Relationship Struggles since the birth.... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 32 Old 01-06-2011, 10:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm new here, so forgive me if I don't use the proper abbreviations for everything. 

 

I gave birth to our son 6 months ago and now my partner and I's relationship is suffering greatly.  We knew it would be hard, but this is SOOOOOOOOOO much harder than we ever dreamed.  Here's some info

 

- both excited to have children, agreed I would carry 1st and her 2nd (though now she's unsure of carrying #2 - which is fine with me, I'd love to carry again)

 

- she was awesome during labor and birth

 

- 1st two weeks after birth, she felt like I was a "burden" as I was in bed and healing for 2 weeks.  Went to therapy and things started to get a little better. Though I still have some resentment that I'm going back into individual therapy to work on.

 

- I went back to work 8 hours a week for the fall semester. She went back to her regular 32 hours a week to a job she hates.  I start next week at 12 hours a week.  She is resentful of me being at home (besides my hours working) with our son AND it's especially been bad since she hates her work. 

 

- We have a family bed with our son (queen sized - we need a king!) thus, not much snuggling happening and often she sleeps in guest room on days when she has to get up early for work so she gets more sleep.  (our son isn't a cryer and wakes/fusses a little to let me know he needs to nurse but then we go right back to sleep, we are having success with pocket diapers in the night, so no need for diaper changes either).

 

- We are heading back into therapy to work through this.  We are both highly skilled in conflict resolution and skillful communication, but of course, all of that falls by the way side, we get triggered and resort to old (unheathly and often hurtful) patterns of interacting.

 

I would just love to get some insight from others who have struggled and got through it or are gettting through it, and ideas to bring intimacy back into our lives (though I have zero sex drive). I would like to know that I'm not alone.

 

best.


Ema to my dear son (inseminated at home with frozen donor sperm) born on 6/25/10. h20homebirth.gifnocirc.gif selectivevax.gif familybed1.gif femalesling.GIF bftoddler.gif cd.gifWife to my dear partner.  rainbow1284.gif goorganic.jpg  hang.gif  sewmachine.gif   blogging.jpg.

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#2 of 32 Old 01-07-2011, 06:49 AM
 
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I don't have advice, really, but a lot of sympathy.  My son is almost 2, and my relationship with my partner is only finally getting back on track.  My sex drive was nil while I was nursing, and I had to do a lot of reassuring that it was hormonal (no ovulation, no sex drive) and not personal.  On top of that, due to a rather traumatic (e.g., unexpectedly premature) birth, my partner got hit with a serious case of depression that lasted for a good 18 months.  It was really hard, and my faith in us is still a little shaken, really.  We ended up struggling over limited resources instead of working together or taking care of each other.  That makes me worry about what will happen with future life stresses, you know?

 

I guess my only advice is you're REALLY not alone in this, and to keep working on honest and kind communication.  It does get easier as the baby gets older, and you get more used to the new way of things.  We'll all be here cheering you on.


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#3 of 32 Old 01-08-2011, 07:59 AM
 
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hug2.gif you're not alone!


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#4 of 32 Old 01-08-2011, 05:32 PM
 
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Hi there, queermama, and welcome to MDC!  I just read "She Looks Just Like You" which is a memoir of a non-gestational lesbian mom.  Prior to having their child, they'd been together for eighteen years and their relationship took a tailspin in their first year of mothering.  It was a great read, and sounds like it speaks to some of the things you and your partner are going through.

 

ETA: About bringing intimacy back into your life ... I'm going to speak for myself and my partner here.  We'd both been in prior relationships that had suffered from Lesbian Bed Death and part of our commitment to each other in our marriage is to a healthy sex life.  We make it happen, whether or not we're both on the same page at the time we've set (yes, dates seems to be required with an infant/child at home).  We roll in the hay, have a good laugh, get physically close, and always end up DTD, even if we were a little distracted/annoyed/frustrated/lonely/indifferent/resentful to begin with.  I knew that being a nursing mom would dampen the fires for me, but what I've noticed is that yes, my desire for sex waned (and I'm still nursing two years later with the same effect) but my ability to enjoy it once we get going has not.  In fact, it's better than before.  I think too often women believe that both parties need to be horny, but I've learned over the years and the girlfriends that this is not the case.  Make a commitment to do it anyway.  Again, I speak just for DP and myself here. 


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#5 of 32 Old 01-08-2011, 06:34 PM
 
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Queermama, you're definitely not alone.  While I'm pregnant with our first child, we did adopt two older children 4 years and it almost cost us our marriage.  I suffered from some post-adoption depression and dealing with all of the kid stuff and the transition really strained our relationship. 

 

One of the things I really related to in your post was the stress around the work/stay-at-home.  I was the partner who left her job to take a parental leave to be with the kids.  Yes, they were in school full-time (which really is only 5.5 hours a day), but with all of their appointments (drs, dentist, psychologist, school + activities + issues) I never really had much down time.  My DW did get a bit resentful when I wasn't able to get to the housework or the meal prep as she didn't really grasp what the day entailed.  She felt like she was slaving away at work, when I was sitting at home on my ass.  It wasn't until I went away for a few days and she was left caring for the kids that she got a true appreciation of what it was like to be the primary parent.  I also didn't necessarily have a full appreciation of the pressure that was on her to be the bread winner, to support our family, and to have to be the one to go to work everyday.  Having children creates a huge role shift in any relationship, and that takes time to work through which is completely normal.

 

With respect to intimacy, I think that's different for everyone.  My DW and I are able to remain emotionally intimate, despite the waning of sexual intimacy.  That happened with the kids' adoption and now in my pregnancy (physically right now, I hurt and really great sex just isn't an option as I'm not so much able to move with much grace or fluidity or without assistance).  I'm assuming that it will continue on through the early newborn months.  We remain close, connected and intimate in other ways, openly talk about sex, and find other ways to keep sexually in-tune.  We also laugh a lot about it.  For us, as long as we still desire one another, we know that we can make it through.  Talking, touching, kissing, laughing, dancing, making out, nourishing each other with food, inserting romance with small gestures is how we're maintaining intimacy in the absence of lots of sex.


DW and I are moms to two teens (DD 17 and DS 15) adopted through CAS in 2007 and a toddler (DD 2) born at home in March 2011.

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#6 of 32 Old 01-08-2011, 10:30 PM
 
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Chiming in with another "you're not alone!" I think the impact of having DD has had on our relationship is the biggest surprise for me about having a child! I have always heard people say how much having children brought them closer together and how amazing it is to share that, etc. For awhile I wondered how the hell that was possible! I realize now that these were people whose children were older now and out of the intensity of newbornism. DP and I argue A LOT now...about really small, insignificant things. It drives me crazy, upsets me and I hate it. But I'm trying to work on things and cut us both some slack as we both learn how to become moms and how our relationship has changed. It's getting better but it's still hard not to get caught up in the little things or the emotional intensity of becoming a parent. I try and focus on the big picture and enjoy every moment. It helps.

 

Good luck!


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#7 of 32 Old 01-09-2011, 08:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gumshoegirl007 View Post
...I also didn't necessarily have a full appreciation of the pressure that was on her to be the bread winner, to support our family, and to have to be the one to go to work everyday...

 

With respect to intimacy, I think that's different for everyone.  My DW and I are able to remain emotionally intimate, despite the waning of sexual intimacy.  That happened with the kids' adoption and now in my pregnancy (physically right now, I hurt and really great sex just isn't an option as I'm not so much able to move with much grace or fluidity or without assistance).  I'm assuming that it will continue on through the early newborn months.  We remain close, connected and intimate in other ways, openly talk about sex, and find other ways to keep sexually in-tune.  We also laugh a lot about it.  For us, as long as we still desire one another, we know that we can make it through.  Talking, touching, kissing, laughing, dancing, making out, nourishing each other with food, inserting romance with small gestures is how we're maintaining intimacy in the absence of lots of sex.

Getting up with the kids every day means you're also the one going to work everyday... I totally know you know that, but still had to point it out. winky.gif

 

This is also how Sonja and I remain close. We make sure that if we're getting cranky with each other, we make time for a little snuggling and smooching. It almost always helps. Yes, that sometimes means we have to skip doing something else, but it is SO worth it.
 


I'm a queer, poly, pagan, (dis)abled, crazy, crunchy, intersectionally-minded feminist. fsonj & I are mamas to our unschooled/freeschooled 12yo & 3yo!  (Ask me about co-breastfeeding, supplementing at the breast, inducing lactation, eating placentas, undisturbed birth, and parenting a genderqueer child with Aspergers!)
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#8 of 32 Old 01-09-2011, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you all for your insights.  it is great to know that I am not alone.  keeping my chin up, one day at a time!  You'll be hearing more from me, I'm certain!  Again, Thanks!


Ema to my dear son (inseminated at home with frozen donor sperm) born on 6/25/10. h20homebirth.gifnocirc.gif selectivevax.gif familybed1.gif femalesling.GIF bftoddler.gif cd.gifWife to my dear partner.  rainbow1284.gif goorganic.jpg  hang.gif  sewmachine.gif   blogging.jpg.

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#9 of 32 Old 01-10-2011, 08:42 AM
 
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Thanks Queermama for bringing this up and thank you all for the responses.  So much of this is the same as what we are going through.  Our son is just over a year and, unfortunately, it is now even worse than it was before (although for MANY it is getting better by this time.)  My partner works all the time so that we can afford to live and she is down and resentful that she is working all the time, while I am "playing."  I am exhausted by a son that still doesn't sleep through the night and doing 95% of the child care myself.  Also, I do work one day a week but even if I worked 5 days, I would end up bringing it the amount of money my spouse makes in a month and minus childcare costs it would so much less than that even.  So I could put the baby in daycare, work full-time, and it still wouldn't give my partner much of a break if we want to live in the expensive city we live in.  I also feel stuck and am having a hard time problem solving because I am so exhausted.  And we are both really lonely and can't seem to help each other out of it because we are so extremely busy.  And each needs to be taken care of and doesn't have much left to take care of someone else.  Further, I'm embarrassed that this is so hard for us.  We have many friends with similar aged children and none of them seem to find this as hard as we do.  And I have outright asked.  While they can relate in many ways, it isn't the "crisis" for them that it seems to be for us.  I agree, however, with the schedule some sex aspect.  We do that and it works, b/c even if I'm not in the mood, I get there and it pays off a lot to have that connection.  Also, despite all this, I passionately want another child - even though I know it makes NO SENSE since we can't even handle one and two will be that much more work.  But wanting/having children doesn't come from a rational place anyway.  My partner, reasonably, does not want another and so we are at odds with each other over the fundamentals of what comes next for the family.  This decision can't wait very long as we are both significantly older parents already.  It helps to hear that others have struggled similarly and lessens the sense of shame and failure I have that we can't manage to do what others do easily, but also I would welcome any and all concrete tips that others have for how to get through this.  ???  We are looking for a couples therapist now which of course is a good idea but seriously do all the good ideas also have to come with serious roadblocks as well - ie Spending a LOT more money when money is a stress, and finding childcare, when childcare and the cost and the difficulty finding someone are also super stressful?  Timely post mama.  I hope it starts to look up soon. 

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#10 of 32 Old 01-13-2011, 06:48 PM
 
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How are you doing Queermama?

 

In addition to the "She looks just like you" book mentioned above (great book!), I somewhat hesitantly suggest the book "The Transition to Parenthood" by Jay Belsky.  It's a qualitative sociological look at why some couples have relationships that improve dramatically after the birth of a first child, and some (many) have a relationships that take a precipitous decline.  My hesitation is that the book is dates (80s), somewhat sexist in places, and of course contains only straight couples, but if you can take it for what it is and read between the lines it might be helpful.  It was for us.

 


I'm Lyn (32) wife to Gail (38) Mama to Leigh (born 6/06 ,via Gail) and Ira (born 5/09, via me)
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#11 of 32 Old 01-19-2011, 06:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you all for your support and the book suggestions! 


Ema to my dear son (inseminated at home with frozen donor sperm) born on 6/25/10. h20homebirth.gifnocirc.gif selectivevax.gif familybed1.gif femalesling.GIF bftoddler.gif cd.gifWife to my dear partner.  rainbow1284.gif goorganic.jpg  hang.gif  sewmachine.gif   blogging.jpg.

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#12 of 32 Old 01-20-2011, 12:01 PM
 
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At the risk of being unpopular, I'd say if you're crunchy or AP-oriented at all, I would NOT recommend "She Looks Just Like You". I, personally, found it rather horrifying. shake.gif

 

I also found the author seriously irritating anyway. lol


I'm a queer, poly, pagan, (dis)abled, crazy, crunchy, intersectionally-minded feminist. fsonj & I are mamas to our unschooled/freeschooled 12yo & 3yo!  (Ask me about co-breastfeeding, supplementing at the breast, inducing lactation, eating placentas, undisturbed birth, and parenting a genderqueer child with Aspergers!)
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#13 of 32 Old 01-20-2011, 12:03 PM
 
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Yes, "She Looks Just Like You" is far from AP, but I do think her experiences with her partner might be helpful to folks who are struggling. 


dust.gifFour-eyed tattooed fairy godmother queer, mama to my lucky star (5) and little bird (2.5). Resident storyteller at www.thestoryforest.com. Enchanting audiostories for curious kids. Come play in the forest!
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#14 of 32 Old 01-20-2011, 08:14 PM
 
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ErtheMama--What was horrifying about it?  Just that they didn't nurse for very long or did more rankle than that?  (I'm genuinely curious)  

 

I agree it wasn't really AP, but then, it's not a parenting book.  As starling & diesel says, the writing about her struggles with her partner, which do seem to stem at least partially from conflict around division of labor and outside work, is what seems relevant here (though for the author, it was the non-bio-mom doing most of the caretaking). Less relevant for the OP, I'm just grateful there's a book out there describing the lesbian non-bio-mom experience in nitty-gritty detail, not matter the approach to parenting overall.  Other than this book, pretty much the only other thing out there is the Aizley "Other Mother" anthology (which is OK and a few of the essays are great, but if we're talking about books that rankle, there are some essays in there that make me want to crawl out of my skin).

 

Always interesting to hear the different takes.  (oh, and I guarantee you the Belsky book I mentioned isn't AP at all, and had plenty of other problems, but again, still potentially useful)


I'm Lyn (32) wife to Gail (38) Mama to Leigh (born 6/06 ,via Gail) and Ira (born 5/09, via me)
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#15 of 32 Old 01-22-2011, 07:59 AM
 
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I am so sorry to hear that you and your partner are struggling in this way.

 

My wife and I separated 14 months after the birth of our fourth son (perhaps notably: the first of our children whom she gestated; I gestated the first three), and are in the process of getting divorced. I do not believe that our relationship struggles are as simple as post-baby adjustment stuff, but I do think that the tender postpartum time did help to bring a lot of our well-overlooked relationship shortcomings to the surface. It was partially in contemplating that we were now--after seven intense years of parenting--done with making babies that our relationship started to falter.

 

I really don't feel like I'm in any place to give relationship advice at this point, but I will say that my wife and I were definitely of the mindset that it didn't matter that much that our relationship was lacking in sexual intimacy while our kids were so young, and I very much disagree with that notion now.

 

I will also say that the experience of Non-gestational parenthood was a much bigger issue for us than I ever anticipated it would be. I struggled very much in becoming the NGP (though it was something I desperately wanted to do), and I think, in retrospect, that my wife did, too, when I gestated our first three kids. I wish we had been able to talk about these issues more openly and to more graciously support each other in claiming the experience and becoming our kids' mothers.

 

Best of luck,

 

Lex


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#16 of 32 Old 01-22-2011, 08:09 AM
 
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Lex -- hug2.gif

 

All manner of peace and support coming your way.

 

Thinking of you and your family....


Mommy to an amazing 8 year old, wife to an inspiring principal, and welcoming Wylie Grace! Our July 4th babe!
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#17 of 32 Old 01-22-2011, 12:59 PM
 
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Wow, Lex, I had no idea! I'm sorry. hug2.gif


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lyn_ftst View Post

ErtheMama--What was horrifying about it?  Just that they didn't nurse for very long or did more rankle than that?  (I'm genuinely curious)  

 

I agree it wasn't really AP, but then, it's not a parenting book.  As starling & diesel says, the writing about her struggles with her partner, which do seem to stem at least partially from conflict around division of labor and outside work, is what seems relevant here (though for the author, it was the non-bio-mom doing most of the caretaking). Less relevant for the OP, I'm just grateful there's a book out there describing the lesbian non-bio-mom experience in nitty-gritty detail, not matter the approach to parenting overall.  Other than this book, pretty much the only other thing out there is the Aizley "Other Mother" anthology (which is OK and a few of the essays are great, but if we're talking about books that rankle, there are some essays in there that make me want to crawl out of my skin).

 

Always interesting to hear the different takes.  (oh, and I guarantee you the Belsky book I mentioned isn't AP at all, and had plenty of other problems, but again, still potentially useful)


The part that I found horrifying in particular was how they let their nine-month-old scream in her crib alone for over two and a half hours just so she would supposedly be more independent with her sleeping patterns. There are other aspects that I'm not fond of, but that issue really takes the cake for me. While I realise it is not a book about parenting per say, writing about negative parenting behaviours can normalise them, and behaving that way should not be "normal".

 

I'm also not a fan of the relationship dynamics displayed in that book. It seemed to me like they really worked hard at ignoring each other and their struggles.

 

All in all, I suppose that the book just wasn't for me. ;)


I'm a queer, poly, pagan, (dis)abled, crazy, crunchy, intersectionally-minded feminist. fsonj & I are mamas to our unschooled/freeschooled 12yo & 3yo!  (Ask me about co-breastfeeding, supplementing at the breast, inducing lactation, eating placentas, undisturbed birth, and parenting a genderqueer child with Aspergers!)
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#18 of 32 Old 01-22-2011, 04:51 PM
 
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Lex ... It's good to see you here.  I'm so sorry to hear about the difficult transition your family is going through.  Know that a beautiful constellation of sparking, brilliant stars is still a constellation, no matter what the new arrangement is.  


dust.gifFour-eyed tattooed fairy godmother queer, mama to my lucky star (5) and little bird (2.5). Resident storyteller at www.thestoryforest.com. Enchanting audiostories for curious kids. Come play in the forest!
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#19 of 32 Old 01-23-2011, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks all for sharing about your experiences in life and with the books.  my partner and I interviewed a new therapist last week and now we are trying to schedule an appointment with her.  since my first post, I'm noticing some things rise to the surface that I wasn't aware of.  My partner used to have an eating disorder and was a size 0 when we met.  One year before our son was born, she finally quit smoking and faced her disordered eating.  Since she has put on weight and is a healthy (and sexy/curvy i will add) size 6.  But she has expressed (through projections) that she is not comfortable in her body and being intimate with me ("you don't want to touch me because I'm fat", she says... when in fact I have tried to touch her and she pushes me away).  This, with her unhappiness in her job, and the stress of a new baby... ugh.  Couples therapy is gonna be FUUUUNNNN!   And I'm not happy either and feel like I don't have a confidant that I can confide in - in the way that I really want to.  As I said before, i need my own therapist (but money is always an issue with me working less) and I just want the space to unload in a horribly unskillful way by just saying "she... she... she..." before I begin to look inward at myself.  So here goes a lil... "She won't communicate, she dissociates or deflects", "She won't take action to make changes in her job", "She doesn't touch me", "She doesn't acknowledge the work I do inside (and outside) of the home while also taking GREAT care of our son".  "anytime we have a mild arguement, she always jumps on the 'this isn't working' or 'we should split' or 'we don't love each other' train (again, all deflections to what is really going on)". And she's taken to lying about little things "yes, I called the therapist" or "I'll be home right after work" but then goes to the gym and I find her swimsuit wet in the back seat of her car.  ugh.  I know I'm no perfect angel either, but thanks again for listening. 

 

the thing is, when both of us are being skillful and listening to each other, we can see that on the surface we are doing okay, beneath that we are struggling, and beneath that we are a wreck,  but beneath all of that, we really have a strong loving bond and are just fine.   

 

again, thanks for listening.

 

best


Ema to my dear son (inseminated at home with frozen donor sperm) born on 6/25/10. h20homebirth.gifnocirc.gif selectivevax.gif familybed1.gif femalesling.GIF bftoddler.gif cd.gifWife to my dear partner.  rainbow1284.gif goorganic.jpg  hang.gif  sewmachine.gif   blogging.jpg.

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#20 of 32 Old 01-23-2011, 01:05 PM
 
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I hop it feels better to get that stuff off your chest. :) I really hope the therapist helps; it seems like you have a good grip on what's happening. hug2.gif


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#21 of 32 Old 01-25-2011, 12:28 PM
 
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Greetings, all. Thank you OP for starting this thread. I am so relieved to hear that I'm not the only one struggling with relationship issues, especially in the sex/intimacy department.

 

We've been together since 1993 and our relationship has never been perfect, but we have very strong devotion to each other and have seen each other through a lot (notably the death of my mother & the death of her father). Even though we had weathered a lot of storms together, starting TTC was a huge stressor on our relationship. It was just such an emotional roller coaster for me (the one trying to get pregnant) and all the money & legal issues were just very, very stressful. We started seeing a therapist about 6 months after we started TTC, and that was very helpful.

 

I finally conceived and our DD was born in October 2008. The labor and delivery was traumatic for me, and I have felt like something broke in our relationship through the long labor, the traumatic birth (via c-section), and the really hard recovery that followed. And for me, sleep deprivation made me completely crazy. I was really miserable most of the time for the first year of DD's life, and my partner retreated from me as her own protective mechanism. Therapy actually made things worse....we'd go to the sessions and all this junk would come to the surface, and our therapist was not very skilled in helping us move through it. It felt more like wallowing. At any rate, I left every session feeling like I wanted a divorce, and I eventually ended the therapy because it was harming our relationship.

 

Fast forward, now DD is over 2 years old, we've made tons of progress in the sleep department, my body has healed quite a bit, and I am no longer convinced that divorce is inevitable. My partner and I are working very hard to create time & space that is just for us as a couple. It seems impossible that we'll ever have sex again, but I keep reminding myself that we've come this far....

 

Anyway, thanks to everyone for sharing your story. This is hard stuff to talk about.

 


Living in Wisconsin with my partner of 20+ years and our DDenergy.gif(Born 10/09/08 ribboncesarean.gif). Why CI Mama? Because I love contact improvisation!

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#22 of 32 Old 01-25-2011, 01:42 PM
 
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CI Mama, thanks for sharing your story, as well.

i agree that this thread is a good one. while my relationship is fairly strong right now, i'm having a lot of worries about the postpartum period. i have been following this thread religiously and it has already helped calm some of my fears while simultaneously keeping me well aware of what could lie ahead.

thank you all for being brave in publicly discussing this difficult topic.

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#23 of 32 Old 01-25-2011, 02:26 PM
 
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You know this is an ongoing hard issue that we have had to deal with during the last 4 years. I have been the gestational parent for DS, the two M/C and the current one in progress. Between morning sickness, recooperation, and nursing our sex life has not been stellar in the least and therefore our realtionship has really suffered. I agree with the other posters that have stated that it is not really the "sex" that is important but taking time to be with each other as partners not as mommies. As you can imagine we have had some rough times over the last 4 years (not including DP's grandparents' deaths (her support system when she was growing up). We have come along way over the last 2 months which I credit the "mommy time" as the biggest change. I think that we have such a hard time getting pregnant, with such a dedication to parenting our children that we let them take over... It won't kill them to stay with a sitter for a night, watch a movie that you normally wouldn't put on, or sleep by themselves while you sneak away to have some fun. Now I just need to remember that lol.gif

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#24 of 32 Old 01-27-2011, 10:50 AM
 
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I'm glad this thread is here. DW and I have been together for 4 years and DD is now 3 mo old. It's been so much harder since her birth than I anticipated. I'm not worried about the sex department (that's been better since having the baby- weird!) but it seems like we bicker more often now. She doesn't like to be told what to do (that's a huge understatement) and I want things done a certain way with DD. We can't even blame sleep deprivation since DD has been STTN for over a month now. I think some of our issues are stemming from her being the SAHM. She was so excited to quit her job but she seems like she's in a bad mood all the time now. I feel like I do more "work" than her. Yesterday I worked a half day. I took care of DD all morning, worked half a day then took care of her til bed time. And yet DW was in a grouchy mood because the half day she took care of DD, apparently DD was cranky. :( So our night sucked because of it. Not cool!

 

I also feel like she doesn't take care of DD as well as I do. That's horrible to say, but she takes care of her needs just fine, but I feel like the playing, interacting, snuggles, kisses, etc are lacking. It's REALLY hard to talk to her about it without making her feel like crap. I'm just not sure what to do. We're just at the beginning of this journey and I don't know if it just seems bad or hard and it'll work itself out? Or if we need to "do something" about it and change something. :(

 


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#25 of 32 Old 01-27-2011, 12:57 PM
 
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Monarchgrrl, your DW sounds much like I did when I was the SAHM when we adopted our two children.  While I wanted to take a leave from my job and take care of the kids for that 8 month period, I wasn't prepared for how difficult that adjustment truly was.  I lost my career, my identity, and found that taking care of the kids was really, really challenging. I felt alone, not very supported and was flailing. There was never a break from being that primary caregiver, which left me exhausted much of the time.  In retrospect, I was suffering from post-adoption depression.  What I was experiencing was nothing that I had expected!
 

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I also feel like she doesn't take care of DD as well as I do. That's horrible to say, but she takes care of her needs just fine, but I feel like the playing, interacting, snuggles, kisses, etc are lacking. It's REALLY hard to talk to her about it without making her feel like crap. I'm just not sure what to do. We're just at the beginning of this journey and I don't know if it just seems bad or hard and it'll work itself out? Or if we need to "do something" about it and change something. :(

 

 

This comment really resonates with me as I feel this kind of judgment from my DW when it comes to parenting styles.  I take the kids to all their appointments, deal with much of their school issues and homework, get them to their activities, chaperone play dates, make sure they have what they need, do things with them that are usually errand based, and she doesn't think that I spend quality time with them.  I take care of their needs - both physical and emotional.  She helps out or supports this stuff, but is also more likely to play with them. 

 

Our kids are teenagers, so I feel we do more talking, I don't feel the need and nor do they express it, to play all of the time.  I think kids need different things at different times and parenting will change at different ages.  I wish at times like these when she brings it up that "we don't do enough with our kids" that we'd both be better at recognizing that we're a complementary unit and bring our respective strengths and assets to our children.  Just because I don't do things like she does, doesn't make me a less good or valuable parent.  While my kids will unanimously state that she's the Mommy that plays with them, they'll also unanimously state that I'm the Mommy that's there and doesn't work all the time (note: we both work full-time).  Even though she is way more the nurturing parent, and I'm a total hard ass, they oddly equate her with having more of the "Daddy" characteristics and me with the "Mommy" characteristics (which is a whole other discussion on how our kids like to analyze gender binaries).


DW and I are moms to two teens (DD 17 and DS 15) adopted through CAS in 2007 and a toddler (DD 2) born at home in March 2011.

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#26 of 32 Old 01-27-2011, 02:05 PM
 
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  I'd give it some time. 

 


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#27 of 32 Old 01-27-2011, 04:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gumshoegirl007 View Post

Monarchgrrl, your DW sounds much like I did when I was the SAHM when we adopted our two children.  While I wanted to take a leave from my job and take care of the kids for that 8 month period, I wasn't prepared for how difficult that adjustment truly was.  I lost my career, my identity, and found that taking care of the kids was really, really challenging. I felt alone, not very supported and was flailing. There was never a break from being that primary caregiver, which left me exhausted much of the time.  In retrospect, I was suffering from post-adoption depression.  What I was experiencing was nothing that I had expected!
 

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Originally Posted by Monarchgrrl View Post
I also feel like she doesn't take care of DD as well as I do. That's horrible to say, but she takes care of her needs just fine, but I feel like the playing, interacting, snuggles, kisses, etc are lacking. It's REALLY hard to talk to her about it without making her feel like crap. I'm just not sure what to do. We're just at the beginning of this journey and I don't know if it just seems bad or hard and it'll work itself out? Or if we need to "do something" about it and change something. :(

 

 

This comment really resonates with me as I feel this kind of judgment from my DW when it comes to parenting styles.  I take the kids to all their appointments, deal with much of their school issues and homework, get them to their activities, chaperone play dates, make sure they have what they need, do things with them that are usually errand based, and she doesn't think that I spend quality time with them.  I take care of their needs - both physical and emotional.  She helps out or supports this stuff, but is also more likely to play with them. 

 

Our kids are teenagers, so I feel we do more talking, I don't feel the need and nor do they express it, to play all of the time.  I think kids need different things at different times and parenting will change at different ages.  I wish at times like these when she brings it up that "we don't do enough with our kids" that we'd both be better at recognizing that we're a complementary unit and bring our respective strengths and assets to our children.  Just because I don't do things like she does, doesn't make me a less good or valuable parent.  While my kids will unanimously state that she's the Mommy that plays with them, they'll also unanimously state that I'm the Mommy that's there and doesn't work all the time (note: we both work full-time).  Even though she is way more the nurturing parent, and I'm a total hard ass, they oddly equate her with having more of the "Daddy" characteristics and me with the "Mommy" characteristics (which is a whole other discussion on how our kids like to analyze gender binaries).



Thank you so much for showing me the other perspective. DW wouldn't think to say it like that so it's GREAT for me to hear the other side of this. I'm sorry that what I said resonates so much with you. :( I really didn't mean to sounds judgy. I HATE that I feel this way. I think it's horrible, but I can't help it. I think the issue for us is also that since she's the SAHM that is what DD is getting almost 100% of the time. So I have this fear that she will grow up with only getting affection and play at night or on the weekends from me. Silly, I know. DW is just a much less affectionate person than I am and I don't want DD to grow up without that from her. She wants to work on it and agrees with me on that point but it doesn't seem like she's working on it...yet, I should say. I know that kids need more than play and cuddles, but DD is still an infant. If she's fussing because she's hungry, then I don't feel like she should be feeling frustration coming from DW. I dunno. I also feel like DW isn't getting out of the house and she's getting somewhat depressed. I know it's a HUGE adjustment. I'm a little resentful because I tried to prepare her and tell her how much it's not going to be roses and rainbows and how HARD it's going to be. She always just brushed me off and didn't think it was going to be hard and was just so excited to be quitting her job. I think she's in a major adjustment and shock period right now. I'm a little frustrated that she didn't listen to me about it before and try to prepare. I also really want her to join some LGBT parent groups or mommy/baby groups or take DD (a little later) to baby sign language or music classes or something. She just doesn't seem interested, but I don't want our DD cooped up all day long and not get the stimulation she needs (not talking right now, but later). *sigh* We just planned so long and I prepared so much (yes, me. Not really her!) about how I want to parent, and I feel a bit resentful that DD will only get that in the evenings and weekends. I thought she was on the same page as me. :(

 

Anyway, thanks for letting me vent here. I have a lot to get out. I can't really say all this to her.


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#28 of 32 Old 01-27-2011, 04:37 PM
 
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#29 of 32 Old 01-28-2011, 12:31 PM
 
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These stories & commentaries are giving me a lot to think about. Thanks to all for sharing.

 

I just want to say to all of you who are still in the first year of parenting, please just know that it's really, really hard at first, and it does get better. It's a big transition for both parents. Sleep deprivation, breast feeding issues, PPD, etc. can wreak havoc on a relationship. Just try to stick it out and not take anything too seriously for the first year. Ha! That is good advice that I personally could not follow! But looking back, I realize that I needed to just put my head down and plow through each day. Things got better just through the passage of time.

 

It's funny, on the surface my partner & I have a "dream" relationship. We are egalitarian in our approach to work/home to an almost literal degree. We both earn about the same amount of money, we both clock in about the same number of hands-on parenting hours, and we both contribute to housework/chores equally (though our respective tasks are sometimes different). I think our problem is that we spend so much time/energy with parenting and running a household, it can start to feel like that's all our relationship is about. On the rare occasion when we are together without DD, it's either late at night & we're exhausted, or we spend all our time talking about the state of the joint checking, and our latest strategies for getting DD to sleep. We have to deliberately remember to talk about something else, or to stop talking about DD/home, or that is literally all we will do.

 

Women are socialized to "lose" themselves in their mothering, and so there are 2 of us doing that (not intentionally, of course, but it happens) and so it's no wonder that I feel like we've kind of "disappeared" as a couple. I'm not really sure how to get "us" back.

 


Living in Wisconsin with my partner of 20+ years and our DDenergy.gif(Born 10/09/08 ribboncesarean.gif). Why CI Mama? Because I love contact improvisation!

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#30 of 32 Old 01-28-2011, 12:36 PM
 
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I don't mean to hijack this thread with my crap, but I just wanted to report that DW and I talked a lot last night and I think things are going to be better for awhile. I told her what you all said about the huge adjustment period and how she must be shell-shocked right now. She finally admitted to me why she's been short with me lately- I spend too much time online when I'm at home. It's true. I work a lot and spend time on facebook and here when DD is sleeping, instead of spending quality time with DW. So we agreed that my iPad and email would only be in use while I'm pumping (my private time to enjoy as best as I can). I think that's a good compromise. We're going to spend time together once DD goes to sleep at night, instead of reading and playing online in the same room. I think that will help. We also made a pact to stop comparing our jobs and one-upping each other with our stresses. It doesn't matter who got more sleep, who had a harder day, etc. We are trying hard to remember we're on the same team and it's ok to vent our frustrations to each other and also share in each other's successes. I also told her that I'm worried about her becoming depressed, cooped up in the dark house all day. She promised to take a walk with DD each day. We also signed up for some LGBT parenting groups and already have plans to attend two events in the next few weeks. I think that will help a lot.

 

DW was in a better mood yesterday and today. I just reminded her to take it easy on herself. I don't expect her to cook and clean at all. Just take care of DD and keep her happy (and go outside sometimes). She puts all this pressure on herself to do too much around the house and I was feeling like DD is suffering (too harsh a word) for it. I'd rather the house be messy and DD cuddled and played with and read to and that DW is happy. That's all I care about. So anyway, thanks for the advice and for helping me see things from her perspective a bit.

 


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