Relationships are important. The ones with ourselves, our children, our parents, our friends and our partner.
Today on my 8th wedding anniversary I want to talk to you about your partner relationship and why it is important for your health.
As new parents together life is new, overwhelming and for many the happiest times of our lives. Why is it that 67% of new parents feel dissatisfied with their relationship when they bring the baby home?
Firstly, I believe it is all connected to the information that it isn’t discussed with new mums and dads to be about pregnancy, labour and parenting little people. There are jokes and little comments alluding to the changes that will occur but the shear magnitude of how this may impact your relationship is kept hidden away along with the impact on a woman’s body and both your minds.
Some women go through a traumatic birth experience and are left with birth injuries that may take a long time to heal. This can change how many women feel about their bodies and may make them embarrassed or ashamed to talk to their partners about this.
However, I don’t want to go on too much more about the impact on our sex lives as new mothers as that is a conversation we will have in the near future.
I want to instead give you an insight into my experience.
From the moment we went on our first date, Simon has never been afraid to show how much he loves me. I am very lucky to have always felt incredibly secure despite a bad experience in the past. Part of what drew me to him was the fact he wasn’t willing to play games and he was vulnerable and laid himself bare for me to see. We got married 2 years after we met and had our first child 4 years after we had met. 3 children in, 2 businesses and good bit of heartbreak along the way and I love him more now than before.
But this isn’t always apparent for him. I have made no secret of the fact I have struggled with my mental health during and after the birth of our 3rd child and he has also struggled a little as well. I am high maintenance and a constant worrier anyway but add in poor mental health and 3 children to run around after then this was going to put a strain on any partnership.
We went from being a partnership to being in competition with each other. Who was working harder? who was more tired? who was doing the most in the house? I would argue it was undoubtedly me for the first 2 questions and the 3rd was a little more even but if it ever tipped then Simon was the one picking up the slack. But I understand me being more tired and overworked didn’t mean he wasn’t feeling those things too and failure to validate that caused many a fight.
Our daily routine was snapping at each other, passing off children when we needed to get to work and collapsing on the sofa at night to watch tv, scrolling on our phones barely uttering 2 words to each other. Never sharing our bed just the 2 of us because our daughter will not sleep. Date nights are rare and while we had fun we got home and just settled back into the same old sniping. I found myself wondering if we would survive this stage like everyone said we would. That it was just life as parents after all.
But like with everything else that we want to succeed at, our relationship needs work, care and attention. New ways to make it exciting and fresh, mixed with the comfort of familiar. Coming from parents that have both separated neither of us wants that to happen to us.
My love for my husband is like no other. I love my children just as fiercely but it is a different love. I spend my time helping them grow into respectful, loving people who can care for themselves but I know if I have done my job they will leave me and start to live their life separately from me. We will always have a mother/child bond and I would die for any of them. All 3 share the same love from me.
But for my Simon it is different. I love no one like I love him. I chose him for who he is. i chose him to be the person I grew old with. To be there at my most beautiful moments and my most painful. To know me in the most intimate ways and to love me because of who I am, flaws and all and I will do the same for him. And despite the unrealistic world we are sold in the movies our happy ending doesn’t come in finding that love.
Like our own physical health sometimes our relationships can be destroyed by one big disease hitting us and destroying the love we had or it could be a slow burner and little by little the small choices we make in our relationships chip away at the love and companionship we once had and before you know it you don’t know each other anymore and that love has withered away and you won’t get it back.
It is ok to take steps to prevent this. It’s ok to get a babysitter or put the kids to bed early or put the tv on to entertain them just so you can spend some time with your partner. It’s ok to put your relationship first. Your children don’t need your attention all of the time.
Time and time again I hear the same old ‘if you make it through the first year of parenting then you can make it through anything’ and it is so untrue. We will go through tough times again and again in our lives and we have to do what we can to protect and nurture our relationship the way we do for our children.
Your physical and mental health will thank you. Your partner will thank you and your children will thank you too.