Dear Stavroula: Husband Feeling Neglected after New Baby Arrives

(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Dear Stavroula,

I am 30 years old and married for four years with the woman I fell in love with. Our relationship was loving and passionate. Although we worked a lot, we always had time to do things together, like going for a walk or having a glass of wine and talking in the evening. We would often go away for the weekend and spend time together, just the two of us, away from everything. We lived without any particular problems and so we decided to complete our happiness and start a family. About six months ago, we had our baby boy whom I love dearly. But my relationship with my wife has changed radically. Her entire life revolves around the child. We do nothing together. I understand that she is tired, although she is not working at this time in order to raise our child, but she seems to not care about me at all. She sleeps along with the child after she puts him to bed, though I show her in every way that I want to spend time with her. The few times we slept together was only after my request. We have stopped talking even about things that concern the whole family, like my job. The only thing we talk about is our child.

Every time I try talk to her I feel like I’m begging for her love. I miss her. How can I make her understand this?

Stephanos

Dear Stephanos,

Indeed, the arrival of a child can greatly change the balance within a family, especially if the child is the first.

And you’re right, usually women change behavior and priorities when they become mothers. This is because the maternal instinct with which nature has endowed women is triggered by the birth of the baby and is very strong, especially in the early years when the child is almost completely dependent on his mother. Thus, the interest of the woman focuses on her baby so that she can protect and care for him or her. This phase passes for most new mothers but it takes some months for the baby to stabilize feedings and sleep time and for the mother to regain her rhythm and strength.

This is exactly what is happening to your wife. As a new mother, she focuses all her attention on your baby, not because she loves you less, or because she does not care about your relationship anymore, but because she feels that your child is more in need than you, she feels like his life depends on her.

I’m sure you’ve already realized that taking care of a newborn is a very demanding, almost exhausting job, especially in the early months when the baby is breastfeeding and may not sleep well. His own pace is necessarily followed by his mother, which means she can be awake for hours at night and then be exhausted during the day while you are at home.

It might be a good idea, first of all, to get more involved in raising your baby and not just be an observer as he grows up. For example, now that he is still a baby, you could give him a bath or put him to bed. This way, your wife could rest and have more time for herself, but for you, too. It is equally important to engage with your child from this tender age. It will truly bond you with him, setting the foundation for the father-son relationship, and giving your child emotional security. And, of course, all this will unite you as a family.

I would also suggest that you speak frankly with your wife, without selfishness and criticism but with love, to show her how much you miss your moments together. Ask for help from grandmothers or relatives and establish some alone time for the two of you. But even in the house, while your baby is sleeping, set the table, take care of your wife, and give her moments of relaxation and tranquility.

As your baby grows, you’ll get back into the rhythm of life and you will have more free time to spend together. The love in your relationship is there. A little patience and understanding is needed.

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