10 ways having a baby is the biggest relationship tester of all time

It’s funny isn’t it, that most of us want to have babies with the person we love because we are so insanely in love with them that the thought of having a baby with them sends us into giddy delirium.

Oh yes, we want to enter this deeper level of connection with our loved one, bring this “perfect”, helpless entity into the world; nurture them under our careful guidance and play happy families…how blissfully wonderful does that sound?

We spend the 9 months of carrying our first baby in a loved up state as we dream of life as three peas in a pod.

Errrrr…..SNAP! Sorry, that was the sound of your dream colliding with the often harsh reality of having a baby with your loved one.

While it’s true, in many ways, having a little bundle of joy will connect you in no other way possible, it is also likely to be the biggest test of your relationship thus far, especially in the first 12 – 18 months, as various studies which tout new parents as being the unhappiest out seem to testify.

Parenthood can be a rocky road sometimes, and so if your relationship foundations are not already tighter than two peas clinging on for dear life in a pod, well, you might feel like that pod is going to burst with three of you in it. In my view, it’s the sum of the below 10 points which are responsible for just that:

1. And then there were 3

Before there were just the two of you, living blissfully unaware of the changes afoot. Suddenly, your little bubba comes along and everything shifts – your priorities change away from the love of your life – he is feeling hurt at your hormonal harshness, rejected and feels basically like one big useless spare part while you just want him to man up and stop acting like a baby, because, duh! you’ve already got one of those!

2. Lack of sleep

When one of you falls prey to the victim of snoring, at least it’s just one of you. When it’s both of you being kept up at night by a baby (or toddler for that fact) then uh oh…you have not one but two grumpy fuckers to deal with. Not exactly a prelude to romance is it? Also known to provide a fertile breeding ground for the sentiment…don’t talk or even look at me or else I’m going to give you a good poke in the eye.

3. General hormonal hatefulness

One minute you are in blissed out mamma mode; the next it’s like you’ve been possessed by a raging banshee. Uh oh better run and hide! Poor old other half sensibly tries to stay out of your way for fear that putting one foot wrong will stir up the banshee within, clueless to the fact that this is only fuelling the fire of inexplicable rage within. Repeat throughout the day, every day.

4. No time for each other

The saying “two passing ships in the night” really can take on a meaning of its own here. You can’t remember the last time you had a proper conversation, you occasionally bump into each other in the kitchen, and sometimes realize you have a person occupying the space next to you in bed. After a day of mummy boot camp, it can be hard to summon up time or even a few sensibly strung together words. Cue communication failure and all the problems that come with.

5. Get out of my space!

Ironic that, considering you once wanted to spend every single breathing second together that sometimes, when you do get into the same space, all you crave is to have that space all to yourself. Not really surprising considering you’ve had a little monkey hanging off you for the best part of the day.

6. Mamma knows best

Your brain is telling you it, your screaming hormones are most certainly telling you it, and so all hail the control freak with ridiculous standards and absolutely no filter who will never think what your partner is doing is a) right or b) good enough. Hmmmm…why even bother go up against that?

7. Dude, where’s my libido?

The answer is..probably in motherhood lost property. You might retrieve it somewhere down the line but in the meantime, this is really going to fan the flames of disconnection between the two of you. Feeling sexy? No, me thinks not.

8. Who the hell are you anyway?

Your former self is lost at sea- possibly never to be recovered; Daddy has been forced to lose his cool since he got that estate and installed the car seat, and now you’re not really sure who you are apart from doting servants to the latest inhabitant of your lives. So first you have to find yourselves again, then like yourselves, then like each other? Righhhhhht.

9. Chores, chores and more chores

Even if you’ve mainly always farmed your cleaning chores out to a weekly cleaner…there is no escaping this one. The domestic scene has just exploded into a cacophony of shit, puke and wiping. It’s totally unglamorous and sexy, and you’re both wallowing in it knee-high style. Nobody’s doing enough of anything, and nobody’s bloody doing it right!!

10. More arguments than ever before

You may have prided yourselves on the fact that…oooh we hardly ever argue. Well, you can wipe that smirk off your face! All of the above is likely to weave itself into a tapestry of detachment, disconnection and resentment unless you have the best handle on both of yourselves.. and just ready to blow your top over anything at any minute. You are the camel and everything is the straw that broke your back.

Bloody hell! Are we all absolutely fooked then? Though from my writings, it may appear so, in my book, if you can make it through the first 18 months of intensity and insanity, then you’re going to come out the other end rock solid as the stormy seas eventually settle. In the meantime, look out for my follow up post on what I learnt from our own big old hairy relationship test….

How did your relationship survive the first year of baby? What did you find the hardest? Do leave a comment and share…

The Dad Network
Mami 2 Five
Domestic Momster


  1. ‘Hormonal hatefulness’ sums up about six months after my son was born. Those couples that have babies to bring them closer, wowser! 😉

  2. I totally agree with all these points. I do feel sorry for my other half sometimes!
    Then again..(excuse the language) He didn’t have to push a human being out of his vagina did he! 😛

  3. The arrival of child number one was an obvious test on our relationship, but it was the arrival of child number two that changed things signficantly. That took much more adjustment.

    Point number 6 was particiularly interesting for me as a stay at home dad. Mum does not always know best…and neither does dad for that reason. Speaking for my own relationship, I am acutely aware that my wife does not spend anyhting like as much time with the kids and therefore I don’t expect her to do things the same way as me. I may be very wrong, but us SAHDs, as a small minority, don’t really do the whole mum / dad knows best thing. #BigFatLinky

    • I totally agree with you – I think it’s funny that a lot of mums do the “mums know best thing” when they most likely don’t at all! I put it down to weird forces originating from hormones haha. I think the dynamic is probably a lot more balanced when you have a SAHD, and probably a lot more healthy as a result. So do I take it that things are a lot harder when number 2 comes into play (I only have a number 1 at the moment and we are currently stuck in the second child conundrum!)?

  4. Child number one seemed to be easy. Or at least I remember it that way. We had no idea what we were doing hut we muddled through. Pretty much a long similar lines as what you list. Baby number two though was the real changing pace for us and all of your above were highlighted!!

    Number 5 and number 10 always seemed to go nicely together too! And often caused reason to number 7!!

    Number 6 I majority agree with. Especially in the first few months at least! Thanks for linking up with us on the #bigfatlinky

    • Eek Martyn I keep telling my other half that it will all be easier with number 2 but I’m guessing your reference to “changing pace” that 1-10 are amped up a notch??! Digging myself in a ditch with the second child conundrum here me thinks..

  5. This is great. I can relate to all of these. Especially 6. I was genuinely shocked when I realised hubby had opinions on day to day baby things. So many things to discover about the person you thought you knew inside out. Thankfully 7 months on we’re out of these crazy times! #thelist X

  6. It is so true. All of it. Made me laugh, particularly the libido bit. Who can feel sexy on no sleep, sick on your shoulder and not one moment when our bodies are being left alone. It does get better although I agree that baby number two really adds to it all.
    Relationship issues were a common theme amongst the women I interviewed for the book I am working on. Knowing that it is a common experience to struggle helps no end. Then we can know that it is not any kind of relationship failure just a normal effect of ‘a baby’. That is why it is so important for parents to hear this. Thanks for sharing.

  7. We survived pretty well, but I always wonder why anyone could think having a baby can repair a relationship, it sure does test them, but it did bring us more love than we ever imagined. Great post! #Twinkly Tuesday

  8. The first year after our children were born (both times round) were the most stressful years of our relationship, but it certainly made us stronger and now we’re a rock solid, happy family of four 🙂

  9. Uh oh I’ve just had number 2 and it appears from comments thats harder!! Yikes. Though I now look back on the first year of #1s life with rose tinted specs….#twinklytuesday

  10. Great post, there is no doubt at all that having kids is hard work and it leaves very little time for a couple. Thanks so much for linking up to #TheList x

  11. Ooo the lack of sleep – that’s a relationship killer that one. We are actually going through it now – nowhere near as bad as we were at the start but Zach is 2.5yrs and has started waking up in the night again and waking us very early in the morning. We are also both working full time. We are knackered. Absolutely knackered. Each night we consider getting a little friendly (ahem) and bam…no chance…too tired! It hasn’t been like this since Zach was a baby and we are still getting more sleep then we were then but we are snapping a lot more at the moment and grunting at each other in place of conversation! They never said it was going to be easy did they?! Great post hun 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

  12. this is very true. A shaky relationship will crumble when a child comes along – mine did. Our true colours were revealed and we realised that we clashed…big time. 😉

  13. […] Our first year of a baby tested us beyond belief, and if we hadn’t had pretty solid foundations to begin with, I don’t know where we would be today. And while becoming parents is absolutely without doubt the most amazing experience, it is the hardest upon hardest thing a couple can experience in my humble opinion (read my 10 reasons why having a baby is the greatest time of all time here)? […]

  14. Those first few months are the worst for sure! After having two kids, I would have to say the two main things that kept us together were communication and loyalty. If you’re both determined to make your marriage work, then it makes the changes a little easier. Talking to each other in non-accusatory tones really does make a huge difference, too! Anyways, loved reading this! It was such an encouragement to look back and realize that we made it through those times even stronger. Thank you!

    • I absolutely agree there – without communication and loyalty you are basically finished! We still have tough times but I feel that if we made it through the first yer which was awful then we still should be able to keep it together (hopefully) though not sure we would manage the strain of a number 2!!

  15. This is one of the BEST blogs I’ve ever read! I just read it aloud to The Hubs and it made us feel so much better about our relationship, which has been bloody tested to the MAX this last 20 months since the twins were born! I have definitely struggled with remembering I even have a husband at times lol I’m so obsessed with the kids! One of the replies really touched a nerve too, about our bodies being clambered all over all day… It’s hard to switch off from being “Mommy” and remember that I’m also a wife. I’m not sure I’ve reached the stage yet where I’ve remembered I’m a person in my own right without a label lol.

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