I resented my husband after our baby was born.

Everything he does annoys me. He chews too loud, breathes too loud. He wants to show me affection by physical touch when he knows thats the least of my Love Languages. He doesn’t do this right, he doesn’t listen to my advice with the baby (I mean, I am around her ALL THE TIME). He says “what?” or just doesn’t do something I ask him to. I don’t care that he’s technically hard of hearing, he should just listen harder!

I find myself being rude to him. And I cringe after every instance. This is not who I am, who we are.

And I know he works hard. I see him trying to complete projects on his days off. I see that he helps with our daughter whenever possible. He gets home from work at 1 a.m. and still helps split night feedings, because I’m so exhausted sometimes I sleep right through the baby monitor.

I see that he doesn’t have time for the gym, he doesn’t have time to just do nothing and relax. Between work, projects, baby, trying to make our house not look like the mess of a college dorm room . . . there’s no time for either of us to recharge.

We’ve both been running on empty. We’re both equally exhausted, equally drained. We barely have time for ourselves, let alone time for each other.

Our conversations are along the lines of our daughter’s diapers and how much she’s eaten and what time and our schedules and who’s going to watch our baby if we’re both at work. Until the other night, we hadn’t even gone on a date without a baby since our wedding anniversary months ago.

I had this resentment, irritability, and bad attitude toward him, without even knowing why. I needed help, but he always seemed to do it wrong. I wanted him to read my mind because I was so consumed most days with postpartum depression, I didn’t have the energy to string words together. I wanted a break, but he was working a lot and he wasn’t there to give me one. But over the course of the last few weeks, I saw it. And it really started to bother me, how harsh I was being towards him. So it took some digging deep on my part to try to figure it out. And then I realized . . . the one thing I said I wouldn’t let happen after having a baby was happening.

Our marriage had been put on the back-burner.

We were so disconnected. We have been together for eight years, married for three of those years, and this was the first time we felt more like roommates than partners. It happened slowly, over time. We have a 5-month-old baby, a beautiful baby girl who came into the world as fiercely and dramatically as she is. I had a rough pregnancy, which couldn’t have been easy on him. We had a rough start with our daughter being a preemie. We had a difficult fourth trimester. Heck, our fourth trimester was pretty much extended a month with her being six weeks early. And once the dust settled, I realized we hadn’t put ANY effort into our relationship whatsoever.

To be fair to us, how could we have? My husband didn’t get any family leave. He returned to work the week after our daughter was born, even when she was in the NICU. We were just trying to survive for the first several months. We were trying to figure out how to be parents, how to run on no sleep, how to navigate our colicky baby.

But the moment I realized all of this, I cried. I lost it. I missed the way I used to feel about my husband. I recalled the memory of the first time I saw him. How at first glance, something inside of me knew he was the one. I remembered the way I KNOW I feel about him, somewhere inside of me under all of this exhaustion and frustration. I sent him a text while he was at work and I told him we had to do something.

I reached out to my parents, and told them it was urgent that we have a date night as soon as possible. Like, emergency date night. So my parents took our daughter on a Monday night and we went on our first date in over 4 months. It was just what we needed. It was a little awkward at first, and both of us seriously considered just taking a nap instead. But we pushed past our tiredness and tried to remember how to talk about anything besides our baby’s dirty diapers and sleep schedule. And just like that, we figured it out. We laughed, we joked, we talked about life, we listened to music. We had a nice dinner and put our phones away and just talked. Leaving the restaurant, we held hands for the first time in forever.

We took an evening away from being parents and made the effort to reconnect as husband and wife.

Up until recently taking care of our daughter those first few months was a blur. It was the hardest, most sleep deprived, emotionally exhausting time of our lives. We were literally in survival mode. But it’s time to take ourselves off autopilot and do the work before it’s too late.

The fog has cleared now. This is a new season in our life. We are not only learning how to be parents, we are learning how to be ourselves again, how to be “us” again. Our relationship is not back to perfect, or how it was. It will never be back to how it was. We’re not those people anymore. But that’s the point of living the rest of your life with your soulmate: to grow together—not grow apart.

Alyssa Hurlbert

I live in Northern California with my husband and our daughter. I am a stay-at-home mom, writer, artist, and mental health advocate. I believe in speaking my truth, sharing the hard stuff as well as the good, in hopes that it can help someone else who is feeling the same way.