Ultimate Fighting Championship

Another chapter in the Why Didn't Anybody Tell Me It Was Going To Be Like This? book of new motherhood:

And Baby Makes Three, Or, You're Doing Good If You Don't Claw Out Your Partner's Eyeballs With What's Left of Your Gnawed Off Fingernails

Let me say, for the record, that I am writing this on the upside of a 3 week standoff with my own mate that began for reasons I have long since forgotten. It's a lapse in memory made inconsequential by the fact that whatever reason we had for fighting was totally irrelevant in the first place. Most of our fights are caused by all kinds of different straws that break the same back of the two-humped camel that is our marriage.

Hump One: our miserable financial state
Hump Two: my husband's perceived lack of freedom now that he's a father

(And, that, folks, is pretty much all the humpin' that goes on around here.)

Anyhoo. My point is that parenthood wreaks havoc on marriage. I would be perfectly willing to accept that my case is unique and that maybe my husband and I are just miserable people doomed to a life of shared disunity, except that I have heard too many stories by other new parents who can relate all too well to the stresses of a growing family. Like skin stretching tight over a pregnant abdomen, something's gotta give. Maybe it's a stretch mark, that first year as parents--an ugly sign of resiliency that fades over time but never goes away. For some, this new life as married parents might be like a c-section scar; it's raw and painful at first, but then the wound heals in a thin line of scar tissue stronger and more tightly fused than ever before. I'm sure the analogies are limitless (I'll spare you the one on episiotomies) but the thrust of the argument is the same: it's all part of the process in which a child is born and raised. Everything changes. How could I ever have thought it wouldn't be just exactly as it is?

I'm assuming that all you parents know what I'm talking about, in some way, on some level, unique to your own situation. I just can't believe that any post-partum marriage could come out unscathed. And those of you who aren't yet parents--it doesn't matter what I say. If you aren't ignoring me already, you'll soon forget. Then you'll pop out some progeny and life as a mother and a wife will become one big emotion that is, at once, alienating and unifying. You'll think you're the only one who has ever felt the way you do, but you'll know, deep down, that the experience is as old as time. You'll probably be pissed off at first. That's the bitter pill that feeds the target demo for my future Why Didn't Anybody Tell Me It Was Going To Be Like This? bestseller. But you'll get over that soon enough, and the "why" won't be nearly as important as the "like this." That's when you'll begin in earnest to seek out the experiences of others, and when you'll become so eager to share yours.

I hope you'll blog about it.


Blogger Jess Riley said...

I'm so glad to discover blogs like yours--you are doing a VALUABLE service to future parents such as myself! And when I reach that milestone (if I do), I will definitely be blogging about it.

6:28 PM  
Blogger lynsalyns said...

Can't tell you how true this is. There are days I fantasize about getting in the car and going. I mean, would it make THAT much difference considering I do all the heavy lifting? When I quit my job my husband got all 1950 on me and his defense is always "I pay the bills." Snort. I'll take you up on it, and when I get back I'll blog.

Ironically tomorrow is my four-year wedding anniversary ... and I'll be in the car driving with Big Cranky and Small Cranky.

Hope things get better soon.

7:00 PM  
Blogger Wendy O'Donnell said...

One of THE hardest times in my marriage was the six or so months after my son was born and really, we didn't get our parenting groove going until well after his 1st b'day - it is such a trauma on even the healthiest marriages - everything changes - the landscape, the stakes, the priorities - i am lucky that i have friends who shared those tough times with me so that I could see I wasn't insane..hang in there..i think you writing about this is WONDERFUL.

8:07 PM  
Blogger Jene said...

I don't know, I heard a story about you that might be considered Hump 3. :) Ditch the kid and husband and come down to Florida so that we can drink cocktails on the beach.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous mummyv said...

surfed into your blog and had to comment... you try and prepare for the pregnancy and the baby, but there are no books that adequately explain what happens to YOU, and your place in the world with your relationships, friends, and partner... and that day you realise, really realise, that you will NEVER get the old life back it is pretty humbling, scary, and large pie-eating worthy.

keep up the great blog

10:57 AM  
Blogger T. said...

You just reminded me of the days when I was having babies. Hubs and I rarely got along, we were both on different pages. It is somewhat amazing we managed to survive. We both wanted kids, but neither of us were fully prepared to what lay ahead of us. The good news is we survived. The bad news is it wasn't a lot of fun. Great post!

2:21 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Well Binker I don't know from experince but Eric does and I think that is one of the reasons he wants to wait... he's had one and realizes how much it changes two people no matter what!

5:19 PM  
Blogger Tater and Tot said...

Awesome post! Thanks for sharing the ups and downs!

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Amy said...

Thank you! It's so true. Its reassuring to hear someone be honest about it. For us its slowly getting better, the first 3 months were hell. Hang in.

12:18 PM  
Blogger mommygoingcrazy said...

I just found your blog, and I have to say that I couldn't have said it better myself. It is tough to have a child. It is something that no man will ever understand. There is so much to fight about after having your first child. My husband and I really didn't get along very well after my first was born. I felt so alone and that I had no support from him. If I may say one thing of advice, you ARE NOT ALONE! Everyone really does go through it just like you said. Remember that you will NEVER know what happens being closed doors. I can promise that if you stay true and open and honest about your feelings it will get better. Now that my oldest is 3 my realationship with my husband has never been stronger. I feel that is was all that we went through in the first year of being parents that made us closer. Hang in there! It does get better!

11:42 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

Fabulous Post! I understand, but most of what you are describing happened to us the first 7 years of our relationship. Yeah, lots of the kind of humpin' you refer too. Now the kid is here and we actually like each other, love each other, go out of the way for each other. I think you can warn future parents til your blue in the face, but they won't listen because every woman yearns to try this thing out AT LEAST once. As much as being a new mom wears me out... I am glad I gave it a try. I will never do it again (unless we are wealthy, meaning I don't have to work, I have a night nanny and the grandparents are close by)...

12:39 PM  
Blogger gingajoy said...

mmm, yup. you're pretty much describing a pervasive thing--happens to all of us once we realized that *life as we once knew it is well and truly DONE*

mine and my own hubs pathology was slightly different--mainly because we had a very colicky little baby there for a while. it went something like this:
"you show strength--that gives me permission to lose it..." and so forth...
this went both ways, which basically meant that we were not on the same page for a long time.

but then it becomes less "new" and you learn to deal. mostly.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Kristen said...

I've masked my posts about this in "10 ways not to get laid" but when it comes down to it, you are dead on. For us, we got married after I was preggo, and we really didn't know each other that well.

Even so, it seems the best of friends can still have troubles after the child arrives. For us, it was similar to your huz in that life changed drastically for me and well, not so much for him. I was miserable, dealing with a difficult child, and quite frankly, he was NO help. Empathy? Pshaw. What is that?

It's better now that she is older and he can "do" more with her. However, we still have our arguments over who changes what and when - and I think they are somewhat unavoidable. He tries to throw the "but so and so's huz doesn't do this much" - which really doesn't phase me. YOU WILL DO IT. End of story.

I'm not sure if any of this makes sense, but in short, I hear you and I feel your pain.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Michele said...

I love what you write about and how your write it. I need to carve out some time to read your archives.
My husband and I had a pretty good adjustment - mainly because we had twins so he had no choice but to help. But he's also quite good at the Daddy thing. I struggled more with my loss of freedom and self, which in turn did impact our relationship somewhat. Mainly because I didnt know how to express what I wanted or needed from him because I couldnt put my finger on what was wrong or needed to be fixed. I am way better at that now, but still evolving.
It was definitely not in any of my "new parenting" books.

8:42 AM  
Blogger toyfoto said...

I had hoped to blog about this very topic soon, too. But I SOOOO have to have a cooling off period. Your post gives me hope, though. Thanks.

1:18 PM  

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