Wife, baby

Dear Bunmi,

After trying for a child for three years, my wife and I now have a four-month-old baby.

As much as I love our new daughter, I didn’t expect our marriage to be affected in the way it has. We used to be extremely close and were very much involved with each other’s lives, but now I barely get noticed in the scheme of things. I feel replaced. It’s almost like she stopped being my wife, once she became a mother.

For us, sex is almost non-existent now. This I expected, but what I wasn’t prepared for was just how much she’s gone off it. Whenever I initiate sex, it is rejected and it’s like she hates me for even thinking about it. Is this how it’s now going to be? I don’t want to live my life like this.

Audu, by e-mail.

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Dear Audu,

Yours is a common problem. After childbirth, you believe you should now have your wife back, whilst she wants her life back! This is why the overriding emotion most women feel for their partners in the early weeks and months of parenthood is resentment.

Her life is now utter chaos, while yours seems (to her anyway) sort of the same. There you are, feet up on the couch, channel surfing as usual with probably a glass of chilled drink in your hand. She walks past with the baby in one arm, and dirty washing in the other; you laugh at a cheesy comedy on the television and she hates you. When she staggers wearily out of bed to breast-feed and you roll over and contentedly snuggles back into your pillow, she hates you a little more!

On top of this, your penis eagerly prods her in the back…maybe on the one day she could sleep; she hates you so much you’re lucky she doesn’t turn around and rip it right off you with her bare hands! Running side by side to her anger is an overwhelming love for this new life. She used to be besotted with you, now she can’t take her eyes off her child. Be rest assured that all the caressing, squeezing and kissing hasn’t disappeared, it’s just directed at the baby – and it doesn’t switch off during sex – when you have it. Lots of women say they find it completely impossible to stop being a mum – one part of her is always listening, always alert to her child.

Here’s the good news though: it gets better. You both just need time to get used to being three, rather than a cosy twosome. You can help speed this process by assisting her as much as you possibly can with domestic chores and the bay, especially if you don’t have any house help. The more you help out, the more energy and love she’ll have left for you.

Sleep is more precious to her than sex right now, so the more sleep you can help her get, the more sex you’ll get. Be rest assured that this phase shall pass. Help her out and, in six months or so, both of you’ll be in a much happier place.

Vanguard

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