How Relationships Change After Kids (And Why You Might Get Divorced)
Most people know having a baby won't fix a relationship, but they might not be fully aware of how relationships change after kids. Here's what you should know — and how to handle the new normal.
According to a number of studies, having a baby is the most stressful event that regularly happens to couples — and that's a statistic that flies in the face of common beliefs. The truth is that having a baby doesn't fix relationships; it just alters them permanently.
Most people who have functional relationships with the father or mother of their child will tell you to be very careful about who you choose to have a kid with. When you fully take in how relationships change after kids, you'll be likely to agree with them.
Before you plan for a baby, you may want to take the following things into consideration. After all, kids really do change everything.
First off, your partner may change.
Your partner is going through some serious stuff right now, especially if she's a new mom. Her body went through some changes, and probably is going to continue to do so. She may not feel like herself anymore; and she may not like what she sees in the mirror, either.
Most women go through a major grieving process after the baby is born. They realize that they're not the same as they used to be, and will mourn the life they used to have. They no longer have as many options as they once did; the time they spend on hobbies and travel is now gone — and it's actually sinking in.
They may also be way less happy about the baby than they thought they would be, possibly due to PPD or the drastic changes going on. Having a baby pushes most people to their limits, so you may see a side of your partner you might not have seen before.
One thing that also tends to change post-baby is sex drive, particularly with women. With all the fluctuations in hormones, many women experience both short-term and long-term disinterest in sex. So, you might want to prepare yourself for that, as well.
You'll have a lot less time for romance.
Babies are incredibly time-consuming little people! They need round-the-clock care, and for a lot of couples, that's not something that will work out well for them. If you're the kind of couple that really needs solo time and quiet, intimate nights, kids might not be a good idea.
Those who do weather the lack of "me" and "us" time often will end up relying on hardcore teamwork to get things done. Those who can't figure out a way to schedule things for even shares will typically end up resenting one another for it.
Most people who read up on how relationships change after kids already knew this was coming. However, they often don't realize how much this will cause their partners to change.
Many couples find a new dynamic going on.
Even the most progressive couples tend to see themselves reverting to traditional roles once a baby enters the picture. For some families, this may be great. For others, it may make one partner (or both) feel smothered, resentful, or even betrayed.
Nothing in the relationship will be about you or your partner anymore. Almost all the focus, at least at the beginning of your child's life, will be on the kid. Everything becomes about teamwork, rather than your own needs.
No one tells you how relationships change after kids, when it comes to your own needs — at least, not in full.
There's a good chance that arguments and resentment may happen more often.
Babies are really, really high maintenance. That's why relationships change after kids; and at times, that change can be permanent. The first year or so of your baby's life will be the most taxing, since newborns require constant attention and care.
A lot of people tend to feel overworked due to the toll a baby can take on "me" time or sleep — especially if one partner's absent most of the day. Since babies are expensive, you might also end up feeling more strained on a financial level, too. This can spark arguments, resentment, and at times, even divorce.
Heck, even hormones can make your partner hate you. Thankfully, that issue is temporary and usually passes within a couple of months.
Have heart, though. It's not always permanent nor is it unpreventable. With enough teamwork, you both can get through the hardest times. It does get better, and if you both work towards a "new normal," you'll find yourself getting stronger than ever before.
It's very possible that you'll stop nurturing your relationship with your partner the way you should — and it might be due to social pressure.
There's a whole culture involved in showing you're "mom enough" to be a good parent...and that's not good for relationships. While the intentions are good, the truth is that social pressures often tell new parents that their needs and relationships no longer matter — and that it's all about the baby now.
As a result, many parents, especially new moms, stop putting effort into their relationship the way they should. The truth is that this is a trap a lot of parents fall into. If you feel like this is an issue in your relationship, the best way to handle this is to talk to your spouse, and schedule date night for you two.
The truth is that having a kid is (very) rough on both parents. Momma (or Daddy) might do better with a little time away from her baby, even if it doesn't feel that way right then and there.
Despite everything, you may notice that having a kid is something that brings you closer together.
You never can be certain how relationships change after kids with your spouse, because no two people handle a new baby the same way. Despite all the trouble, most people will tell you it's worth it because of the bond it gives you with your partner — and the amazing way you'll feel when your child tells you how awesome the two of you are.
About the author
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of NJ. You can message her via Twitter on @bluntandwitty or via Instagram on @ossiana.makes.content. She's always looking for freelance work and collabs!