Salaam alaikum dear readers,
I decided to talk about marriage after having a child. In my case, this is my first and only marriage and child so far.
My marriage was already under strain due to my husbands immigration process during the last few months of my pregnancy being stuck in Morocco, eventually missing the birth and the first six months of our daughter’s life.
In many cultures, religions, and countries the whole purpose behind marriage is to first legalize sex between two people and then second create a way to track the genealogy for inheritance purposes more than any other reason historically speaking.
The choice to have a child can depend on many different factors be an easy one or fraught with all sorts of additional stressors. In our case, the easy part was me getting pregnant and birthing our child the hard parts have come with my husband’s arrival in the US and adjusting to life and a relationship that had completely changed with the birth of our daughter.
First change: Your wife no longer has the time she had to cater to the husband’s needs the way she was able to before baby.
For my husband he comes from a culture were men and boys are babied and put before everyone else in the household who does not have a penis. This cultural norm has created men who can’t function without a woman cooking, cleaning and caring for children without them. This is not the culture I come from within my family where everyone pitches in and helps care for all the communal spaces and no task it above any one person.
My husband expects me to do it all -cook, clean, care for our baby and still have time to be sexually available. I realized that 1. I can’t do it all – it is exhausting and overwhelming. 2. I didn’t want to and 3. I expected him to do more than just go out and earn a paycheck and occasionally “help,” by watching our daughter or changing a diaper.
Its been an uphill battle, to say the least – we even have discussed this in marriage counselling multiple times. I thought I would share what could be helpful concrete ways a spouse can support their wife after the birth of a child.
Suggestions on what you can do to support your wife chose one and talk to your wife before implementing one then adding more if you can-
- I get off work, get home and take 30 minutes to unwind then I take my child(ren) out of the house for a walk or to play for an hour while my wife gets downtime.
- I actively participate in the bedtime routine by choosing to be the main bather and getting ready for bed point person. If your wife is nursing – do the bath, PJs and then ask her to try nursing until the baby is sleepy but awake and then you put the baby down for the night or get the older kid(s) to bed to allow her to focus on the newest baby.
- I swap the being the bedtime point person for being the dinner point person with my wife every other day meaning I either make dinner and clean up or put the kids to bed.
- I pick up after myself and do not make extra work for my spouse that I could handle myself
- I put all appointments dental, doctors, birthdays and anniversaries in my phone with alarms to notify me a week in advance to share the mental load.
- I am interested in having sex with my wife – so I schedule it and I take care of tasks that help her focus on being intimate ex. basic level: I check in with her to see if she is “touched out,” get the dishes done, clean the house, get the kids to bed or pro level: I schedule a babysitter – picked from the wife’s approved list, book a hotel room, make sure the wife is cleared by the doctor for sex, make sure the babysitter sends text updates to the anxious new mom and take her out to a nice dinner.
- Do your chores without being asked and if you don’t have assigned chores – assign some tasks to do in the house to yourself to support your wife ex. head dishwasher, master bathroom cleaner and supreme trash removal expert and do them to the best of your ability knowing you are supporting your wife in being the best mother and wife she can be and your modeling healthy relationship skills to your kid(s)
- I put the childcare providers schedule on my phone and/or planner and I help my wife make alternative care arrangements for our child(ren) when needed
- Change your mindset from I am “helping,” to “I am parenting equally.”
- Complain less about what your wife isn’t able to do the same anymore and instead ask 1. Why is it that my wife can’t do X anymore? 2. What can I do to help her be able to do X if I am missing it? I highly recommend talking with your wife and getting her input on what will be helpful
- Research, learn and think about how you can help your wife escape the “Double Bind.”
I hope dear readers this helps you be a better spouse and parent in the long run. InshaAllah
“Parenting is not for sissies. You have to sacrifice and grow up.”
— Jillian Michaels