How Does Having a Baby Change Your Relationship?

We know that many couples argue more after having a baby, but in what other ways does having a baby change your relationship? Three couples open up about the good, the bad and the ugly…

In the first of three interviews, Tim and Chloe Price – who have an 11-month-old daughter, Tallie – discuss the strain having a baby put on their relationship and why they battled on

How Does Having a Baby Change Your Relationship?

He says:
“We were expecting to be expecting, if that makes sense, so finding out was the culmination of a very busy year for us. We moved into a new house, got a cat and a dog and having our first child was a conscious decision. We were both happy and excited to find out that it was actually happening.

I went to the one antenatal class that the NHS provides. I always paid attention in biology classes and I’ve seen One Born Every Minute a few times, so not sure it did that much to help us prepare.

I attended the birth and hope I was supportive but I definitely felt a little outside of the experience. I guess the physical demands of childbirth cause women to focus very singularly on that.

There were points where it felt like our relationship might not survive having a baby. We’re a normal couple and caring for a baby is hard.

Tallie arrived at midnight after a relatively brief labor but even so, we were tired and somewhat dazed. I recall those earliest minutes and hours with a dream-like quality. I do remember feeling very close to Chloe and Tallie during that time.

I think we managed to support each other in the early days. I guess I could always have done more but at the very start, Tallie needed so little from me and so much from Chloe that I often felt a little removed from their closeness.

There were points where it felt like our relationship might not survive having a baby. We’re a normal couple and caring for a baby is hard. But perseverance, that and friends, got us through it.

Before you have a baby, friends all tell you how wonderful it is; it’s only afterwards that they share how hard it is at times.

Around about 8-9 months we started to get sleep back, not all of it but a lot more than we had before. That’s when it started to get easier. We’re just about to settle into the next routine; Chloe is heading back to work and I’m dropping down to a four-day week in order to have a day a week with Tallie.

Our relationship is genuinely better since having a baby. Yes aspects are hard but we are much better for having Tallie. It’s good to have one thing that we can always agree on, she really is the best little girl in the world.

If you could go back, I’d have had the roof done and the fireplace built before we went into labour!

I’d say not much has changed with our relationship, apart from the major change of having a baby in the mix. We still argue about the same silly things. We still make up afterwards and carry on. We worked before Tallie so it makes sense that we’d continue to work now.

My advice to a couple expecting their first child? Go on holiday and eat out as much as you can before the baby arrives. Go on holiday as a family as soon as you can afterwards. That and just go with it.”

She says:
“We reacted to the news that I was pregnant excitedly. He said ‘let’s get married’ when I showed him the stick. I was amazed that it happened so quickly but also really pleased.

We went to the free NHS antenatal session together, we didn’t do NCT (National Childbirth Trust) because I felt it was mainly to get to meet other mums and I had lots of mummy friends already.

I found labour empowering and actually (on reflection) a very positive experience. From what I can remember, Tim was great – just did what I asked when I asked but when I didn’t need him he just stayed near not bothering me.

It wasn’t awkward in any way and I wasn’t concerned before or after about any effect on intimacy. I think he was impressed with how I coped with labour.

We both wanted children and we’re in a stable financial position… I think it would have been so much harder if this hadn’t been the case.

I’m amazed by how much you forget about the first few days and weeks. I can’t remember any tension between Tim and I. I made most of the decisions about parenting style etc but he has always been supportive of this. He supported me when breastfeeding was hard going.

As I was breastfeeding, I’ve done almost all the night shifts (unless we’ve had a particularly bad screaming session and then I’ve sought backup). I believed there would have been more tension between us if we had shared the night shifts because he is very reluctant to get out of bed!

Life with Tallie and with Tim is great but also hard at times, like any relationship. We have had times when we have felt at breaking point but generally we are ok – getting on with life and our lovely little daughter.

That said, a bit more pro-activeness on his part would certainly be welcomed. We both wanted children and we’re in a stable financial position… I think it would have been so much harder if this hadn’t been the case.

It got easier when Tallie was about three months. Daytime naps were in a good pattern and breastfeeding was well established. I felt like we knew what to expect. I was still knackered from lack of sleep but I had learnt to survive without it. I then felt like I could go anywhere with her.

Since eight months, things have got so much easier again. She has been sleeping much more at night and is such a happy little soul.

In general, my relationship with Tim hasn’t changed that much since having a baby. But if I could go back in time, I might have been more spontaneous while we had the chance: go the theatre, gigs etc more.

What’s got us through the hard times? Wine and gin! No seriously, Tallie has. We both love her and she is the most important thing in our life.

To a woman expecting her first child, I would say: don’t expect the guy to be as efficient as you are when it comes to looking after the baby. You get more practice (generally) than them.”

Names have been changed

Does having a baby change your relationship – or is it possible for things to stay just as they were, pre-baby? We’d love to hear your thought below…

Next we hear from Juliet and Paul, who had a very different experience…