Stephen looked upset. He recently had a baby, a beautiful girl, Olivia. She was a good mix of both the parents. She looked like Stephen when he held him and was a mirror image of Sarah when she cuddled her! Their relationship after having a baby could not be more perfect, or so I thought.
Stephen looked upset. He recently had a baby, a beautiful girl, Olivia. She was a good mix of both the parents. She looked like Stephen when he held him and was a mirror image of Sarah when she cuddled her! Their relationship after having a baby could not be more perfect, or so I thought. I asked him if wanted to grab some coffee, and he followed me out of his cubicle.
Relationship after having a baby
After paying for the coffee, we sat down at a table. I waited for him to open up, but he did not. So I asked him what was wrong. He knows us well, so without a lot of prodding, he started speaking.
Life is not the same.
We barely speak and when we do,
it's about pee and poo.
Without his knowledge, he had almost made a Haiku! But I let it pass. He was clearly adjusting to parenthood. And that is the thing about it. It seems so rosy when you imagine it! A small perfect family. Intelligent, cute little children who listen to you, a car, a house, good jobs. It seems text-book perfect. It is only when you enter it is when the reality hits you!
And I guess Stephen was just punched in the face by the witch (or a word that rhymes with it) that reality is! Luckily, I was there to guide him through his rough patch, having gone through it recently. Sarah was coping up with motherhood - the hormones, breastfeeding, lack of sleep, perpetual tiredness. There was no dialogue between them. And this was the couple who would spend hours on phone before marriage, talking about god knows what!
The fault in the system
I asked him what was his one simple wish from Sarah. He told me that he missed talking to her on topics other than the baby.
"I mean, the baby is the centre of our universe now, and I do everything I can to help Sarah out. I believe I share the workload equally. In fact, I believe I am more responsible now. But we fight a lot! I don't know what to do!
And when the baby goes down for the night, all we do is sit in front of the TV and watch Netflix, but we don't chill, man! Because if we don't watch TV, we would literally kill each other!"
"Is it lack of sex?"
"No man, between all the diaper changes, I don't have energy left for it. I just wish there was one small part of our lives before Olivia that we could carry on even now. I don't want to fight with her at all. I love Sarah. I just know what is wrong with us"
"I hear you, man. So this is what you do..."
The change was apparent
A week or so later, we were having coffee again. He seemed to be in a good mood. I asked him if my suggestion worked, and it had!
All I told him was to get rid of the TV. As for the fighting, I knew both of them were quite sensible. She probably was not happy with her body, or could not cope up with the lack of sleep. And he was snapping at her because she was on her phone all the time. So all they had to do was work on their marriage. And in all this, TV was a major distraction.
So they did it. To improve the relationship after having a baby, Stephen got rid of the TV. They decided a time to check the phones. While Stephen put Olivia to bed at 7:30 pm, Sarah quickly finished off the dishes. They spent the next half an hour checking the phone, answering emails, perusing Facebook. At 8 pm, the lights were dimmed, the phones were left on the table, and candles were out.
They started talking again. They talked about their expectations, frustrations, dreams and hopes, and slowly, each started to understand what the other was going through. They started working like a team again and I guess I can safely say that they lived happily ever after!
A word of advice for parents
Tech is good, but it may be toxic to the relationship, especially after having a baby. It is for the lonely you before you met your other half. So spend your time wisely. When you are old, you need your spouse much more than your phone. So start talking to your 'love' again. Who knows, you might end up selling your TV too!
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore