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Hard on a marriage

Five years ago today I was in a Trader Joe’s in Boston, choosing some flowers to decorate my wedding cake. It took me about an hour, dithering over the same three or four limp bouquets, while rabid shoppers elbowed past me. It felt like a massively important decision, but I think my brain was simply overwhelmed by the knowledge that I was getting MARRIED in a few HOURS.

A year ago today I was being inseminated, then musing to you all about how cool it would be to conceive a child on my wedding anniversary. Well, friends, I did. And this morning, we told her the story of how Daddy went to the room to look at some pictures of women who were not mama, and how mama went in an hour later to get her cervix poked.

This focus on Bun Bun on a day that should be about US is a microcosmic version of what’s been going on generally. I feel a million miles away from my husband. In some ways it’s not unlike my wedding day–all the Other Shit is so noisy, I can’t really focus on him at all.

When people repeatedly advised me to make time for the two of us, I didn’t see what the issue was. Mr. Bunny and I are homebodies with a minuscule social circle, so having a baby would change little about the day-to-day. Why would we need to do anything special? But now I see. A baby really IS hard on a marriage.

I’m going to be as honest about this as I can, in case there are others feeling this way, even though I’ll probably get some reactions that make me feel pitied and pathetic.

In some ways I feel closer to my husband than ever before, but much of the time he barely exists for me. I don’t WANT to make time for the two of us. I’d rather be with Bun Bun, or hey, ALONE. If pressed, I’d be willing to make time for him to pick up his fucking socks.

For the first few months, I was so grateful for everything he did, and we had such fun cocooning and enjoying our new life. I loved the way he made me laugh and took care of us. That shit is OVAH. Now I just go about my day hoping he’ll leave me alone until I can hand childcare over to him.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time worrying about this. I think it’s pretty normal, though not necessarily universal. Instead, I decided to take my mind off the whole thing by making blueberry pie.

It sits out for a few hours to collect itself, so I had to make it early. And I can promise you, it’s going to be a winner.

I’m just not going to tell him that I’ll be thinking: stick this in yer pie hole, and leave me alone. So yeah. Happy anniversary to us.

27 Comments Post a comment
  1. πŸ™‚ looks like a lovely pie. I can only comment on the other from what I've observed in family and friends but that seems to be a common theme. Not that it makes it any better but from what I know it does change over time.

    August 19, 2011
  2. Oak #

    You see your husband? I haven't really even seen mine since Saturday – and yeah, well, that's sort of okay with me.

    August 19, 2011
  3. Beautiful pie:-) Everything else is completely normal. No one knows what it's like taking care of a baby 27/7, until you get to do it. Especially when there is really no one to help (family, friends that you trust). It can be really hard on a marriage. The first year is full of ooh's and aah's & all the first's BunBun will do-it's amazing–you'll look back and barely remember the 'hard' days. I've never given birth, but I had the same feelings when we got A and then got him back-not only did I feel exactly what you are feeling, but I also had a deep-seeded fear that he knew I wasn't his birthmother-and I worried that I may not love him as much as I would have if I had given birth to him(which I don't think is true at all now)…I had/have guilt that I didn't/don't want my dh touching me at all. No one could feed the baby back then but me, because of his feeding issues. It was a crazy, angry, lovely, beautiful time that I really do miss:-( He's almost 5 and right now is running thru the house and is so loud I could lose my mind. He doesn't have his 'listening ears' on today–which means, everytime I tell him to do something, I am completely ignored. Does it get better, yeah..different & better. As far as dh goes, (warning TMI) if it weren't for my son and having to bath him/help him wipe still when he poos–i'd never want to see another penis in my life, ever. IDK if that will change or not…lol DH hopes so, but that's just the way it is. IF has a way of stealing all the passion right out of you.

    August 19, 2011
  4. Love or leave Nora Ephron, but my favorite part of her novel Heartburn is when she talks about the impact of a baby on your marriage. http://books.google.com/books?id=7YW-jCuSkqsC&lpg=PT144&ots=mtu_rMbase&dq=nora%20ephron%20baby%20grenade&pg=PT144#v=onepage&q&f=false

    August 19, 2011
  5. I appreciate your honesty, bunny. I do try to be honest in expressing the peculiarly intense total immersion aversion therapy that is my experience of marriage – I get lonely, but I am solitary, too, so it's hard – the language and patterns that grow up between you, the back and forth, the sixty and the forty, the good and bad. I don't want people to take a romantic view of us; (People think he's a saint. How maddening.) I want them to see us as flawed individuals trying to be happy together. And it's the job of our lives.

    August 19, 2011
  6. ASP #

    "Stick this in yer piehole" I looooove it and my exact thoughts some days with R. I'm the same way, I either want to be with O or by myself for some alone time. Don't get me wrong, I love mine and R's time together but there are some days where I'm all like, "I could totally be a single mom and be perfectly happy…" I just think, like other posters have said, that until you're taking care of a baby 24/7, you just don't realize how the dynamics of marriage are going to change. I think the way we feel is perfectly normal and that balance between being a wife and momma will eventually work itself out. Until then, keeping baking pies. πŸ˜‰

    August 19, 2011
  7. Oh, how well I remember THAT feeling. The spouse was always wanting to be together and I was all like "Everybody LEAVE ME ALONE". I think nursing doesn't help- there's literally a needy person *attached* to you for N hours a day.

    August 19, 2011
  8. JB #

    KB just spent 3 days on a business trip, and I frankly didn't miss him one bit. Truth. I love him to pieces, but I also want to pinch him in the nutsack sometimes. All of this is totally normal, and I assume that this, too, shall pass. I assume. Right?

    August 19, 2011
  9. Yummmm……that's some nice pie. Piehole is funny. Yeah I get ya on the whole "leave me alone, unless you're going to take over childcare so I can take a nap" I swear some days my DH will walk into the room and I'll want to say "what are you still doing here?" I'm hoping it gets better.

    August 19, 2011
  10. I got a glorious 12 days while mine was away on a business trip and although the baby got super sick I was content with my alone time. The most exhausting part was his frist day back home. I'm still recovering from that. So yeah, I know what you mean. Maybe you should send a slice of that pie over here so I can give it to him.

    August 20, 2011
  11. cgd #

    wishing you a very happy anniversary. I love that Bun Bun was conceived on your anniversary, such a touching story (porn and all). hope the pie was yummy…

    August 20, 2011
  12. I wish I could say something brilliant that would make it all make sense. I suspect that getting through all of this will be another of those formative times. I feel that there is always the danger of over thinking in these times. We just want to know what it means, when it might not mean anything at all. It could be the sign of the doom crap storm, sure. But, despite the brain jumping off the highdive, thats usually not the outcome of all potential paths. Let it ride, see where you end up. I appreciate you letting us into this spot. We are here to listen anytime. I wish you a calm anniversary with tidy socks galore.

    August 20, 2011
  13. First, I was reading a book yesterday in it is a little girl who named her rabbit stuffie Bun Bun, and I immediately loved that little girl simply for her taste in names. Second, either this shit is normal, or we're all completely fucktarded. We also celebrated a post-baby anniversary this summer, and it was…lackluster. Kind of just another day. In some ways that was disappointing, and it others it was kind of a relief. I dunno. Just weird. I want to say that it gets better as the babe grows. Some days I believe this, and other days I think it's a mean lie. I mean, I love N, I do. But something has shifted, and it worries me a little, but maybe just because it's such a different feeling? I'd read/heard these tales of woe about how marriage changes with a baby/children, but I always thought we were different, stronger even. But I guess we are just the same as every other couple, and I fucking hate that. Last night I was making dinner, and because of logistics I put all of our dish on one shared plate, and N walked right up took the entire dish and sat down to eat the whole thing. You know, like it was HIS fucking dinner. And I blew a gasket in fabulous, screeching fashion about how IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU, EVERYTHING IS NOT YOURS, DID YOU EVEN NOTICE THAT THERE WASN'T A 2ND PLATE, WHAT DID YOU THINK I WAS GOING TO EAT??!!! It was about as graceless and assuming and impatient as I could have been, and it felt awful, but it felt honest. And I think it had everything to do with what Jenny mentioned with breastfeeding–I'm literally giving my physical self to someone else all the live long fucking day, and for the love would I just like a little consideration and accomodation and recognition. Also, I have been sleep deprived like a motherfucker, and that has everything to do with nursing and being the caretaker that doesn't have to get up in the morning to go to the office.

    August 20, 2011
  14. Bunny, I'm so glad you wrote this, even if (or maybe because) reading the comments is making me cry. I'm solo in London for a few days (and then solo at home for several more) after a week in Scandinavia with hubs, and I was walking back to the hotel a few minutes ago, mentally composing a blog post that began something like: "Is it possible to feel smothered and lonely at the same time?" And our kid isn't even freaking born yet. I hate the idea of our relationship's getting strained by the baby we've put so much into having, but I know that's how it goes, and I don't know how I'm going to deal with it. Five years in, I've never really worried about our relationship, but here I am, a third of the way toward our hopeful take-home kid, not fully enjoying a really lovely vacation together because something just feels off. It's good to know I'm not alone. And sure, all the swirling hormones probably don't do much to help any of this. Anyway. Enough emotion-dump in your comments section. Again, thank you for putting this out there. Do I wish you a happy anniversary? Or just an anniversary? And many more where that came from? The pie is gorgeous. Hoping that this family relationship–for both of us–gets to feeling right and whole and at-peace. Sooner rather than later, please.

    August 20, 2011
  15. bir #

    Oh normal. Yep. And glad to get the confirmation too, so thanks for the writings πŸ™‚

    August 21, 2011
  16. I don't really get to talk abt this stuff on my blog b/c my hubs knows its address, but I definitely feel you. Sometimes I think what we need is a night out ALONE together….but then why haven't I planned one, or asked the babysitter to come over on a Saturday, or whatever? It is definitely a strain. I could hijack your comments with my own stories, but suffice to say, I feel the shift, too. xoxo

    August 21, 2011
  17. My baby love for W was so intense at first that I didn't have anything left to give my husband. I knew I still loved him, but the love I had for that newborn was so much more immediate and all consuming that I didn't want to be around anyone else but him. W's perfection seemed to exaggerate my husband's imperfections. I have to say that this has passed for the most part and my husband and I are getting back to where we were, but we both crave time alone and don't always make time for each other. Time and lots of blueberry pie may help.

    August 22, 2011
  18. I think it's as normal as normal can be. For a thinking, intelligent, honest woman, that is. But the truth is that you will not always be here. Just like being pregnant was a transition. And giving birth was. Just as you're not (I'm guessing) the same people you were five years ago, so too you're not going to be the same (or, at least, in the same place) a year from now.And I think it's good to be honest. Too much crap is spoon fed to us about blissful this and blissful that. The wedding industry. The birthing industry. The whatever industry. I say: feel what you feel but make nice (and blueberry pie makes all kinds of nice).

    August 22, 2011
  19. N #

    I felt/feel like you and pretty much all of your commenters. I just want a few minutes alone. Just me. That never happens. In my head I want to be all lovey with my husband, but by the time we get alone, usually around 8 at night,I clean up then I'm so tired I just stare at the TV or read then go to bed an hour or two later. My experience is that it is worse with 2 kids. I literally feel like I have no extra attention to give. It is really hard right now. And even worse when P wakes up more than once a night.

    August 22, 2011
  20. Rocco and I are roommates for many hours of the day. It is only when Toddlerina is in bed and there is food in my belly that I look over at him and begin to wonder how is day was.This baby job is some hard ass work.

    August 23, 2011
  21. Thanks so much for this. I feel far away from J too, but it's more that I just kind of forget about him. Like we sometimes forget to greet one another when one of us gets back home from somewhere. I attribute it to touch. I'm a total cuddle-junkie (which J happily accommodates), but now with DJ my cuddle-cup overfloweth, and I sort of forget to touch J once in a while. When I read about people getting pregnant again while their first is still really young, I get sort of paralyzed with bewilderment for a minute. I can't put any of this on my own blog because my mother reads it.

    August 23, 2011
  22. Please, so normal. Or else im totally fucked. Because I'm not clear I even like my husband some days. But right now he's washing dishes, so I should be nice. But I'm sort of hoping he goes to bed early so I can have some alone time.

    August 23, 2011
  23. I love your honesty in this post and it is EXACTLY what I am anticipating happening once the baby arrives. (In fact, I *just* blogged about this today coincidentally.) I think it's completely normal to feel this way. Thank you for posting and being so honest. Now I know that when/if these feelings do happen I won't feel so alone.

    August 23, 2011
  24. Gosh, we're nowhere close to a baby, and it takes me everything not to scream at him to pick up his fucking socks. Can't imagine how it will be if we ever *do* have a kid. But your post gives me a good preview. I love that you made a pie for your anniversary, instead of making a big deal about how your relationship has changed and you weren't going to have oysters and veuve-cliquot in the evening.

    August 24, 2011
  25. Such a great reminder of the reality of it all. And from reading the comments from your readers, it appears you are definitely not alone. The other day the hubs made a comment that I'm going to be constantly mad at him once the baby is here, and I was so offended. Me? Oh no, everything's going to be fabulous! Yeah, he's probably right…Love the pie!

    August 24, 2011
  26. AL #

    Happy five years to you and Mr. Bunny. I think this shift in marriage when you have children is normal, we're struggling with the change as well. Hubs and I went out for our anniversary sans baby and our evening out felt like the first time I had talked to my husband in months. And I guess it probably was, aside from the daily, what should we eat, and did the baby crap, and will you take him while I do the laundry.Anyways, I hear you. It's hard. I hope that you and Mr. Bunny find a new normal that suits you both soon.

    August 30, 2011
  27. Hmm – I definitely like having my husband around because he is a super-helpful and supportive type and he gets all sorts of stuff done that I can't seem to get done myself. But when he's in my space and not doing something productive, I have to admit that he is irritating. For instance, I will be completely irritated by the fact that he's sitting down watching football while I have to change another diaper or comfort Ian again because no one can do it quite like Mommy. And it's not as if he wouldn't be happy to do it if I asked him to or that he gives me all the free time I ask for or that this is now my JOB and my resentment feels unfounded. But there is something about being the primary LIFEgiver (cause I breastfeed) who – even when you are out on a girl's night – can't stop thinking about the baby. There is no time away from the baby except when I am asleep. So when he complains about how Ian gets more boob than him, I really just want to bite him because he is making me feel guilty and I am just really really fucking drained. I do my wifely duty out of pity, but it is in the bed where I feel particularly disconnected. I have lost my sexy – and it wasn't very strong to begin with.

    September 19, 2011

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