Marriage After Baby: How Counseling Is Going Update
We are less than five weeks away from welcoming baby and our household has been in full swing. We are purging things we don’t need, washing things we do, and setting things up. Last night, I didn’t sleep well (hello pregnancy insomnia) and in the middle of the night, I opened my eyes, grabbed Perry’s hand and thought about how all in I am with this man.
I recently went to visit my grandparents who have been married for almost 70 years. We talked so much about marriage and what it was like to be with someone nearly your whole life. Their marriage definitely has had its ups and downs (my grandma told me she lost count of how many times she threw her ring at my grandpa, hehe). But getting to watch them interact this past weekend was a memory that I will always cherish. My grandmother got diagnosed with stage four cancer and you can see it in my grandfather's eyes—he will not know a world without her. They are like one breath, one soul and the love they have for each other reminds me why I got married in the first place.
We are still in the beginning process of our counseling journey this time around. I don’t want you to get the impression that Perry has been on board with going and everything is so perfect because the reality is, he has been quite resistant. But he loves me, and I have pleaded my case why I think it’s essential for us to continue before this baby comes.
I was so nasty to him when Winter was an infant. I yelled, I blamed him and at one point, I even threw a pot of flowers down the stairs at him. I am not proud of those moments and I know I have to forgive myself for my actions as I already know that Perry forgave me a long time ago. He is the more logical one and points out how much stress we were under when we had Winter. I wasn’t being paid on maternity leave, I had severe depression, Winter had colic and cried hours upon hours a day, never slept and well…it was just a lot.
But through counseling I have discovered that I rely on Perry a lot for my emotional regulation. I get upset if he doesn’t react or respond in the way that I had “expected” him to. And too often when my anxiety or stress is boiling, I often turn to him for help. While Perry is more than willing to support me, he can’t always do it for me.
Now that I am aware of this pattern, when I feel something in me start to simmer, I ask myself what I can do first before I turn to him.
Perry has discovered that he isn’t always able to access the emotional side of his brain and struggles to communicate. This, which he knows, is really frustrating for me because as an empath, and a psychologist, all I do is express how I feel. He is learning how to tune into what I need in moments of stress and trying to use physical touch like a hand on my shoulder or knee to let me know that he is here and reassure me that the words will come later. It just takes him more time.
I think even in a short time with our new counselor it has been beneficial. In our next session the therapist will take us individually for 30 minutes and then bring us back together. I think it will be good to go in as individuals too as we need different things. And even though we are going for “couples” counseling it’s always beneficial to realize what you need to do as an individual to be the best form of yourself for your partner.
We will keep you posted on how that goes. Marriage is hard. But damn, am I so willing to work for it if it means I get him my whole life.
Photography by Kyla Fear