By baby teeth chart
November 05, 2014
How Your Relationship Changes After Baby
Credit: Vengrow family courtesy of Love, Louise Photography

An interesting thing is happening on the Today Show. Host and new mom Savannah Guthrie just returned to work after maternity leave, and she's been refreshingly candid about the transition—and how baby Vale has already impacted her life. Much of it is well-covered territory (sleep deprivation, the heart-bursting love you feel for your kiddo), but today, Guthrie dove into a topic some parents are loathe to talk about: their relationship after baby.

"As I am learning, things are never quite the same in a relationship once a baby arrives," she said on air. And to back her up, she interviewed parents who gave birth the same day she did and asked them about their family dynamics since baby made three. Comments ran the gamut, from the general ("It's like a bomb goes off in your relationship") to the specific ("A simple thing like eating a meal together, while the food's hot, kind of went out the window"). But the consensus was clear: A newborn does a number on your and your partner's relationship.

While that's not exactly a revolutionary idea, it's one that I found veteran parents often gloss over (or outright overlook) when dispensing advice to expectant parents-to-be. Kind of like labor stories. And hey, I get it: Who wants to cop to silently cursing their partner behind their back? But the cold, hard truth is, as wonderful as they are, babies change the way a couple functions. To wit:

Date nights look totally different. 

Pre-baby, my husband and I would linger over cocktails before settling into a decadent meal that could stretch out for two hours or longer. Now, every minute counts (literally), since we're paying a babysitter an exorbitant amount of money to sit on our sofa while our child sleeps. If a restaurant can't seat us right away, we're on to the next one. And sometimes, that's meant having just enough time to scarf down a slice on the street before heading home.

Your boobs are all business. 

Oh sure, my ta-tas had a moment when the milk came in and they went all Pamela Anderson big. But once breastfeeding began in earnest, they turned into two milk taps that occasionally overflowed or became engorged. Not sexy. And please don't get me started on sore nipples.

You take out all your crankiness on each other. 

I've talked at great length here about the depths to which I sank during my son's 18-month war against sleep. While most of that time is rather fuzzy, I very much remember how grouchy and frustrated I felt. And the person most often caught in my crosshairs was my sweet husband (who, to be fair, unleashed his crankiness on me a few times, too).

You learn to value small acts of kindness. 

I used to think I needed big, sweeping gestures to feel loved, but having a kid changes that. Now, I practically weep when my husband asks if he can pick up dinner on his way home, and there are full-on waterworks when he offers to bathe our son at night.

You get to rediscover each other.

Yes, having a baby blew our neatly made life into smithereens, but it also pushed and stretched us into becoming a better versions of ourselves. Nothing prepared me for seeing my husband in action as a dad. Now, when I see them reading "Go Dog Go" at night or working on their secret handshake, a part of me melts. And I fall in love with him just a little bit more.