Having a baby changes everything. Not all of these changes are bad, of course, but the changes add up and everything feels different.
For example, you learn things about yourself, but you also discover new things about your partner. Here are a few unexpected things you learn about the person you parent with after the baby arrives:
1. How they deal with exhaustion
Sure, we’ve all been tired before. But newborn tired? That’s a whole new world. You may start to discover that he actually hates how you leave your clothes all over the floor or that those quirks you thought he found endearing are not so much so—at least, not when everyone is running on two hours of sleep.
What’s that, you say? Your partner isn’t tired because they aren’t doing night duty? Well, then, my question for you is, how are you not throwing something at them while they sleep through newborn cries?
2. How they deal with your exhaustion
Let’s keep it real, though. Assuming you birthed the child, YOU are definitely more tired. Trying to nurse and simultaneously learn how to care for another human is no easy feat. Exhaustion can worsen mood swings. Your partner must learn to walk on eggshells so as to not upset or irritate you with a seeming innocent comment that could elicit tears and screams.
How they navigate this delicate time will show a whole other (hopefully, very patient side) of them. Just remember to give yourself grace if you lose your cool every so often.
Let’s not pretend everything is rosy. There are tough days, days when you will feel utterly alone in babyland.
3. How they manage the unexpected
If your partner is a control freak, this will be quite the adjustment for them. Babies don’t care about your schedule: they will poop and pee when you thought you were ready to leave the house. They get sick when you had date night planned. Your partner and you will have to adjust to living life on someone else’s clock.
4. How their parents treated them
Inevitably, we all re-create certain childhood patterns. As your newborn grows into a rambunctious toddler, and they test your partner’s patience, you might see things in them that are related to how they were raised and treated. It’s so important to be honest about which patterns should be broken—and which ones you want to keep.
5. How their ability to love grows exponentially
Seeing my partner with our son is my favorite thing. I remember the way he rocked him to sleep as a newborn, the look of joy on his face every time he reached a milestone, and the intense worry when he is sick. It’s made me love him even more.
6. That you would go to war with them
You learn that your partner can handle things, that they help you find the humor in things, that they can kick ass at work. Essentially, that they were the best person you could have chosen to procreate with.
You and your partner are team.
7. That you will have bad days as a couple (but those, too, shall pass)
Let’s not pretend everything is rosy. There are tough days, days when you will feel utterly alone in babyland. Maybe you are home with the baby and your partner is at work, and so resentment creeps in, what with their chance to still live in the real world! Or maybe it’s the other way around: you have a lot of pressure at work and are adjusting to the difficulties of being a working parent while they're at home, rocking the baby and watching Netflix.
Either way some days will seem bleak, and the initial romance of your relationship can seem like a distant memory. Now is the time to schedule a date night, even if it means movie night on your couch (Netflix never worked so hard!) after the baby is asleep.
You and your partner are team. You will thrive and succeed together and always learn something new about each other. At times, it might seem like the baby is trying to keep you apart. But discovering the new things you love about each other will keep you on the right track—for this, and probably any, new phase of your relationship.