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How Sleep Deprivation Can Affect Your Relationship

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

I LOVE my husband. Like, he is the best human being. He always puts my needs before his. He always makes sure we are taken care of in all facets - safety and protection, financially, spiritually - the list goes on and on. I absolutely adore him and the life we have built together.

Sometimes, though, I don't treat him as I should (right now I'm blaming it on third trimester pregnancy hormones), and I find myself apologizing for something I said or for reacting in a certain way. In the past and soon-to-be future with a newborn coming home, I could and will be blaming my behavior on SLEEP DEPRIVATION.

It is real, and it can be a scary thing to have to endure.

To say I'm not having anxiety thinking about it would be a lie. Now, pregnancy hormones and sleep deprivation aside, I'm not saying we have the perfect marriage, but it's pretty dang good. We work well together...we are a team...we are best friends. We still have our disagreements, but can handle them maturely and respectfully 99% of the time. I'd say we are pretty blessed.

Some of the very first few times I remember feeling SO upset and agitated with him, which weren't normal feelings I had towards him, like, EVER, were in the thick of those first few weeks home with our first newborn baby. We were both tired. We were learning how to be parents. I was still healing. And the overwhelming responsibility of learning how to keep this precious little thing alive and well-tended to was taking its toll on my mental health. I still feel bad about some of the things I said or how I reacted to him in those days. I worry that I will act that way again in the coming weeks as we transition from a family of three to a family of four. He has always forgiven me, and has loved me unconditionally regardless, and I pray that continues...because honestly, sometimes when I am that tired that I simply cannot handle myself and how I react, and I don't deserve his kind-hearted and unconditionally loving responses.

Hearing those little cries in the middle of the night was hard. Not having some sort of plan as to who would tend to the baby and when was always a cause for disaster at 2:00 a.m. There were arguments about who was going to take what shift caring for the baby and who was going to get a turn sleeping...or, should we tag team it - you change the diaper, I'll do the feed - and we both lose sleep, because that's only fair! Right? Riiiiight?

I'd recommend trying to talk these situations through before they happen, so there is somewhat of a plan going into each night. Find your groove and what works best for you. Overtime, it will become a well-oiled machine. And, don't forget to thank your partner for their help here and there. Showing a little gratitude can go a long way. Make time for each other - yes, you might be tired - but make your relationship a priority. And when you, mama, are healed enough and ready (and have the go-ahead from your practitioner!) jump back into the sack whole-heartedly to show your husband how much you really appreciate him - sorry, mom, if you're reading this!

We worked on our little one's sleep diligently, and by 5 months he was sleeping well and so were we. Life has been back to "normal" since then. Now that we know better, we already have a plan for teaching baby no. 2 how to become a good sleeper too. I know there are parents who endure sleepless nights for a lot longer than 5 months. If it works for you and your family, great! I'm not here to tell you how to live your life. But know that if it isn't working for you, I am here to help. Sleep deprivation is real. It is not fun for anyone. Think of how tired you might be feeling...and now think about how tired your child must be feeling. Sleep is a gift that benefits everyone, and in so many ways. It is a basic physiological need. Just because you had a baby doesn't mean you don't get to sleep anymore, and if that is something you've bought into as a parent, I'm here to tell you otherwise. It doesn't have to be that way. While yes, there will be long nights at the beginning, it is something you can teach your child, and everyone in the family will benefit. Your marriage or relationship especially.

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