Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ch-Ch-Chaaaanges...in marriage

I had heard having a baby changes your marriage. 
Maybe I didn't hear it enough, maybe I didn't believe it, or maybe nothing would have prepared me for the changes!
Ah, another change having a baby brings. 

In some ways, the timing of Ainsley's birth was great, but in a lot of ways it was tough. She was born on the 4th day of school of Clint's last semester before graduation! He was only able to take a day off of school to help me after she was born. 

Taking care of a newborn (me) is a more than full time job and so is taking a full load of engineering courses and working (him). We kicked into survival mode and Clint did what he needed to, and I did what I needed to. 

The early days were really tough with Ainsley. She was a tough baby. My days became an endless blur of painful nursing sessions, dirty diapers, laundry, minimal sleep, and lots of crying, mostly from her. 
Clint's days were full of schoolschoolschool!! And a little working. The poor guy was insanely stressed and busy. I don't know if he went to bed before 2am the whole semester!

To say the least, we were divided. We lost our team we had spent the two previous years building. Instead of Clint and I, it was now Clint and School or Me and Ainsley. 
I honestly thought the partnership between my husband and I had ended. 
I felt my marriage full of love, respect, and adoration was over. 
Now I was a mother, and that was all I was going to be. 
Because we weren't receiving the love from each other we desired, we both began to resent each other a wee bit.
The PPD was intense. I was feeling worthless, ugly, not worthy of love. My life felt meaningless. This doesn't leave a lot of energy for doing things like writing love notes to my husband.

Clint and I have always had an incredible marriage. Really, I think it's exceptionally good. I was heartbroken that by doing what we were supposed to and having a baby, our marriage was so damaged. Making each other happy had always come natural, but now we had to work for it. 

I'm not sure how old Ainsley was, but I know it was more than two months, when Clint and I finally had a talk. You know, I think it was the first time since she was born that we had a real, heartfelt talk. We talked for hours, tears were sheds, needs addressed. It was the best thing we could have done for our marriage. I was unaware Clint felt abandoned and he didn't know I was feeling the same. We told each other how we felt, what we needed from each other, etc. We have had to have many follow-up talks since. We've tried to make going on dates occasionally a priority. We came up with a plan of when and how we would make time for each other. We put more effort into showing one another our love. 
It's getting better. A lot better. It's almost back to normal. It has taken work but it is so worth it. I'm a huge fan of marriage and I really believe just about any issue can be talked through. I'm really grateful to have such a kind husband and sweet baby. It has been a hard time in my life, but they truly make my life better. 
Marci Dawn Photography: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marci-Dawn-Photography/351726558190568

p.s. I had Clint read this before I posted it. I intend to be honest but never to incriminate my husband. He is 100% supportive of this blog. He really is an incredible husband. 


Kaycie Eddie said...

Alexis, I loved this! It just makes me so excited to have a baby. Ha. You two are such a good example of a great marriage.
And I just looked through your family pictures. They turned out SO cute! You're the cutest little family.

Brooke said...

Okay seriously what a beautiful family! And thank you for sharing this... it's so good to share the good and bad with an event like having a baby. I think a lot more people struggle with it than we realize, and hearing your perspective is so refreshing!

Kelsey said...

I struggled with something similar after having Delaynie. Alex couldn't take ANY days off school. In fact, he was hardly at the hospital (Not to be neglectful to me, but because he had classes) Then when he was home, he was studying and can't be in the same room with us because we're distracting. But then I changed my out look a little. Delaynie was sent to me to be my buddy while Alex is in school. So I have some one to make the lonely nights where Alex is studying, not so lonely. Once I realized that, I was able to stop my whining (I'm a huge whiner...) and focus on her, and not be so resentful towards Alex. We also had a good talk to express the needs we have. It's important! Marriage is awesome and so hard. You Rock!

Jenna said...

Thanks for your candor, Alexis. This is something people don't talk about enough. I felt the same way with each of my children's births. Having babies is stressful and it does place a burden on marriage. Good for you for figuring it out quickly!

K-muma&IM.LDS. said...

G'day from a reader down-under. I live in the middle of australia.
I enjoyed the read and love your honesty. xo Krystal.

Shay said...

You are the sweetest, Alexis. I love your honesty. I read an article recently that addressed the fact that when we are having a hard time personally, it is SO easy to project that onto our relationship with our spouse and think that it is something wrong with "us" not "me." Thats one thing I have really needed to work on. Loved reading this!

Leah said...

I love how honest you are, and I love even more that you let your husband read this post before you posted and that he is so supportive! That's a team, right there. As well as a beautiful family! ;)