“I do remember being really tired but how Paul and I related to each other was weirdly normal” – in the second of our Relationships After a Baby series, Juliet and Paul tell us how having a baby brought them closer…
Part II in the Relationships After a Baby series: Juliet, 33, and Paul, 38, parents to 10-month-old Jocasta
“I was really excited when I found out about the pregnancy. We’d had a miscarriage six months previously and were thinking about trying again for a baby but didn’t have to as we were already pregnant.
We attended NCT together and a couple of hospital classes and we were both at the birth. I loved the whole experience; it was one of the best days of my life. Straight after the birth, I was pretty spaced out on hormones and adrenaline so everything seemed a bit surreal.
I do remember being really tired but how Paul and I related to each other was weirdly normal. We had a lot of time together, just the three of us in our own room with a really lovely midwife, after Jocasta was born so I felt like we had a lot of time together to bond in the first 12 hours.
I’ve never doubted we wouldn’t be together as I think having a baby has cemented our relationship and given it a real purpose
We did support each other a lot as we don’t have any immediate family living in the UK. Paul had to go back to work a week later, which was earlier than we had anticipated but in hindsight I think we really helped each other and I think that helped us both to cope.
I’ve never doubted we wouldn’t be together as I think having a baby has cemented our relationship and given it a real purpose. But there was definitely a point when things got easier – possibly around the three month mark when feedings stopped taking so much time.
We definitely have less sex than we did before our baby arrived but I feel like we are closer than before. We have a real sense of being a team and working together. Our gender roles are pretty much the same as before.
Obviously there are many tasks that only I’ve been able to do – feeding etc but I don’t feel like that’s a permanent thing and as Jocasta gets older I think our roles will become more fluid.
If I could go back – pre baby – I wouldn’t change anything but I would appreciate the nights out and the freedom to do things on the spur of the moment more.
What has kept us together since having a baby? Just that: having a baby! She’s our glue and although we had a great relationship before, she’s definitely brought out the best in the both of us.
To a couple expecting their first child, I’d say: don’t compare anything about your life before a baby with your life after a baby. Go with it and enjoy it. The more you embrace it the more you get out of it. Don’t be too disappointed if family/friends don’t get how much your life and priorities have changed.
Have lots of conversations about how you and your partner want to do things and what feels right for you both and then go from there. Don’t compare yourselves to others; you’re doing a fantastic job!”
“When I found out about the pregnancy, I was excited, apprehensive, nervous, overjoyed.
The birth was totally not what I expected. I thought it would play out a bit more like the movies but it was actually a much longer process. When your mates say “Don’t look down” actually don’t look down. It was an awesome experience.
Immediately after the birth, I felt fine. A bit high on adrenaline. It was wicked to finally meet our baby. We supported each other pretty well. It was pretty hard as I had to go back to a new job the next week. I was tired but we survived.
There weren’t any points where it felt like our relationship wasn’t going to survive having a baby. There’s a big drive to provide for my family. Everything else kind of a fell into place. It just slowly started to get easier. Once she was less fragile things became more fun.
We’re closer as a family unit. Our sex life was always going to diminish when we had a small baby in the same room. And there is a need to help each other out lots more.
If I could go back, I’d go out a lot more. Do a lot more spur of the moment things. Not turn down invitations to go to parties etc. What has kept us together since having a baby? The baby.
What you need, to prepare for a baby, is a complete SAS training course to deal with lack of sleep. And to take everyday as it comes. Take all the information/advice with a pinch of salt. Everything changes constantly so just enjoy it.”
You might also like to read the first interview in our Relationships After a Baby series…