I know what you’re saying, “Yep, sounds about right!” and the survey of 2000 parents goes deeper into the sorts of things they’re arguing about. Not surprisingly, the biggest issues involve sex and sleep deprivation. Who was getting up the most at night was the major cause for disagreement- mostly because couples seemed unable to accept that one parent (and let’s face, it 99% of the time it’s mum) was doing the lion’s share of the night feeds.
While the survey didn’t break it down in terms of gender, I’m happy to make a sweeping generalisation that mums are the ones feeling like they’re not getting enough sleep.
Babies aren’t great for relationships
And just as we can presume it’s mum who is griping about the lack of shut-eye, I’m making an educated guess about who is doing most of the whinging about a dwindling sex life. Mind you, considering the stats suggested that 17 percent of respondents said they were lacking affection from their partner in the year after birth, there’s just as much chance this is women, who, as we know, struggle to feel comfortable with their bodies and themselves after having a baby. On top of that, 12 percent admitted to having a fight after feeling pressured into having sex when they didn’t want to.
Of the 2000 parents, one third admitted to having serious relationship problems in the first year and one in five didn’t even make it to the end, breaking off their relationships before their baby’s first birthday. For most, the break-ups happened around the six-month mark. The most common reason given was “a complete lack in communication” but again, a dwindling sex life was a major factor.
The first year sucks
The study just goes to show that we have got to do a better job of preparing new mums and dads for the realities of life postpartum. These stats are really depressing, especially when you consider they’re probably preventable. More than half of the couples asked said that they felt completely unprepared for life after a baby and had no real idea of the impact that having kids would have on their lives. And this is so true of pretty much everyone you speak to. The first year completely sucks. It’s wonderful, but it sucks and we need to say that more.
The respondents of the survey said that definitely things like sharing the night feeds and making time for each other- for date nights as well as for sex- were key to surviving the first year, but I dunno, I think we can probably do more.
We spend a lot of time preparing for the birth… we do that really, really well. Maybe as well as birthing classes we need to make ‘post-birthing’ classes a thing, too.