Social media has a way of making it seem like everyone has their shit together. Can that be possible? If over 50% of marriages end up in divorce, does that statistic not apply to Facebook users? Is Facebook the panacea for all failed relationships?
Here are some things that we usually don't see on social media:
- I'm scared and unprepared.
- I miss being just the two of us.
- I'm exhausted and fed up.
- I wish we waited longer.
- Our sex life sucks.
- Lactation without copulation.
Having a kid places an enormous amount of stress on the couple relationship. From one day to the next, there's no time or energy for each other. Sore nipples and soiled diapers supplant sleep, spontaneity and sex.
But we aren't supposed to say anything bad about that, are we? If we do, we'll be bad parents, or even bad people.
When you mix all these ingredients, you get a breeding ground for resentment, distance and loneliness. The more you let it fester, the more it takes over, until, in the blink of an eye, years have passed and you can't see the forest for the trees.
Sounds pretty bleak, I know. But it doesn't have to be. It is if you become complacent and assume your relationship will flower again in some distant dawn. But complacency is the opiate of relationships.
Oh, and there's sex. How hot is it when you're exhausted, covered in baby vomit and stuffing breast pads in your bra? Doesn't that just make you want to hop in the sack?
With babe on the boob one half of the day, and the other half spent trying to catch up on sleep, life becomes about surviving.
There's a new sheriff in town. You can't fight it. It's a losing battle. You must renegotiate sex, intimacy and your relationship. Often, no one prepares you for this beforehand. But look at all those blissful families on Facebook...
Here's a simple way to practice breaking out of complacency:
The first step is recognition and awareness. If you stay immersed in a process, you cannot take a step back and observe. You remain at the mercy of the beast. You're both depleted, exhausted, running on empty and deprived.
It's the hardest to be empathic and to give when you feel depleted and deprived. What about me?
The next step is acceptance. If you fight your reality, you will lose. Lasting change comes from awareness, acceptance and understanding.
Understanding is the third step. Tara Brach, psychologist, author and teacher, speaks about an acronym that I share with a lot of my patients:
R ecognize what's going on
A llow it to be there as it is
I nvestigate with kindness
When we fight against our experiences, judge them, wish them away, or grasp onto them, we prevent them from taking their natural course.
If any of this resonates with you, hang in there. There is light at the end of the tunnel. You're not alone.
As always, I welcome any and all feedback and comments. Please click below to receive new posts and updates on the Love After Kids program.