ways.

Most simply, I’ve come to realize that we have a baby together now, and no matter what happens, he and I need to remain a team. Even if our marriage were to fall apart, it would be so imperative for us to always maintain a healthy relationship for our Critter.

Furthermore, my husband became my biggest supporter with breastfeeding. I was lucky that he was on board with breastfeeding from the beginning. His mother had breastfed him and all of his siblings for a year each, and it’s all he knew. Formula was never a “normal” for him, so he didn’t ever once try to push it. In fact, he is staunchly against it. Not once did I have to work to convince him to see things my way, and for that I thank the Lord. When I was having challenges nursing, and wanted to give up, he sat beside me, holding me as I cried, telling me it’ll be okay, and reminding me that I’m doing what’s best for our baby. Moments like these are raw and scary, but beautiful in hindsight. He pulled me through my darkest, most tragic days and nights. In many ways this has strengthened us. I know he’s on my side, and has my back.

My husband and son after birth
My husband and son after birth

Now that I’m through the darkness and can see things for what they are, I’ve fallen madly in love with the way my husband interacts with Critter. At first, I was angry that he didn’t pick up on cues as easily as me, and didn’t have the instincts like me. But now, I see such a special bond between the two of them. He comes home and picks up his “Little Bear Cub” and plays with and kisses and cuddles him while I cook dinner. He adores that little man, and I know Critter adores his Daddy too.

Unfortunately, these aren’t the only effects growing a family has had. There have been negative effects that we’re learning to live through, and grow from.

Having a baby is hard.

Post partum depression is hard.

Being a woman is HARD.

Being a MOTHER is HARD!

But try being a man, a father, and a husband. Try being the sole provider while your wife and child both need to be cared for physically and emotionally. Try watching your bride practically self destruct during what you thought would be the best time of your life. Try needing your wife, and having her be present but unavailable in every sense.

New babies and marriage, it can change your relationship for better or worse…

My husband has had it tough, too. And I’ve been too focused on my problems to notice what he’s been struggling with. I haven’t been supportive of him or his needs and feelings. That is a recipe for disaster in marriage. And we’re still struggling with it. But it is just that – a struggle. We have jobs and responsibilities that demand our energy and attention, and having a baby leaves no time for nurturing our relationship…but if we accept that and continue down that path it can only mean bad things. We have 2 choices though: either we let his destroy us, or we let it help develop us. I pray for the latter.

I have been told, “Babies are home wreckers.” I refuse to allow that to be true. I refuse to blame my son for my marital challenges. After all, we created this baby as an expression of our love… so that’s what we need to pull us through. Love.

Critter at 3 weeks old
Critter at 3 weeks old

I hope to come back in a few weeks and share with you some advice for overcoming this particular challenge.

 

Did growing your family help or hurt your marriage? Share with us below your secrets for maintaining a happy marriage in order to grow a happy family!

Be sure to join us in our social media accounts to be up to date with the progress of our project!

And… Don’t forget to share your brelfies using our HT #BreastfeedingWorld

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Jaimie Zaki

Jaimie Zaki

Jaimie is a mom, an Air Force wife, and nurse who grew up in rural Maryland. She has faced many challenges with the transition to motherhood. These challenges however, helped her find her passion for educating and supporting other women throughout their journeys and challenges in breastfeeding, relationships and motherhood. She is really excited to find her voice again by writing for Breastfeeding World and helping spread the good word!
Jaimie Zaki

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