Today we invited the mamas to bring babies in costume to show off their Halloween look...and we talked about partner relationships. Ok, we talked a lot about sex (or lack thereof) and it's related pain early on, inconvenience with new baby, and communication issues along the way.
When baby makes 3 (or 4, or more) partner relationships commonly break down. I just want to mention that because sometimes (usually when we are fantasizing about becoming a mother) we tend to think of how a baby can bring us together, make us feel like a family, or cement a commitment. And having a baby can do those things...but it usually isn't in the first few months.
One thing I have found out by observing moms in large groups for the past several years is that there are definitely patterns in postpartum relationships. One thing I have discovered is the '7 week rule'. Group after group I marvel at how many mamas tell me they are struggling with their partnership, especially around communication. And then I ask how old their baby is. Most common answer? 7 weeks. Anecdotal yes, but I have heard it from dozens of mamas over the years (and one more confirmed it today!).
I have a lot of theories as to why this happens about that time, but I am sure you can figure out the main idea. Baby is at his/her peak of fussiness (happens between week 6 and 8 typically), evenings when partners typically come home from work are usually tough *and* the only time the working parent gets to see the baby, and couples haven't usually been physically intimate for the preceding 6+ weeks, so there just isn't a lot of good relating going on.
The good news is...it doesn't last. Babies get less fussy, more fun, and start going to bed earlier after a few more weeks, and that gives adults more time to spend together. Really. Hang in there. You still love each other and are committed to each other, it just doesn't feel nearly as good as it will in a few more months (kind of like postpartum sex, but that is a topic worthy of another blog...preferably by a guest blogger!).
So, if you are in the throws of some less than beautiful communication with your spouse, rest assured. Many others have hit a peak of struggles at that point, and then things begin to improve. Really.
(Babies in costumes are cute, but I am not sure why I paired these two ideas together, other than this week was when the mamas wanted to talk about intimacy and partners, and it just happened to be around Halloween. Pardon the silliness.)